CRARYVILLE–There are four openings on the Taconic Hills School board this year. Prospective candidates can download an application packet from the school’s website, www.taconichills.k12.ny.us/BOE/BUDGET/vacancies. Applications along with 25 signatures from qualified school district voters must be submitted to the district clerk’s office by 5 p.m. April 18. The election is May 17.
The board also learned this week of an increase in state aid to the district as part of the new state budget.
The 5-year terms of board President Christine Perry and board member Donald McComb expire at the end of June. Both are eligible to seek reelection. Replacements are sought for the seats vacated by Clifford Campbell, with three years remaining, and Bonnie Torchia, with two years left.
The two full five-year terms start July 1. The candidates with the two highest number of votes will fill those seats. The three-year term will go to the candidate with the third highest number of votes. The a two-year term will be filled by the candidate with the fourth highest vote tally. The two shorter terms commence May 17.
The district website says that petition packets for those who wish to run for the board are available from the district clerk at the District Office during regular school hours and must be returned to the District Clerk by April 18 by 5 p.m. The petition must be signed by at least 25 qualified voters of the district or 2% of the voters who voted in the previous annual election of members to the Board of Education, whichever is greater, and must state the name and residence of the candidate. The district clerk will conduct the drawing for ballot positions on April 19th in the District Office at 9 a.m.
The district recommends that candidates schedule a meeting with Superintendent Neil Howard at the time of submitting their materials to clarify the roles and responsibilities of board members.
Candidates are also asked to complete a questionnaire providing additional personal information regarding occupation, family and community connections to the school district, hobbies and interests, and a 25-word statement explaining why they would like to run for the board. Completed questionnaires can be emailed to
Asked what makes an ideal board member, Superintendent Howard responded via email, “someone who cares about children, community and education” and possesses “a lifelong love of learning, an open mind, perspective and a sense of humor.”
Also on the May 17 ballot will be the annual school district budget. The budget figures currently available on the district’s website show revenue estimates made in February before the state budget was adopted. The legislature and Governor Cuomo agreed on the state budget late last week, and the final calculation on state aid for the Taconic Hills District in the new school year that begins July 1 appears to show an increase of 3.5%, or over $397,000, compared to the current year’s aid.
Now that the state aid set the board can determine the final 2016-17 school year budget for Taconic Hills. The Board of Education was scheduled to meet earlier this week for a budget workshop, with a vote on the proposed spending plan scheduled for Tuesday, April 19.
The public vote on the budget and the candidates for the school board May 17 takes place in the Veterans’ Community Room at the school campus from noon to 9 p.m.
All or parts of 10 towns comprise the district: all of the Towns of Copake and Hillsdale and the Village of Philmont; parts of Ancram, Austerlitz, Claverack, Gallatin, Ghent, Livingston and Taghkanic in Columbia County; and part of the Town of Northeast in Dutchess County.