Although the vote isn't until May, the Guilderland Central School District has already begun the process of crafting the budget for the upcoming school year, with a public input session held Tuesday, Oct. 7.
Assistant Superintendent of Business Neil Sanders said the input session did not last long, but it did give the board a chance to hear at lease some of the thoughts of public.
Sanders said one concerned resident warned the board of the economic uncertainty the community faces, and to account for that in the budget process.
He said another resident called for more input from the public earlier in the process.
School Board President Richard L. Weisz said the process has just begun, but the board welcomes any input from the community.
"Citizens are always encouraged to communicate their views to the superintendent," he said.
The Guilderland Board of Education is holding a regular meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 22, at the Guilderland High School LGI room at 7:30 p.m.
The board is planning on giving its input to the process at its next regularly scheduled meeting.
Town Councilman Mark Grimm said he plans on being vocal about the school budget as time goes on, reminding residents of the controversial involuntary transfer of high school teachers Matt Nelligan and Ann Marie McManus to the middle school.
"People sometimes have short memories," Grimm said. "I hope everyone remembers what the [board] did."
Grimm said the most important priority for the community regarding the school board and the budget process should be to "restore integrity" to the board.
He also said he is hopeful for changes in the membership of the board, but mentioned the difficulties of putting together a "coalition" to run against the incumbent board members.
"There are a lot of people who are very well meaning, but don't know anything about running for office," Grimm said.
Elijah Sharma, one of the founders of the group United for Nelligan and McManus told Spotlight Newspapers in September that he would organize rallies to vote down the budget if the board did not overturn the transfer of the teachers, along with other stipulations.
Sharma was unavailable for comment as of press time.
Weisz said he does not know enough about Sharma's stipulations to comment.
The 2008-2009 school year's budget came in at $83,823,160, and represented a 2.08 percent increase in spending and 1.43 percent increase in the tax rate, according to the Guilderland School District Web site.""