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S-GI approves $36 million budget, vote will be May 16

SPRINGVILLE—The Springville-Griffith Institute Board of Education adopted the 2017-18 school budget in the amount of $36,841,911, at their April 3 meeting. District residents will vote on the budget May 16. Voters will also elect four board members.

The budget is a decrease of $881,429 from the 2016-17 budget, and brings the district right to the 2.48 percent tax cap. It also reduces staff by 4.5 instructional personnel, including a full time science and English Language Arts teacher. Kristin Hughey, an eighth grade science teacher, raised her concerns with the staff reductions.

“Middle school [students] are at a unique stage … they need a lot of support,” Hughey said. “The reduction to teaching staff is a double blow … [there’s] a reduction in individual attention.”

Hughey added that her concerns come from being both a teacher and a parent. She realizes the “population is declining,” but said larger class sizes are a concern of hers.

“Carefully study the effects of the proposed cuts,” Hughey asked the board.

Superintendent Kimberly Moritz said she would speak with Hughey to ease her concerns, but added that Principals Shanda DuClon and James Bialasik will collaborate and help each other out. She added this budget is a decrease from last year, without cutting program.

Board member Chris Cerrone said the district should keep an eye on enrollment, and do what they can to ensure class sizes stay small.

“This is a board … committed to see students succeed,” Board President Allison Duwe said. “We’re doing our best not to reduce programs. We’re bringing back what was lost … that’s a reflection of having a superintendent who listens to the board.”

Moritz spoke with Senator Patrick Gallivan, she reported, who assured her the district doesn’t need to worry about the “flow of funds.” New York State passed a two-month budget extender after failing to pass a state budget by April 1.

State school districts, S-GI included, are required to finalize their budgets by April 24, before the May 16 public vote. Without concrete information on the state aid they will receive, districts play a guessing game with their state aid numbers. Moritz said Business Official Maureen Lee used Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed numbers for state aid.

“We feel it’s a safe bet,” Moritz said of using the proposed numbers. “This is the first year this governor hasn’t passed a budget [on time] … I’m not sure what that means for us.”

Duwe added she hopes the district has moved on from the enrollment declining, and it’s instead stabilizing. Looking to the future, she would like to see the district and community be a welcoming place for more families.

The board will host a public hearing on May 8 at 7 p.m. Moritz will present the budget to district residents, who will be able to ask their questions. May 11 is voter registration day, and residents can vote on the budget May 16.

On May 16, residents will also vote to approve four board members. The seats currently held by Cerrone, Mike Connors, Jennifer Sullivan and Tammy Sherwood will be at large. Sherwood was appointed to the board in December 2016, taking the seat of Garett English.

The three candidates who receive the highest number of votes will be elected to a full three-year term, July 1 through June 30, 2020. The candidate with the fourth highest number of votes will be elected to Sherwood’s seat, as of May 17.

District residents who would like to run for a board of education seat should submit their packet to District Clerk Kathy Tucker by April 17, no later than 5 p.m. Candidates need to be a qualified voter of the district, a resident of the district for one year prior to the election and be able to read and write, among others.

Candidates are required to gain 25 signatures from eligible district voters on a petition to run for a seat on the board. For more information on candidacy eligibility, visit www.SpringvilleGI.org.

*Editor’s note: As of our deadline, the state had not yet passed its budget.

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