Penn Yan School faces $3.3 million gap

Staff Writer
The Chronicle Express

The Penn Yan School Board and administration head into the budget planning season looking at a $3.3 million gap between revenues and spending if programs for 2012-13 are unchanged from this year.

Assistant Superintendent Doug Tomandl presented a preliminary look at the upcoming budget at the Dec. 7 Penn Yan School Board meeting.

Notable issues Tomandl pointed out include:

• EMPLOYEE BENEFITS: The district can expect to see an increase of over $1.2 million in benefits costs, which total $6.1 million this year.

• DEBT SERVICE: The district will be making an additional $629,411 in payments on borrowed funds in 2012-13.

• PILOT: The district stands to lose $236,450 in revenue if AES’s efforts to reduce its payments in lieu of taxes are successful.

• FEDERAL AID: The district will not see a repeat of $541,614 in federal JOBS assistance that was included in this year’s budget.

The spending increases total nearly $2.8 million and the total revenue decrease hovers at $552,614 to combine for the $3.2 million gap if there is no increase in the tax levy.

Other business at the Dec. 7 board meeting included:

• CAPITAL PROJECT: The board approved spending up to $600,000 to remove and replace the elementary school playground, install new visitor bleachers in the stadium and renovate the Pre-K and kindergarten classroom toilets.  Superintendent David Hamilton explains most of the work will be covered by state aid and the district is anticipating donations to help pay for the new playground.

• SUMMER SCHOOL: Tomandl outlined a new model for summer school programs that would engage students in a six week preview of material for the coming school year rather than remedial help for material that was covered in the prior year. “The objective is to prevent students from falling behind and requiring remedial assistance the following year,” he said. Tomandl said the “preview” model gets the students comfortable with the new material, which should improve their success and their self-esteem. In turn, attendance and behavior should improve, and eventually the student will no longer need remedial help.  The next steps will be for staff to decide how to implement the program, determine staffing needs, and criteria for identifying students to participate.

• STUDENTS OF THE MONTH: A group of Penn Yan Academy students were honored as students of the month for the first time. Turn to page B12 for a photo and information on the students.

• ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT FOR BUSINESS: The board thanked Tomandl for his service to the school district after accepting his resignation. Tomandl, who lives in Auburn, has accepted a position with the Weedsport School District. “He’s done some amazing things for us,” said Board President Jeff Morehouse. Tomandl replied, “It’s been an absolute pleasure working here. It was a real tough decision to make to leave when you enjoy working someplace so much.”

The board appointed Rodger Lewis to an interim position. Lewis had served in that position in the past.