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Voorheesville targets 3.2% tax hike

District's state aid declining; pleas to not eliminate freshman basketball

Voorheesville Board of Education President Timothy Blow, right, and Superintendent Teresa Thayer Snyder listen to the public comments at the board’s Monday, April 8, 2013, meeting.

Voorheesville Board of Education President Timothy Blow, right, and Superintendent Teresa Thayer Snyder listen to the public comments at the board’s Monday, April 8, 2013, meeting. Photo by John Purcell.

— District administrators have crafted a 2013-14 budget totaling $22.6 million, an increase of $695,000, or 3.17 percent. The proposed property tax levy increase of 3.23 percent is below the district’s 3.87 percent tax cap.

Proposed reductions remained largely unchanged from those discussed at the board’s March 25 meeting. Diefenbach said cuts total around $315,000, and include eliminating one bus route and cutting field trips by 50 percent; reducing clerical work time by one month; reducing substitute usage; eliminating advisors for the middle/high school art club, FBLA, Masterminds and Envirothon clubs; reducing humanities funding for speakers, supplies and stipends; reducing equipment purchases by 50 percent or almost $60,000; and eliminating freshman boy’s basketball for a $4,500 savings.

Diefenbach said the cuts could change over time, but the dollar amount tied to those reductions would be consistent.

“These positions associated with these cuts don’t mean it is going to be that,” he said. “It is the dollars behind them that is going to come into play.”

District officials dropped a proposal to eliminate the elementary school Science Lab and appear to be dropping plans to restructure music programming.

The public focused mostly on the possible elimination of freshman basketball at the April 8 meeting. Resident James Konicki said athletic programming is an important aspect of the educational experience because it motivates students to succeed. His son plays basketball.

“A lot of these key extracurricular programs are the motivators, because they are the extra value added for that student that focuses them to become not just athletes, not just people who play a sport, but scholar athletes,” Konicki said. “I know it works with my son. His grades are actually going up because his AAU team stresses being a scholar athlete.”

Eighth-grade student Matt Bernhard said he was looking forward to playing freshman basketball next school year.

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