Final public hearing, Rhinebeck school budget, Tues., 4/13, 7 p.m.

Budget Update from Community In Support of Public Education  (CISPE)

Public hearing on Rhinebeck 2010-11 school budget, Tues., April 13, 7 p.m., BMS cafeteria. The LAST opportunity for the public to be heard from about input on the budget before it is formally adopted.

This is an extraordinary year. More than a million dollars are being cut from programs serving kids.  It’s an understatement to say that making such decisions is hard. (See the list of proposed cuts at http://www.rhinebeckcsd.org/schoolboard.cfm?subpage=976245. Click “Budget” and then  “Options for reductions.”)

CISPE appreciates the difficulty of crafting a school budget in tough times. We know it is impossible to agree 100% on priorities, and we thank the Board of Education and the administration for their diligence.

Tomorrow evening, we expect to ask the BOE to consider a few changes in priorities. There are currently 3 “tiers” of cuts.   Unless something changes, the Board expects to make all the cuts in tiers 1 and 2. Cuts from tier 3 will only be needed if the budget does not pass.

CISPE will recommend that some items from tier 3 go to tiers 1 or 2 so as to preserve the following:

  • An additional section for next year’s 4th grade, a relatively large class with many special needs students (tier 2, line 9)
  • The Arts-in Education Program – full funding (tier 1, line 2)
  • More funds for secondary extracurricular programs, which have partial cuts, and/or field trips, which are set for elimination at all levels (tier 1, lines 16-19)   

To cover these items, we would move the following items from tier 3 up to 1 or 2:

  • High school marketing and video production electives (tier 3, lines 8 and 9). These are good programs, but serve relatively few students.
  • Components of the community service program (tier 3, lines 6 & 7).  Another good program, but with service well established in Rhinebeck this seems like a preferable cut.
  • Part-time LPN position (tier 3, line 12).  Our understanding is this is a very part-time position filling in for lunch breaks, etc., and with effective planning its temporary loss would not compromise student health. We also understand that some school districts are using aides (who receive training) to cover various health office needs.

CISPE is now on Facebook.  Become a fan.   Comment on the budget. Help us answer questions and stop rumors.  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Community-in-Support-of-Public-Education-CISPE/110343808996171?ref=ts&v=wall 

What you can do before the school budget vote on May 18. E-mail CISPE@frontiernet.net if you can do any of the following:

  • Attend Tuesday’s budget hearing, from 7:00 – 7:30 p.m., middle school cafeteria. The budget will be discussed during this first 30 minutes of the Board of Education meeting.
  • Tell us if you have “vote yes” on the budget signs from previous years, and how many.  
  • Attend the regular BOE meeting, Tues., April 20, 7:30 p.m., middle/high school library. Unless the budget is adopted after the April 13 hearing, it will likely be finalized at this meeting.
  • Distribute and post flyers beginning around May 1.
  • Make “vote yes” calls, May 16-18.
  • Request an absentee ballot if you will be out of town May 18th. 
  • Vote “yes,” Tues., May 18, 2-9 p.m., middle school cafeteria.