GUFS Budget Ready for Voters

Search for new principal begins

By Pamela Doan

Winding down their budget process at their April 8 meeting, the Garrison Union Free School District Board of Education voted to approve the budget proposal that will go before voters in May. The budget funds all of the district’s current programs. Superintendent Laura Mitchell said, “Our goal is to support the mission statement, and all of the pieces of the budget are making sure that we are planning to sustain and grow these programs within the confines of the 2 percent cap.” The district did not have to make any cuts in any programs.

State government mandates a tax levy limit for school districts. The limit is determined after each district inputs their data into a set of calculations. For GUFS, the tax levy limit is 2.10 percent, and the budget does not exceed that amount. Business Manager Sue Huetter clarified that it is an estimate of the tax increase that voters will face. However, since the state will refund taxpayers for the increase, essentially there is not a tax increase from the school budget. Huetter said, “We’re staying under the cap and within the state’s guidelines, and everyone should get a rebate.”

For the first time, the board had to dip into their reserve funds to cover their budget for the current school year. Board members have expressed concern over depleting the reserves if they don’t have a plan to replenish the reserves. Mitchell said, “We’re being strategic and cautious and thinking about it as a five-year plan and able to both replenish and use the funds along the way.”

Many community members participated in the three workshops the board hosted to shape the budget proposal. A public hearing on the budget will be held on May 8, and the vote is May 19.

Search for new principal

In March, Principal Stephanie Impellittiere announced her decision to retire at the end of the school year. Mitchell has outlined plans to open up the search process for her replacement.

On April 21, there are two public meetings at the school to begin developing a profile for the right candidate. Mitchell said, “I want to brainstorm with parents, students, teachers and anyone from the community who is interested the expertise, skill set and experience that our ideal candidate will have.” The job will be posted after they have their profile completed, and then there will be opportunities for different representatives to participate in the interview process.

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