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Changes and budget cuts in Penn Yan

PENN YAN—Administrative changes will result in financial savings next year as the Penn Yan Central School District continues the search for ways to control costs. Recent changes were triggered by the resignation of high school principal Keith Mathews, which is effective June 30. Superintendent of Schools Ann Orman said, “When Keith retired I looked at everything.” The result will be a shift of two administrators to different buildings as well as some internal shifts in responsibilities.
Current middle school principal David Pullen will move to the Academy as principal and current Academy assistant principal Rebecca Perrault will become middle school principal. Assistant middle school principal Warrren Kinsey will remain in that post with some changes in his responsibilities.
Orman said both Pullen and Perrault bring different experience to their new posts. Pullen knows what middle school students are like and will know many of the students in the Academy from the middle school. Perrault understands where kids are coming from, having worked in the district for several years and has an understanding of that age group.
Orman said, “Both bring different experience to the posts and both are looking forward to the challenge.”
Current athletic director Tobin Tansey will become half-time athletic director, spending the balance of his time as assistant principal in the Academy. Section V has announced the number of games next year will be reduced, which will allow Tansey to add his new assignment. Orman said some school districts are eliminating the post of athletic director altogether and she realized Tansey would be able to pick up some of the responsibilities in the high school.
Orman said she wrote to district staff about the changes after Mathews’s retirement was announced. The changes still require formal approval of the board of education, which meets April 1.
Orman summed up the changes, commenting, “It’s shifting everyone’s job responsibilities around.”
Cuts continue to be proposed for the proposed 2009-10 Penn Yan Central School budget. During the March 18 board of education meeting Interim Assistant Superintendent for Business Rodger Lewis presented the figures to the board. His presentation included a total of $287,000 in additional budget cuts with the largest reductions in the teaching budgets at $469,000.
The latest document totals $31,114,840, an increase of $802,083 over the current school year budget, and is an increase of 2.65. The projected tax levy increase now stands at 2.62 percent. Lewis emphasized this figure is without any additional revenue from either the state or federal governments. He said a lot of the number presented is driven by debt service, which was listed at $2,020,355. Most of that amount, $1,6 million, is related to the Academy project which was approved by voters three years ago. Excel aid of $600,000 from the state helped with the total. Without debt service payments the budget to budget amount would actually decrease and the tax levy would decrease by approximately eight percent. Lewis said, “I wish we could and we can’t. Debt service is driving it this year.”
Lewis reviewed the tax rate history for the past four years which showed a modest increase from the current year of $10.05 per $1,000 of assessed value to $10.31. Board member Anita Maroscher added, “Basically it’s a $26 increase for a $100,000 home.” Lewis noted the Penn Yan district has always been at the bottom of the 27 districts in this area for tax rates on true value.
Lewis spoke about the contingent budget calculations, a process that is required by the state. He said the proposed budget is now way below the contingent budget, noting the danger of a contingent budget is that certain items, such as equipment, are required to be removed from contingent budgets.
Lewis also spoke about the possibility of additional revenues which may come to the district, commenting, “April 1 is coming. I hope to hear something. Give us the money or don’t.” If additional revenue is received beyond the final date for budget adoption April 24, the board of education must determine what to do with the additional revenue. Some options include applying part or all of that revenue to reduce the tax levy and or distributing that revenue to reserve funds as allowed under Education Law or General Municipal Law.
A public hearing on the proposed budget will be at 7 p.m. May 6 in the elementary school cafeteria. Voting on the budget, propositions and seats on the board of education will be May 19.
Prior to the vote a newsletter will go to district residents that will contain complete information about the budget. Lewis said he wants to make a budget document that goes out to district residents this year more “User friendly.”

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