Penn Yan School budget starts with 7.62 percent hike

Gwen Chamberlain

The cost to operate the Penn Yan Central School District in the 2013-2014 school year with the existing programs and services would call for a 7.62 percent increase in the local property tax levy, according to Cathy Milliman, the district's assistant superintendent for business.

Milliman gave a brief report on the 2013-14 budget process at last week's regular school board meeting, saying a budget that keeps all the current services and programs would result in a 3.57 percent spending increase. That figure includes adjustments for changes in the some administrative positions — elimination of the Information Technology and Facilities Director, and changes in management in the transportation department.

She said the draft budget will also use $1 million in fund balance, and factors in a modest (1 percent) increase in state aid.

Milliman and Superintendent David Hamilton told the board that administrators will continue to look for ways to reduce the budget without impacting programs.

In addition, Milliman will continue to gather information on the state-mandated tax cap.

Hamilton said there are plans to interact with the public during the budget process. At least one public forum will be planned before the budget is adopted, and school officials will find ways to present information to members of the public.

Other business on the board's agenda Jan. 9 included:

• PEP GRANT: Brett Harrison reported on the Carol M. White grant which is shared with the Dundee Central School District. The grant funds are being used to meet 11 goals aimed at increasing student's fitness and fostering life-long fitness, helping students to find activities that will meet their needs after they leave school, explained Harrison.

The grant, which has brought a total of $615,919 over two years, has paid for virtual reality bicycles, BMX and mountain bicycles, cross country ski equipment, GPS units and compasses for orienteering, handheld portable tablets for teachers, and more.

Goals of the program include increasing fruit and vegetable consumption, increasing daily activity levels to 60 minutes, decreasing the rate of obesity, increased teacher training, and more.

In the second year of the grant program, Penn Yan and Dundee teachers will focus on team building and cooperative activities.

To accomplish that, two traverse walls have been installed at Penn Yan Elementary School, low element adventure activities have been introduced at the middle school and a belay vertical climbing wall will be built at the academy.

• PERSONNEL: The board accepted resignations from Joan Rubin, library media specialist and Bonnie Deysher, math teacher, both effective at the end of the school year. Rubin began working at the school district in September 1992 and Deysher began in November 1999.

The board recalled Elizabeth DeMaria-Marino to an art teaching post effective Jan. 22, 2013.

The board named Nicole Nearpass and Cara Clarke as long term substitutes in the English Department, and Mark Griffin as a science long term substitute.