Lebrun: No significant cuts in Plattsburgh CSD budget

Cara Chapman, The Press-Republican, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
·4 min read

May 5—PLATTSBURGH — Plattsburgh City School District residents are set to vote on a proposed 2021-2022 budget that district leadership says features no significant cuts.

At $46,413,990, the spending plan marks a 2.06 percent increase over last year's. The tax levy is set to go up by 2.03 percent to $24,045,198, and falls within the state-mandated cap.

A hearing on the budget is slated for 7:30 p.m. this evening in the Duken Administration Building.

TAX RATE

According to the newsletter, the tax rate per $1,000 of assessed value is estimated to increase from $23.3442 to $23.8938.

The district provided the example of how, for a $156,300 home — the average value in the City of Plattsburgh — the projected tax bill is set to increase by $74 to $3,712.

It was noted that those figures do not assume any changes in the total assessed value for the city. Total evaluation will not be known until June and any increase would decrease the tax rate.

STAFFORD PROGRAM

Superintendent Jay Lebrun said there are no significant cuts in the proposed budget.

Notable additions, he continued, include the purchase of a school bus and the reintroduction of a special education program at Stafford Middle School.

Lebrun explained that the district hasn't had students "with that specific mix of age and need for a few years, but now will."

The program will likely require a teacher, a teaching assistant, a small number of student aides and, possibly, a school psychologist, he added.

FEDERAL AID

According to the newsletter, the district is set to receive federal stimulus aid allocations of $1,846,329 and $3,944,749 through grant programs put in place by the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) and the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act, respectively.

"It is our understanding that these are both multi-year grant programs, and that CCRSA will extend through 2023, while the ARP will extend through 2024," the newsletter continues.

"Though further guidance on the parameters of these grant programs is still needed, initial indications are that these funds should target: safely reopening schools, addressing student deficits/learning loss caused by the pandemic, addressing the needs of disadvantaged students, sustaining or expanding staffing, and providing extended learning opportunities such as summer or afterschool programs."

Lebrun and his counterparts in other districts previously expressed concerns, based on past experiences, that the federal aid might be used to supplant, rather than supplement, state aid. Fortunately, that did not happen, he said.

"So, naturally, we're very excited about what these grant programs might enable over the next few years," he continued. "Details about the parameters and timing of this stimulus are still emerging, but we will soon need to develop an initial spending plan (which, it would appear, will need to feature only the broadest of intents for applying these funds).

"As we move beyond the current budget focus, I expect time and attention will shift to planning for the use of these multi-year grant programs."

SCHOOL BOARD

Eight candidates are running for three upcoming vacancies and a current one on the board of education.

The terms of Board President Leisa Boise and fellow members Amelia Goerlitz and Ron Marino are set to expire June 30. Tracy Rotz resigned earlier this school year.

Boise and Marino are running for re-election. The remaining six challengers are Brigitte Phillips, Nikki Burdo, Derek Rosenbaum, Amy Gervich, Joel Lautenschuetz and Steve Krieg, who was a member of the board until last year.

The three candidates with the most votes will be elected to three-year terms starting July 1, 2021 and ending June 20, 2024. The candidate who comes in fourth will serve out the remaining year of Rotz's term.

More information on all the candidates will be provided in a future report.

VOTE

Due to COVID-19 concerns, budget and school board elections took place wholly by absentee ballot in 2020.

This year, the district will offer in-person voting from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 18 at three customary locations: Momot Elementary School, the Duken Administration Building and Glasgow (Bailey) Elementary School. Voting locations within those buildings will be indicated by signage.

Absentee ballot applications, available at tinyurl.com/3vud3825, must be received by May 11 if the ballot is to be mailed to the voter. Those uncomfortable voting in-person due to COVID-19 may apply.

Ballots must be returned to the district clerk no later than 5 p.m. on May 18.

Email Cara Chapman:

cchapman@pressrepublican.com

Twitter: @PPR_carachapman

BUDGET HEARING

A public hearing on the Plattsburgh City School District's proposed 2021-2022 budget is set to take place at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 5 at the Duken Administration Building, located at 49 Broad St. in Plattsburgh.

Attendees must wear masks and maintain social distancing.