Meet the school board candidates on May 13
PLAY Haldane, the community-based fundraising effort to support improvements to the main athletic field, locker rooms and auditorium at Haldane Central School, has surpassed its $100,000 goal. The announcement was made at the Tuesday, May 7, meeting of the Haldane School Board. Trustee Jon Champlin, co-chair of the campaign, said that funds raised to date total $103,000. “I think I want to go for $150,000 now,” he said, after receiving a round of applause for the campaign having reached its initial goal. The additional money would go towards a new concession stand, storage facility and press box.
Champlin also said that a cash raffle is now being finalized and that commemorative bricks, available in two sizes, will be going on sale to become part of a walkway near the new sports field. The first brick will be dedicated to the memory of Larry Brigati, longtime football coach at Haldane, for whom the field is named. Champlin also reported that bid documents are available to contractors at the district office for work on the field and locker rooms. Bids are scheduled to be opened on May 23 with construction beginning in June.
Discretionary funds tight in proposed spending plan
The meeting served as a public hearing for the adopted $22,345,120 spending plan that residents will either accept or reject on May 21. As required by state law, Business Manager Anne Dinio presented the plan in three parts, outlining proposed spending in the areas of program, administration and capital. She emphasized how little of the spending is discretionary, that is, spending over which trustees and administration have a clear say.
Non-discretionary spending offers very little flexibility because most of it relates to existing contracts, state law and other non-negotiable items. In the program portion of the plan, only $431,345, or 3 percent of $16,864,853, is discretionary. The $3,023,047 in capital spending includes only 0.5 percent, or $8,325, of discretionary funds. In administration, $62,861, or three percent of $2,458,920, is considered discretionary.
Superintendent of Schools Mark Villanti said that at Haldane, music and full-day kindergarten are considered non-discretionary. “It’s a judgment call on our part. That may change over time.” Villanti said that in some districts, such programs are being classified as discretionary, as boards look for ways “to survive.”
Risk report reviewed
Sue Peters, CPA, representing Cooper, Niemann and Company Inc., Haldane’s internal auditor, presented the 2013 Risk Assessment Report to trustees. She had met with the Haldane audit committee, chaired by trustee Peter Henderson, about a month to review the findings in detail. “Risk” in this context refers to financial risks inherent to various aspects of Haldane’s operations.
Peters said that this year’s report is similar to last year’s and that there were no new findings. She did point out one area requiring improvement — Haldane’s need to consistently follow accepted practices in handling purchase orders. Except in an emergency, she said, such as an immediate repair needed for a boiler, purchase orders must be issued prior to funds being committed.
Candidates and election
The PTA will hold a Meet the Candidates night on Monday, May 13, at 7 p.m. in the music room. Three candidates are running for two seats on the Haldane School Board in the May 21 election: newcomers Jennifer Daly and Julisa Rincon-Tomizawa and incumbent Gillian Thorpe.
May 21 promises to be a busy day and evening. In addition to the budget referendum and the School Board election, with polls open from 7 a.m. through 9 p.m. in Room 105 of the Middle School, the Haldane Fine Arts Awards will be presented beginning at 7 p.m. in the auditorium. The School Board will meet at 8:30 in the music room to await the election and referendum results and to formally accept them.
The Haldane Athletic Booster club will hold a fundraiser, its second annual car show, on Sunday, May 19, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the school campus. Funds are raised through a fee charged to those displaying a vehicle, but admission to the public is free. Kids’ activities are being added this year. Food and refreshments will be available.
Newly tenured staff and retirees will be recognized at the June 11 School Board meeting to be held in the music room. At Tuesday’s meeting, trustees accepted a letter from veteran mathematics teacher Michael Miller announcing his retirement effective June 30, 2013. Miller, who will stay on as a per diem substitute teacher, has taught at Haldane for 24 years. Outgoing School Board President Michael Junjulas will also be honored on June 11.
The annual reorganization meeting for the Haldane School Board will take place at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, August 13.