#RavenaCoeymansSelkirkCentralSchoolDistrict #SchoolBudget #AliHibbs #SpotlightNews
RAVENA—The Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk Board of Education approved a proposed budget of $47.7 million for the 2018-19 school year.
The proposal calls for a $1,908,942 spending increase and a tax levy increase of 2.68 percent, which is the district’s calculated tax levy cap.
If the proposed plan is approved by voters, RCS would continue all current programs and services, and would enhance school security, increase instructional support for at-risk students and offer better mental health and social emotional supports for all students.
The plan would reallocate some staff members to meet the growing STEAM initiatives in the elementary schools. It will also allow educators at the middle and high school to identify spaces for future alternative learning environments.
According to the district, which is not releasing the full adopted budget to the public until Monday, April 30, the proposal includes:
• $50,000 for professional development of faculty and staff
• $50,000 for an additional school resource officer
• $30,000 to create a satellite mental health space to provide students with more mental health services.
• A 0.5 FTE (full-time equivalent) Instructional/Assistive Technician at the middle school—by restructuring current personnel.
• Two 0.5 STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, music) staff members—one at each elementary school—by restructuring current personnel.
• Addition of a behavioral specialist—by restructuring current personnel.
• Increased Career Development and Occupational Studies opportunities including additional work opportunities for special education students.
• Addition of 10-week “boot camp” for struggling for high school students who will have a subject-specific specialist to help them throughout the school year.
• $8,000 for salaries and transportation for summer symposiums for students transitioning from eighth to ninth grades.
• Continuing investment in expanding student access to instructional technologies with the purchase of 300 Chromebooks.
The school budget vote will take place on Tuesday, May 15, at Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk High School, 2025 Rte. 9W, Ravena. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
In addition to the budget, voters will also decide on a proposition to purchase six new buses as part of the district’s long-term bus replacement plan and fill three seats on the Board of Education.
The school bus replacement plan at RCS is a long-term program that seeks to maintain a fleet where the average age of a bus does not exceed 10 years. To continue the program, the district is asking voters to consider the purchase of six new buses at an estimated cost not to exceed $720,463.92. The proposed purchase includes four 65-passenger diesel buses with cameras, air conditioning and five-year extended warranties at a cost not to exceed $122,446.81 each; and two 65-passenger gasoline buses with cameras, air conditioning and five-year extended warranties at a cost not to exceed $115,338.34 each.
Transportation Director Jennifer Houck said that a newer fleet, managed by an experienced team of mechanics, has resulted in a 96 percent passage rate on Department of Transportation inspections.
The state would reimburse the district for 57 percent of the purchase, or $410,664, over five years. The district would pay for the remaining cost, $309,799 using short-term bond anticipation notes, paid off over five years from the general fund.
On May 15, residents will also vote to fill three seats on the Board of Education. Candidates will be elected to three-year terms beginning July 1. Candidates will appear alphabetically on the ballot: Howard Engel III, Kristin Hill-Burns, Taknika Mickey, Edward Reville. More information about the candidates can be found on the district website at rcscsd.org.
Residents will also vote on the RCS Community Library budget and elect two trustees. The library has a proposed budget of $580,000 for the 2018-19 fiscal year, an increase of $10,090 from the current year. The two candidates seeking election to the library board of trustees are Laurel Dickerson and Sheila Schwartz.