School Budget Passes with Nearly 2% Tax Levy Decrease

New Board Members Elected for Pawling Schools

by Tom Walogorsky | Staff Writer

The Pawling Central School District (PCSD) has announced that the proposed budget for the 2017 – 2018 school year was approved by the voters on May 16.

The vote addressed two separate propositions for the school district. Proposition I sought approval for the annual budget of $36,670,764. This figure represents, for the third consecutive year, a budget-to-budget decrease (-1.13%). It also gives the taxpayers a tax levy decrease of -1.95% from the 2016 – 2017 school year. The measure was met with voter approval and passed with a final count of 552 votes in favor, and 123 against. It represents a decrease in taxes while maintaining all current academic programs. In addition, the district will also continue to improve its STEM course offerings, which represent an interdisciplinary approach to science, technology, mathematics, and engineering. This new budget also includes measures that will ensure continuing favorable class sizes, as well as maintaining current athletic programs.

“Our board and administration have continued efforts to improve our educational programs, such as Project Lead The Way, Science Research, new Advanced Placement courses, while minimizing the impact to taxpayers,” says Colleen Snow, President, PCSD Board of Education. “Our budget-to-budget decrease is made possible through sound fiscal management and a continuing examination of all areas of the budget for potential economies.” In a statement issued after the vote, Superintendent Dr. William Ward said, “The passing of our school budget is not something we take for granted. It visibly marks the renewal of our district’s commitment to the community. We promise to work diligently and collaboratively to ensure your trust and respect as we work with the students of the Pawling community.”

Proposition II presented voters with a measure seeking the creation of a Capital Reserve Fund for the district. This fund would allow the school district to contribute excess money at the end of the school year that will ultimately help offset the cost of future construction and renovation projects. While individual projects will need to be met with voter approval, long terms plans for the Capital Reserve Fund include roof repair for district buildings as well as boiler replacements. Ultimately the district aims for this fund to be $10 million over a period of 10 years. This measure was also met with voter approval, passing with 418 votes in favor, and 256 against.

The ballot also saw the election of two Board of Education members. New Board Member Carol Lynn Marshall received a tally of 517 votes. Current Board Member Inga Garbarino was re-elected to her seat with 515 votes. Each will serve a three-year term on the board.

The passage of both propositions and the election of new board members were met with excitement following the poll closing on May 16. Board and faculty members expressed enthusiasm about what these approvals would mean for the district going forward. “We are very pleased to report that the Board of Education had the budget pass, with Proposition I and II,” said Board of Education President Snow. “We are welcoming our current Board Member Inga Garbarino as she takes on another three years, and our new member Carol Lynn Marshall to our team. We thank everyone for their support, and we look forward to serving you in the next school year.”

Prior the budget vote, the Board of Education also met for its regularly scheduled meeting. The agenda acknowledged the retirement of technology teacher Christopher Rogine, as well as district bus drivers Susan Iozzo and April Mulkins. The board approved the hiring of several new faculty members, including a part-time Recreation Leader, four substitute teachers, two bus drivers, a licensed practical nurse, an ESL teacher, and a new director of the middle school jazz band. The board also announced that an insurance claim resulting from damage to Bus #128 was settled. The bus was struck by a falling tree on March 2, with no injuries. Full restitution was made with no further action.