December 5, 2023


    Community Update


    Greetings Everyone,


    Welcome to December…possibly the busiest month of the year. I have a few items I would like to share with you and a survey I would like you to consider taking.  Let’s get started.


    How were parent-teacher conferences?


    We hope that you found parent teacher conferences useful and interesting.  We wanted to take a moment and get some feedback from you about how well we met your needs.  We would greatly appreciate it if you would click on the appropriate link(s) to share with us any feedback you might have.


    Survey for Duzine Conferences


    Survey for Lenape Conferences


    Survey for Middle School Conferences


    Survey for High School Conferences


    This survey will close December 15th.  We appreciate your participation.




    Will there be a capital project at the New Paltz Central School District?


    I have had a few parents and community members reach out to me on this topic so it seems like a good time to give the community some information.  I will start with a brief history.  The voters approved the last capital project in 2015 .  Here are some details:



    For more information about this project you can go to our website at https://www.newpaltz.k12.ny.us/project


    The idea of doing another capital project so soon after the last one will not appeal to all taxpayers.  However, the district facilities committee and the School Board are considering a capital project for some very good reasons.


    Every five years public schools in NYS are required to conduct a building condition survey.  Our survey was performed last year and architects made a prioritized  list of all of the things that need to be repaired in our four school buildings, the bus garage, and for our athletic facilities.  The list was quite daunting as there were many items that are so old, such as fire alarm systems and elevators, that replacement parts are no longer available.  Reviewing the survey, it quickly became obvious that in order to make the repairs that are necessary to keep our buildings functioning, we would have to consider a new capital project.


    Repairs are not the only reason we are considering a capital project.  Last spring we put out a survey to community members that included some questions about athletic facilities.  The results of the survey indicated that many people are concerned about the quality of our athletic facilities and they feel that major upgrades are necessary.  This survey indicated that at least some portion of our school community would support a new capital project:


    The school board listened to the concerns expressed in the building condition survey and by the public.  They tasked the district facilities committee with considering what a possible capital project might include.


    At the school board meeting on August 2, 2023, I presented four different scenarios to the board for their consideration.  The four scenarios ranged from about $11,000,000 to about $28,000,000.  The presentation can be found by going to this link:


    August 2nd school board meeting


    If you go to the 1:42:45 mark you will see the presentation in its entirety.


    The school board listened to the information and asked questions.  At the end of the presentation they asked the facilities committee to fine tune their proposals and come back to the board with fewer options.


    The facilities committee has been considering several factors as they work to refine their proposal(s).  The main issues are the following:


    • What must we repair to allow the school to function fully and safely?
    • What updates to athletic facilities are most appropriate and most needed?
    • What updates will help our school be more environmentally friendly?
    • What level of expenditure will the community support?


    These are very tough questions.  We can not lose sight of the fact that the 2023-2024 budget season was very difficult.  Many cuts were needed to get our expenditures to the point where we could balance the budget, including the elimination of the equivalent of 12.6 teacher, aide, and administrative positions.  Even with these reductions and with a general tightening of our belts,  we did not truly balance the budget as we needed to use $1,900,000 of savings (fund balance) to enable us to pay the bills.  With the imminent ending of all of our federal grants by September 2024, the 2024-2025 budget season is shaping up to be as challenging as last year.  It is a difficult time to be asking the taxpayers to approve a capital project.


    The facilities committee continues to consider what capital project option(s) they might bring to the school board.  Several ideas have changed since the public presentation on August 2nd.   It is possible but not definite  that the board will be able to consider capital project options at a late December or January board meeting.


    Many people will have an opinion on what our district needs most and how the money should be spent.  The school board is interested in hearing from anyone with an opinion.  If you have any thoughts  you wish to share you are encouraged to send me an email outlining your positions.  I will make sure the school board hears what you have to say.  If you wish to speak to the board yourself, you may certainly come to one of our board meetings and speak during the public comment portions of the meeting.  Public comments are limited to 3 minutes each.


    The next facilities meeting will be held on December 13th at 7:30 pm in the Audion in the high school.  You are welcome to attend this meeting but there are a few things you will need to keep in mind if you attend.  The facilities committee is a school board committee, as such, it is a private meeting held in public.  This meeting does not have a session for public comments.  Therefore, you will be able to watch the meeting but there will be no opportunity for you to participate in the meeting.  As a regularly held facilities committee meeting, it will begin at 7:30 pm and end at 9:00 pm.  Items other than the capital project will be discussed.  At the end of the meeting the facilities committee may or may not have generated capital project ideas that can then be brought to the school board for consideration.  


    I hope this long explanation answers any questions you may have.  If not, please feel free to contact me.


    Upcoming Holiday Concerts


    It is a busy time for the music department.  We have several winter concerts coming up and we hope that you will be able to attend some.  Here are the dates and times:


    High School Winter Concert - December 14 at 7:00 pm in the HS auditorium

    7th Grade Winter Concert - December 11 at 6 pm in the HS auditorium

    8th Grade Winter Concert - December 11 at 7 pm in the HS auditorium

    6th Grade and School of Rock - January 11 at 6 pm in the HS auditorium

    5th Grade  Winter Concert - December 18 at 6 pm in the HS auditorium

    4th Grade  Winter Concert - December 18 at 7:15 pm in the HS auditorium



    I appreciate you participating in the parent teacher conference survey.  I appreciate you reading about the possible capital project proposals.  We really do value your opinion on both topics and we look forward to hearing from you.


    Best Wishes,


    Stephen Gratto - Superintendent