Budget prep, capital plan, coach resigns

By Chip Rowe

The Haldane school board is crunching the numbers for its 2019-20 budget, working within a state cap that allows it to raise taxes by no more than 2.71 percent.

That means the board can increase its budget by as much as about $528,000, to $24.6 million. The district is expected to receive $2.92 million in state aid, about $21,000 less than last year.

To address a projected deficit of $357,000, the administration recommended eliminating two teacher-aide positions in 2019-20 and, through scheduling changes, the number of stipends paid to teachers for duties outside the classroom.

The administration also suggested hiring a tech-support specialist and a social worker, counselor or psychologist, rather than continuing to contract for the positions. It hopes to contract with the regional educational services cooperative for assistance with curriculum and instruction, noting that only Haldane and Garrison among 18 member districts do not have an administrator on staff who oversees those areas.

In addition to seeking approval of its budget, Haldane on May 21 will ask voters to OK $2.3 million in spending for capital repairs and upgrades. The money would come from savings ($700,000) and loans ($1.6 million).

With state aid, and including retiring loan payments for earlier roof repairs that continue through 2024, the plan is to keep principal and interest payments at about $100,000 annually until the $1.6 million is paid off in 2036. The district has scheduled public walkthroughs for April 12 at 3:15 p.m. and May 15 at 6:30 p.m.

A third proposition on the ballot will ask for $55,000 to purchase a 30-passenger bus and $20,000 for accessories for its current vehicles, such as a lift gate.

Two seats on the five-member school board will be on the ballot. Laura Hammond, the president, who was appointed in 2015 to fill the last year of a term and then elected in 2016, says she does not plan to run. Jen Daly, the vice president, will seek a third term. Nominating petitions for the three-year positions, available at the district office, are due by April 22.

In other business …

The board approved the 2019-20 calendar. The first day of school will be Wednesday, Sept. 4.

After 10 seasons, Tom Virgadamo resigned as varsity baseball coach. (He did not immediately reply to an email seeking comment.) He will be succeeded by the modified-team coach, Simon Dudar.

In October, the board approved a contract with Richard Madison Associates of Poughkeepsie to provide occupational therapy services for special-needs students in the district who attend the private Manitou School.

Behind The Story

Type: News

News: Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

A former longtime national magazine editor, Rowe has worked at newspapers in Michigan, Idaho and South Dakota and has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism from Northwestern University. Location: Philipstown. Languages: English. Area of Expertise: General.