The 2020-2021 proposed New Lebanon CSD budget preserves programs, limits spending and provides exceptional education
On Tuesday, June 9, the New Lebanon community will vote on a $12,764,051 proposed budget for the 2020-2021 school year. All voting will be conducted by absentee ballots, sent to qualified voters through the USPS.
The plan represents an increase in spending of $277,974. While the district is increasing the tax levy to just under the allowable cap, the total tax levy is currently below the level from several years ago. Dating back to the 2013-2014 school year, the district has maintained a 0% tax levy increase, or a levy reduction, by budgeting for what is needed, rather than seeing the cap as what can be spent. Long-term financial planning and ongoing evaluation of all programs has allowed the district to provide an exceptional education to its students while being fiscally responsible.
The budget will fund one additional School Psychologist, while eliminating one Elementary teacher position due to a small number of students in that grade, and one high school business teacher will be reduced from 1.0 FTE to .6 FTE due to low requests for that class. While this budget does contain some strategic cuts, none of the proposed reductions lead to reduced programming for students.
“It is always our goal to continue providing high-quality education to all of our students from Pre-K through High School. Despite seeing significantly less funding from the state, the district’s long-term financial planning has allowed us to maintain our programming without undue strain on our taxpayers,” said Superintendent Leslie Whitcomb.
Due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, state aid has not increased from last year. In addition, Governor Cuomo has indicated that aid may likely be reduced at several predetermined points throughout the year. Due to these unique circumstances, the district has budgeted conservatively, while maintaining programs for all students and continuing to offer extensive electives: computer science, art, music and health courses beginning at the elementary level and continuing through grade 12. These electives expand to include business and technology as well as content area electives at the secondary level. The budget also provides for continued college credit in courses in math, science, social studies, art, business, English and technology.
School Board Election:
This year, there are two people running for two open Board of Education seats. Sharon Putnam and Richard Sime declared their candidacy. Each seat is a three-year, non-paid term.
Response to Coronavirus Pandemic
New Lebanon Delivers 12,000 Meals to Students
The New Lebanon Food Services staff, Transportation staff and Teaching Assistants coordinated the delivery of 1,680 meals per week to students in the district while on-site classes were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Beginning on March 18, buses were loaded twice a week with free meals for students, regardless of a family’s eligibility for free/reduced price lunch.
After working out a few initial kinks, buses ran their normal routes on Tuesday and Thursday with TA’s distributing the meals. This schedule allowed the district to provide two meals per day for every day of the week to approximately 120 students.
JSHS Assistant Principal and Athletic Director Josh Noble oversaw the meal delivery operation.
“I want to publicly thank the transportation department, food services and our TA’s for their hard work. Patty Ann Metzler, food services manager, and Chris Howe, head driver, have been well organized and thoughtful and have truly been awesome to work with,” said Noble.
Donations from Regional Food Bank feed local families
Thanks to several generous donations from the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York, New Lebanon CSD was able to serve the community by organizing distribution of over 9,000 pounds of frozen food to families in the New Lebanon and Berlin communities.
Among the items available: pulled pork, whole chickens, taco meat, chicken breasts, pork loins, sliced turkey, egg beaters, and frozen fruit. Town of New Lebanon Supervisor Tistrya Houghtling was also on hand to distribute hand sanitizer and homemade masks.
The district was proud to support the Food Bank and the Town to provide the venue and additional staff to enable these valuable local initiatives.
District Transitions to Remote Learning
When we abruptly left school on March 18, no one envisioned being out of school for the remainder of the school year. Thanks to the quick thinking work of our teachers and staff, in a mere 24 hours, we converted to a remote learning environment and asked our school community to adjust accordingly.
Since mid-March, students have participated in remote learning in all classes. Teachers have adjusted their teaching methods to support their students remotely, and provided students and families with clear expectations for participation. Communication has been the most important part of this operation as we worked to ensure all students have equal access to learning and feedback.
Our teachers have used a variety of media to connect with students based on their age, content level, and the student’s level of connectivity. Through Google Meet, FaceTime, telephone calls, traditional paper materials and recorded video lessons, students have continued their classes and stayed in contact with their teachers since we made the transition to remote learning.
It was also important that we maintained all required services contained in students’ IEP and 504 plans. All CSE and 504 meetings have continued using traditional phone calls or Google Meet. Services provided include speech, counseling, OT & PT, Resource Room, Teaching Assistant support, co-teaching, testing accommodations and assistive technology.
Our intention through this closure has been and will be to support students’ continued learning progress, while being respectful of the challenges that this new learning environment may create for families.
The District administration wishes to thank everyone for their compassion and understanding during this extended break from traditional schooling. Our community is incredibly strong and together we will make it through this. We look forward to a return to our classrooms and schools.
2020-21 New Lebanon CSD Budget
|Category||2019-2020||Proposed Budget 2020-2021||Change from 2018-2019|
|Operations & Maintenance||$922,442||$855,000||-$67,442|
|Category||2019-2020||Proposed Budget 2020-2021||Change from 2019-2020|
Our Program By The Numbers:
- 51: The number of college credits available to students through dual credit courses
- 90% High school graduation rate in 2019 (state average is 83%)
- 40% of Class of 2019 graduated with a regents degree with advanced designation (state average is 34%)
- 65% percent of students participate in a sports team
- 80% of students participate in the arts
- 47% of seniors will graduate with credits in engineering and computer science courses
- 100% of students enrolled Pre-K to grade 12 have daily recess
- 57% of students enroll in classes that can lead to college credits earned in high school
- 100% of students in grades 4-8 participate in performance music program
- 73% of high school students participate in performance music program
- 100% of students grades 9-12 have a four-year high school graduation plan
- 1680 Meals delivered weekly during cancellation of classes
Voter Eligibility: You are eligible to vote if you are a U.S. citizen, 18 years of age or older and a resident of the school district for at least 30 days prior to the vote.
Absentee Ballots: In the interest of public safety due to the COVID-19 pandemic, voting this year will take place using absentee ballots only, per Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order. Every eligible voter will receive an absentee ballot and a postage paid return envelope in the mail. If you do not receive a ballot, please contact Board Clerk Kelly McGivern at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copies of the itemized budget are available online, in your Town Library or in the school main offices.