GERMANTOWN—The Board of Education greeted with tempered joy the news that the district’s financial situation is strong enough to reduce from 2% to 0% the projected increase in the tax levy for the 2013-2014 school year.
“Will this come back to haunt us?” wondered board member Ralph DelPozzo.
“No,” said interim superintendent Patrick Gabriel, who announced the news at the August 14 board meeting.
“If we don’t need the increase, then we owe it to the taxpayers to take 0%,” said board member Ronald Moore.
But the proper documentation supporting the change wasn’t yet in place and district Business Manager Cathy Gomm still had some questions for auditor Ray Preusser. So board members set a special meeting for August 21 at 6:30 p.m., at which they expect to officially set the tax levy.
Ms. Gomm noted that the state cap on tax levy increases is expected to be 1.6% for the 2014-15 school year, plus exclusions, which in the Germantown district are debt service and pension costs.
In other business, the board:
•Appointed Annemarie Barkman interim elementary school principal effective September 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014, to replace Susan Brown, who was appointed superintendent of the district. Ms. Barkman’s appointment is pending approval by the state commissioner of education. She most recently served a year as interim principal of Chatham Middle School, and prior to that was interim superintendent of the Coxsackie-Athens Central School District. Because she is a retired educator, the state limits the length of time she may serve in an interim position. Ms. Barkman “brings a breadth of experience to the district that will be a tremendous asset,” said Mr. Gabriel. Sitting in the audience, Ms. Barkman received a round of applause.
•Adopted a policy for online courses
•Approved the memorandum of understanding between Columbia Memorial Hospital and the district to participate in the mobile dental van program, which all agreed was a popular program often used
—Thanked each other. Board members thanked Mr. Gabriel for his seven years as superintendent and for, among other things, pushing teachers and staff to use technology to enhance instruction. Mr. Gabriel thanked the boards he had worked with for being “remarkably patient with me.” And board President Eric Mortenson thanked Mr. Gabriel for his assistance and mentorship during his first year as board president.
All board members attended except for Brittany DuFresne and Teresa Repko, along with an audience of about two dozen. The next regular board of education meeting is Wednesday, September 11.