Springville-GI Board members address budget, mandated field testing
Sunday April 14, 2013 | By:Justin Graham | News
SPRINGVILLE — Springville-Griffith Institute Superintendent Paul Connelly reported that the school is “ahead of pace” with its budget preparations.
Board President Mel Williams, who is currently in the United Arab Emirates, interacted with the rest of the board members via video conference, during the board’s April 9 meeting.
Regarding the budget, Connelly said, “We wanted to obtain an acceptable tax levy increase, with sustainability in mind. The recommended tax levy increase year will be 1.01 percent and I do not believe you will see that, anywhere [else] in Western New York.
“The stabilization for future years is absolutely critical,” he continued. “This will rely upon our ability to sustain the current reserves we have. At the end of the year, we should think smart and put the amounts we have left, back into those reserves.”
Connelly said that he believed this practice will ensure sustainability.
The superintendent said that last year was difficult, in terms of staff reductions. “Across the state, school districts will face this realization,” he said.
“The deficit this year would have been $3.3 million, had we not taken action, last year,” Connelly said, clarifying that a structural deficit is one in which problems will arise, if expenditures exceed revenues. “The 2013-2014 year projects reasonable rates, for tax payers,” he said.
The largest increases in costs have been personnel related, according to Business Official Ted Welch. “Our TRS increase amounts, for next year, will be between $600,000 and $700,000,” he said, adding that special education costs also rose this year, mostly in BOCES services. Welch projected a $320,000 budget reduction, for next year.
In another matter, Board Member Kara Kane said that she believed current, mandated field testing is “valuable time, substituted for the students’ learning time.”
Board Vice President Delia Bonenberger said, “It is important to recognize that this is a requirement, that we have to follow. The law mandates this.”
A draft resolution for field testing was presented at the meeting. The resolution said, “The board calls upon members of the New York State Legislature and the New York State Education Department, to seek regulatory practices that will take immediate action, to eliminate mandated standalone field testing practices, in New York state.”
According to the board members, this resolution expressed opposition to the requirement to participate in the aforementioned field testing.
Board Member Joan Kelly said that she believed the main issue, regarding field testing, is that it “does not allow for teachers to see results of the tests, so that the students can learn better from them. This is what education is about.”
In other board matters:
– Springville resident Allison Duwe announced that she will be running for an open seat on the board of education. She commended the work the current board members have done, to move the district forward.
– High school French teacher Valerie Brown and students Brandon Sullivan, Sam Wach and Tim Sutton spoke about their March 1 trip to Quebec City. Brown said, “Of the 2 1/2 days spent there, it was hard to put everything accomplished into one slideshow.”
Quebec City is one of the oldest cities in North America. The students went dog sledding, interacted with local individuals and stayed at the Ice Hotel, a building made entirely out of ice.
– The board approved the adoption of the 2013-14 school budget, in the amount of $34,910,952, although, according to Board Member Janine Caimano, “We still have time to look at this and I believe we should not rush this budget.” Caimano added that upcoming retirements still need to be projected.
– The high school National Honor Society-sponsored “pennies for patients” drive was scheduled for April 29 – May 24; proceeds will benefit the Leukemia Society.
– The Springville Elementary School student council’s “McTeacher’s Night at McDonald’s” will be held on April 30. This council will also host a pancake breakfast fundraiser at McDonald’s, on May 28. Proceeds will benefit both the SES student council and the school picnic in June.
– The board approved the high school varsity club/girls track team-sponsored Wendel’s chicken barbecue and basket auction, scheduled for April 14. Proceeds will go toward helping students pay for a trip to the Penn Relays and to assist with the purchase of items for the track team.
– The varsity baseball/varsity club-sponsored all-you-can-eat pancake dinner is scheduled for April 15 at McDonald’s. Proceeds will be used for the purchase of baseball supplies.
The next Springville-Griffith Institute Board of Education meeting will be held at the high school library and media center on Tuesday, April 23 at 7 p.m.