The Tupper Lake School Board meets Monday, May 7 at the L.P. Quinn Elementary School.
Tupper Lake Central School District Superintendent Seth McGowan explained some of the teacher restorations in the proposed 2012-13 budget at the budget hearing Monday, May 7 in the L.P. Quinn Elementary School library.
Nobody voiced opposition to the budget during the hearing.
When the district cut positions a few years ago, teachers shuffled around to places where they were needed, and that didn’t always work best for the schools, according to McGowan. Therefore, School Board members drafted a list of educational priorities to restore some of those positions that were cut.
In the elementary school, for instance, staff was trimmed to three teachers per grade, instead of four. So, if the budget passes as is, the school will be hiring one more elementary school teacher plus a teaching assistant.
The elementary school music teacher position that was previously cut will be restored, offering music instruction and giving the school a chance to resurrect its band and chorus.
A teaching assistant will be hired for the elementary school library, helping alleviate the strain of cutting the librarian’s position through attrition in the recent past. It’s “unlikely” it will be a librarian’s job, McGowan said, and is more likely to include working with students on research and computer skills.
Another new position includes science in the middle/high school. The superintendent said teacher Lori Ransom approached him with an “out-of-the-box idea” to combine her position into one that teaches home and careers, science and art at the middle/high school. That made room for the district to hire a new earth science teacher.
This move will allow the school to offer some “blended courses,” all research-based, and additional support for some students who are struggling in the sciences in grades 7-12, according to McGowan.
In the past few years, there have been teachers in a number of areas — foreign language, social studies and science — teaching out of their certification areas and teaching some of the specialist courses.
“This, with one position, creates an ability to bring everybody back in their strongest certified areas, so it’s kind of a win-win altogether and a major impact,” McGowan said. “I would say without question, all of these have really a districtwide impact.”
The added positions will cost the district a net amount of $60,346, after taking into consideration the savings from retiring teachers, the cost of replacing them, and the cost of the board’s “priority” additions.
Board President Mike Dechene said he believes board members are happy with the budget.
“I would like to urge the community to come out and vote and support the budget that we put forth,” Dechene said. “I believe I speak for the board that it’s a good budget ... Tupper’s always been supportive of education, and that’s a good thing. I believe if you have to invest money in anything, it might as well be in the education of the students that are someday going to run our town, I hope.”
The proposed 2012-13 budget totals $16,009,997, up 0.10 percent ($16,127) from the current budget of $15,993,850.
The tax levy increase is $239,534, or 3.39 percent. That comes in under the state’s mandated tax levy increase of 3.42 percent ($242,125).
McGowan said tax rates won’t be available until the town’s final assessment roll is filed at the county this summer.
Also on the ballot, the district will be asking voters to approve Proposition 1: the purchase of a 66-passenger bus, a 14-passenger bus and a dump truck at a cost of $206,000.
Four people are running for two seats on the School Board: Patricia Anrig, Paul Ellis, Fred LaMere Jr. and incumbent Jane Whitmore.
Voting will take place from noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 15 at the middle/high school.