MALONE — Two new teachers, a modified-softball coach and technology upgrades are included in the tentative 2007-08 budget for Malone Central School District.The School Board is expected to meet at 7:30 tonight at the Franklin Academy library to adopt the spending plan, which calls for a tax increase of below 2 percent.The public is being encouraged to attend.
The overall tentative budget is $39,355,441, which is about 6.57 percent higher than this year.The tax levy — the amount to be raised by taxes — will increase by 1.76 percent to $11,519,743.The tax rate per $1,000 of assessed-property value is projected to decrease from an average of $17.88 to $17.85 in the tentative budget, according to figures supplied by District Business Manager Timothy Whipple.Property owners with homes valued at $100,000 would save about $3 in taxes in the coming school year, going from an average of $1,252 in 2006-07 to $1,249 in 2007-08.
Superintendent Steve Shafer said more robust state-aid projections have allowed the district to include new staff and $150,000 in computer-technology upgrades, along with fiber-optic broadband connections for the Middle School and Davis, Flanders and St. Joseph's elementary schools."This is the first time in quite awhile the state budget gives us sufficient funds to enhance our programs and services while keeping the tax levy at a reasonable level," he said.Among the other additions are two special-education positions and a one-year staff position to infuse science and math courses with methods that will increase a student's reading and writing skills.A modified-softball coach will be funded in the budget for the first time in many years.Shafer said when volleyball was switched from a spring sport to fall, it left few athletic opportunities for Middle School girls. But the School Board decided that, with a variety of sports programs available for boys, "everything would have balance" if modified softball were reinstated.
Another Middle School program that will be instituted for the first time in the fall will be Project Lead the Way, which has technology students use a computer to conceive, draw and print their original designs.The students then use the shop equipment, tools and the designs to build their creations.Shafer said the program not only develops the students' ability to achieve marketable skills that can carry on into the high-school level, but it encourages them to go on to college to train for high-paying careers.Many top colleges are seeing a shortage of engineering students, he said, "so we thought we'd do our part toward that effort."The 2007-08 budget proposal also includes a shared in-school counselor for one day a week at Davis Elementary and a librarian who will share time in both Flanders and St. Joseph's elementary.If the tentative budget is adopted tonight, the public hearing on the spending plan will be held at 7 p.m. May 8 in the Middle School.The vote will be from noon to 8 p.m. May 15 at the Middle School.Residents will also be asked to approve the purchase of three full-size school buses and one handicapped-accessible smaller bus at a cost not to exceed $392,000.School Board President Wayne Rogers and board member Carol Hunter see their five-year terms up for re-election.Anyone interested in running for either position has until April 16 to file a nominating petition with District Secretary Cindy Johnston.