Rhinebeck : A note from Community In Support of Public Education

Passing the 2010-11 budget will preserve core programs and reasonable class sizes.  You may not think cuts are great news for kids, but voting “no” will be even worse.  Scroll down for a review of budget details or go to http://rhinebeckcsd.org/ and click on “school budget.”

It really does take a village — and a few towns — to pass a budget.  Here are seven ways you can help. More coming soon.

Sign up to make get-out-the-vote calls, May 16-18.  We provide a list and talking points.  E-mail Elizabeth Spinzia if you can help.
Put up a yard sign.  Pick up signs from the porch at 27 Chestnut, home of Polly Kaplan, or e-mail to have a sign delivered.
Talk up voting “YES” and publicize the budget.  Twitter, blog, use your Facebook page and e-mail lists; do whatever you can think of.
Get the facts and help stamp out rumors. The District has a special e-mail address for budget questions, budgetinfo@rhinebeckcsd.org, and its web site has up to date numbers; go to http://rhinebeckcsd.org/ and click “school budget.” You may also e-mail questions to CISPE or post them on our Facebook page.  Please note: CISPE has nothing to do with the anti-teacher/anti-union web site and leaflet being circulated.
Be sure you’re registered to vote in Dutchess County.  If you’re not you have until Tues., May 13, to do so with the county or at the district office, 9-4 on school days.  Bring proof of residency.
Get an absentee ballot now if you’ll be out of town May 18.  Apply for an absentee ballot in person at the district office from 9-4 on school days or call 871-5520, ext. 5522. Completed applications must be received by May 11 if the ballot is to be mailed or by May 17 if the voter picks the ballot up personally at the clerk’s office. Absentee ballots must be returned to the office by 5 p.m., May 18. [For additional details on eligibility and registration, click on “In the News,” at http://rhinebeckcsd.org/.
Thank members of the Rhinebeck Administrators Association, Superintendent Joe Phelan, and Assistant Superintendent Tom Burnell for offering to donate back 2% of next year’s salaries to save programs.
Budget overview
Rhinebeck’s Board of Education (BOE) has held next year’s budget increase to 2.1% – the smallest in 18 years.  The estimated tax levy increase is 3.99%. To keep it this low requires painful cuts including:
Fewer adults working with and for kids including a library clerk, two elementary teachers, a teacher aide, and a typist
Enrichment eliminated including all field trips, all middle and high school intramural sports, and the after school activity bus
Deep reductions in Arts-in-Education, athletic supplies and field irrigation, equipment and supplies such as library books and calculators, extracurricular clubs and activities, faculty and staff development, and more
Staff time cuts – adults working with and for kids will have their hours cut.  The total equals more than two full-time positions.
If the budget doesn’t pass, it gets worse.  The BOE may hold a second vote or go directly to a “contingency” budget. In either case, there would be additional cuts. With a contingency budget, another $572,846 would be cut including:
More adults working with and for kids will lose their jobs including two more elementary school teachers, the part-time athletic trainer, a custodian, and  another typist
More staff time cuts. Teachers of reading, foreign language, English, computer, home economics, and business; the licensed practical nurse at Chancellor, and the middle-high school assistant principal will have their hours cut. The total equals more than two full-time positions.
For more budget details go to http://rhinebeckcsd.org/  and click on “school budget.”