The death of a longtime social studies teacher took precedence at Niskayuna's first board of education meeting of 2008.
At the beginning of the meeting, board president David Hudson asked for a moment of silence for Sue Burke, longtime Van Antwerp Middle School social studies teacher. Burke died suddenly on Friday, Jan. 11.
We'll miss her, Hudson said.
The board began the budget process, with the first draft being just a rollover budget from the 2007-08 budget of $63.2 million.
"This is a baseline budget," said Superintendent Kevin Baughman. "It is basically a rollover of known expenses from the previous year and not nearly as complete as the final product presented for approval by the community."
"We'll be working on the budget from now until March," Hudson said. "We encourage people to start coming to meetings now so that they're not lost when they come in at the end of it all."
In the past two years, the budget increased 6.17 percent and 4.24 percent.
Although fewer than 10 people from the community were in attendance, Hudson said the board is striving to reach out to more community members.
"Attendance usually depends on the topics that are being discussed, but this year has seen typically low attendance from the community," he said. "We have also made it a point to go to more PTO meetings and meet with the parents there."
Hudson said he hoped the attendance was a reflection of the community's faith in the board.
"I'd like to hope that it means that people have the utmost confidence in how we're running things," he said.
The board approved an upcoming trip to France for students in the junior and senior class.
"Twenty-one of our students will be in the student exchange program," Hudson said. "We have had this program with Alberville for a few years now."