13 Apr VVS School Board Adopts Tentative $32.3 Million Budget

April 13, 2010

By: MATT POWERS
Source: Dispatch

The Vernon-Verona-Sherrill board of education adopted a tentative $32.3 million school budget at a meeting on Monday night.

The board briefly discussed the budget during the meeting.
“We are very focused on two things,” said Superintendent Norman Reed before the meeting.

He said those two things are continuing quality educational programs for students and figuring out the community’s capacity to pay for that.

He said with the governor’s proposed budget there may be an 11.86 percent change in state aid from last year.

There is a proposed one percent increase in spending in the budget, which is less than half the inflation in the northeast in the past 12 months, he said.

He said the board will do their best to create a responsible tax levy increase, but Reed didn’t have specific numbers on how the proposed budget will affect district homeowners.

“We’re not going to do to taxpayers what the governor is doing to us,” he said. “The board is clear in the expectation of keeping a reasonable tax impact.”

Reed said the district will use some of the fund balance reserves, which have been saved up over the past dozen years, to offset costs, rather than seat taxpayers with the burden.

“There will be a general belt tightening on the purchase of equipment,” he said.

The district will only purchase two buses rather than three as it has in past years, which will save nearly $100,000, he said.

There may a lso be a number of modifications to programs.

“There will be reductions but no program will be cut in whole,” he said.

Reed said extracurricular activities will move forward and all will continue, stressing that the arts, academics and athletics all work together to make students successful.

There are no planned cuts to staff at the current time, he said.

He said they will “not replace certain positions” which become vacant due to retirements and that some positions will be consolidated or redesigned, but he did not specify what those positions were.

The board is trying to “make the best of a challenging situation,” Reed said.

During the board forum, Reed spoke about the inequity of state aid distribution.

He said there are many counties downstate which are taking much less of a cut on state aid than counties upstate.

During the meeting there were four presentations made.

Science teachers Bernadette Van Valkenburg and Sue Gardner made a presentation on the future of the science department.

They spoke about using technology like Promethean interactive whiteboards to make learning more interactive.

Committee on Special Education chairperson Erin Tiffany and teacher Kelly Crumb made a presentation on special education and the different programs and therapies offered.

Dr. Paul Doward presented the proposed redesign of high school report cards, which may feature a grading scale similar to a college grade point average.

Assistant Superintendent for Finance Mark Wixson discussed the technology currently being used in the district.

He said in addition to the Promethean interactive white boards, there are also remote devices which students can use to enter their answers electronically for immediate responses to questions from the teacher.

The next board of education meeting will be April 26 at 5 p.m. in the administration building.

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