Germantown will offer voters $13.5M budget plan

GERMANTOWN—A busy spring continues for the Board of Education. At the budget workshop March 27 the board passed a 2013-14 budget proposal for the district, which, at $13.5 million, is $200,000 less than last year’s budget of $13.7 million, said board president Eric Mortenson.

After a discussion that Mr. Mortenson described as “rough” sometimes, the board agreed upon a 2% tax hike, well within the 2.5% state-mandated cap for the district. Individual board members had advocated tax increases between 1.5% and 2.5%.

The budget goes to a public hearing Wednesday, May 8 at 6 p.m. The public vote on the budget and one open seat on the board—currently held by Lynn Clum—is Tuesday, May 21.

As the search for a new superintendent continues, the spending plan budgets $150,000 for that position. As of Tuesday the following had agreed to serve on the search Advisory Committee:

administrators Karol Harlow, high school principal, and Amelia Gallagher, guidance director; teachers Dean Hanson (high school science) and Mike Pudney (fifth grade); school nurse Sandi Bohnsack; Mary Duntz, special education; students Joe Stier and Angela Fix; and community members Rick Jason and Randy Phelan.

Questar III BOCES is assisting the board in its search for a new superintendent. Germantown Superintendent Patrick Gabriel retired in January and is serving in an interim capacity through August. In the schedule distributed by Questar III, the Advisory Committee will be trained and will interview candidates the week of May 6.

James Baldwin, BOCES district superintendent, described the process at a February 20 meeting. BOCES does the first screening of applicants. Then the Advisory Committee interviews the candidates screened by BOCES using a template, developed in consultation with BOCES, on which they grade them. BOCES collects and tabulates that information, and the week of May 20, discusses the data with Board of Education members before the board interviews candidates.

The week of June 3 the board conducts its interviews. The week of June 10 the board meets with a finalist, who then visits the school and meets with administrative staff, teachers and students.

The week of June 17, the board approves the appointment of a new superintendent.

In the meantime, Mr. Mortenson expected infrastructure to be on the agenda of Wednesday’s board meeting. The school has “a roof that is reaching the end of its usefulness,” he said, and a facilities garage that also needs repair.

The school building is connected to the hamlet’s sewer system only on its Main Street side, which requires the use of pumps to move waste from the Route 9G side of the school. The pumps, in turn, require ongoing maintenance and repair. A connection on Route 9G could be gravity-fed, said Mr. Mortenson, and more cost-effective. He expected the board to create a priority schedule for such maintenance.

 

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