A regular meting of the Pal-Mac CSD Board of Ed was called to order by board President, Ms. Sharon Lang, at 7:00 PM in the Pal-Mac Middle School. Public comment was offered from a resident who remarked that charter schools appear to be on Governor Cuomo’s agenda, and Dr. Ike encouraged residents and BOE members to attend an informational meeting regarding charter schools which will be held on Tuesday, April 22 at 6:30 PM in the Mid-Lakes High School Auditorium. Additionally, the district was commended for all its hard work done on the school budget.
Under reports, Board of Education Reports included the NYSSBA Report and the BOCES Board Report. Under the Board of Education, it was shared that anyone interested in running for the Board of Education, the deadline is April 21, 2014. Additionally Student Honor for Commencement was reported as Magna Cum Laude with an overall GPA of 90.00-94.99 and Summa Cum Laude with an overall GPA of 95.00-100.00.
The board agenda included:
– Approval of the amended 2014-2015 School Calendar
– Approval to accept donations in the form of a check in the amount of $175.00 from the Palmyra-Macedon Rotary Foundation to the Middle School to purchase books for the Resource Center
– Approval of the following propositions to appear on the Annual School District Meeting and Election of May 20, 2014:
– The annual school budget for the year commencing July 1, 2014, in the total amount of $36,169,750
– Authorization for the 2014-2015 fiscal year to expend from the Bus Purchase Reserve Fund of 2004 an amount not to exceed $272,500 to finance the purchase of vehicles for student transportation.
Superintendent, Dr. Ike, and Assistant Superintendent for Business, Mr. Ralph Brongo II, made a presentation for the 2014-2015 Proposed Budget. To begin Dr. Ike took a moment to thank the board for their patience and accommodating nature during the unique set of circumstances the district was faced with during the budget preparations. He then took time to highlight the 4 main goals of the district’s 2014-2015 budget as being taxes kept within the levy limit, the preservation of programs and services, preservation of the bus purchase reserves, and program restoration & improvement/preservation of other reserves; of which 2 and a half goals were able to be met after some restoration of the GEA. Mr. Brongo explained that after the state budget was approved, a 5.3% increase in aid to education was restored. (Which is less than 1% since 2009.) This translates into the GEA cut, statewide, is still at more than $1 billion, after it is reduced by $602 million. It was also noted that the Finger Lakes Region of New York State has greater GEA cuts per pupil than any other region in the state for 2014-2015, and is the second most under-funded region in the state for Foundation Aid. The translation for the district, specifically, is that a total of $506,000.00 in state aid
will be restored during the 2014-2015 school year. $164,310.00 is in Foundation Aid, and $342,027.00 in GEA Aid cut. Ultimately the proposed 2014-2015 Budget will restore one full time elementary teaching position creating 44 sections of elementary classes, reducing class sizes to no more than 21 students per class; restoration of bus reserves which will enable the 10-year bus cycle plan intact, and maintaining the tax levy increase at $272,000.00 or 1.58%, below the 2% tax cap. It was noted that this is the smallest tax levy increase the district has had in the past 5 years.
Additionally Mr. Brongo shared information on the $2 billion “Smart Schools” Bond Act, which will be put before NYS voters on November 4, 2014. If voter approved, the district will be eligible for an additional $$1,575,432.00, to be allocated on interactive whiteboards, high-speed broadband, computer servers, computers, tablets, wi-fi, Pre-Kindergarten facilities, video surveillance, emergency notification systems, and physical access controls.
The board then adopted the proposed 2014-2015 school year budget. Board of Ed member, Mr. Bill Toomey, remarked, “This budget is admirable. You have always worked hard to keep the students at the forefront.” Dr. Ike thanked him for his remarks, and explained the budget timeline that remains. On April 25th copies of the official budget document will be available to the public, and the public budget hearing will be held on May 13th. On May 14th, the budget notice will be mailed to voters via the Pal-Mac magazine, and the Annual School Board Election and Budget Vote will be held on May 20th. Lastly Dr. Ike expressed an interest in continuing advocacy efforts in June, as opposed to waiting to advocate for the GEA elimination after the school year has begun.
The next regular meeting of the Pal-Mac Board of Education will be held on Wednesday, April 23, 2014 at 7:00 PM in the Pal-Mac Middle School.
By Becky Block