Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Thank you for your support

Thanks to the overwhelming support of the Watervliet community, our proposed $23,136,179 school budget for 2012-13 passed with a 71 percent approval rating, 234 to 95. I thank everyone who took the time to go to the polls on May 15 and vote.
You may recall that we began the budget development process earlier this year faced with a $2.3 million deficit. By the end of March, we were able to reduce the budget gap to $1 million thanks, in large part, to the collaborative efforts of teachers and staff who agreed to changes in health insurance plans that will result in significant savings over the next several years. I thank our faculty and staff for their spirit of cooperation during these tough fiscal times. It is an honor to work with such dedicated professionals every day.
We sought community feedback to help guide our decision making and while difficult cuts were made to balance the budget, with your input, the reductions we made have minimal impact on students and keep our academic program intact. I thank everyone who participated in those efforts including parents, teachers, residents, students and the PTA.
I am grateful to everyone who e-mailed, wrote or called our local representatives in the state legislature and advocated on behalf of our schools.
I also want to thank the Board of Education for its leadership throughout the budget process and recognize longtime school board member Frank McGrouty, who did not seek re-election this year, for his years of service to our school district and our students. I congratulate Jennifer Donovan on her re-election to the board and I welcome newly-elected board member Matthew Ethier. I look forward to working with you in the coming years.
We will no doubt face challenges again next year—inequitable state aid funding, increased unfunded mandates, more rigorous accountability for teachers and administrators—but right now, I am proud to be serving the students of this district and the Watervliet community.  
Thank you!

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