Minutes – Special Meeting – Board of Education – New Paltz Central High School – April 14, 2010 – 7:00 PM

CALL MEETING TO ORDER                                                                                                                                 CALL TO ORDER
Meeting was called to order at 6:39 PM by David Dukler, Board President.

BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT:                                                                                                                              QUORUM CHECK
David Dukler
Kathleen Tobin Flusser (arrived at 6:44 PM)
Donald Kerr
Patrick Rausch
Edgar Rodriguez


Steven Greenfield
Daniel Torres (Executive Session only)                                                          

ALSO PRESENT:                 Maria Rice, Superintendent of Schools

The roll was called as reflected above.

EXECUTIVE SESSION                                                                                                                                            

Motion made by Donald Kerr and seconded by David Dukler that the Board of                                                       
Education move into Executive Session at 6:39 PM for the purpose discussing contract
negotiations and legal advice from the district’s attorney regarding pending litigation.

Motion carried 4 - 0 with 7 members voting.

Out of Executive Session - Motion made by Patrick Rausch and seconded by
Kathleen Tobin Flusser that the Board return to Public Session at 6:58 PM.

Motion carried 5 - 0 with 5 members voting.

CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                                                     CALL TO ORDER
The Public Meeting was called to order at 7:05 PM by David Dukler, Board President.

BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT:                                                                                                                             QUORUM CHECK
David Dukler
Kathleen Tobin Flusser
Donald Kerr
Patrick Rausch
Edgar Rodriguez
Daniel Torres

EXCUSED:                                            Steven Greenfield

ALSO PRESENT:                 Maria Rice, Superintendent of Schools
Debora Banner, Assistant Superintendent
Richard Linden, Assistant Superintendent for Business
Connie Hayes, Assistant Superintendent for Pupil Personnel Services
Barbara Clinton, Principal, New Paltz Central High School
Michelle Martoni, Principal, Lenape Elementary School
Debra Hogencamp, Principal, Duzine Elementary School
Anthony Tantillo, Assistant Principal, Middle School
Antonia Woody, Athletic Director
Bill Richers, Director of Information & Communications Technology
Maureen Ryan, Supervisor of Transportation
Leigh Benton, Assistant to Supervisor of Transportation
Mike Robinson, Director of Food Services
Stephen Callahan, Director of Facilities & Operations
Beverly Sickler, District Clerk
Members of the Public and Press

ROLL CALL                                                                                                                                                                        ROLL CALL
The roll was called as reflected above.


President Dukler explained the purpose of the meeting, stating that presentations will be made by Superintendent Rice and staff members.  Board discussion will then take place after which the public will be provided the opportunity to make comment and ask questions.


  1. PRESENTATION OF BUDGET SCENARIOS – Superintendent Maria C. Rice and Assistant Superintendent Richard Linden

Superintendent Rice introduced Assistant Superintendent Richard Linden who provided a PowerPoint presentation outlining what a 2.5%, 2.0% and 0% tax levy increase would look like. 


  1. BUDGET DISCUSSION – Members engaged in a time of questions and answers with administrators commenting on questions pertaining to their particular area of responsibility. 


Mr. Dukler asked that the public keep their comments and questions to two minutes.

Rachel Busher, NPUT President – Advocates 3.5% budget
Iva Profaci, New Paltz – Support 3.5% budget
Sylvia Lagodka, High School Student - Support 3.5% budget
Norman Turner, New Paltz – Supports 3.5% budget & focus on Albany
Ruth Quinn, New Paltz – Opposed to class size increase
Les Castalonas, New Paltz – Supports small classes for special needs children & AP
Gregory Bynum, New Paltz – Supports 3.5% and small class sizes
Dave Linton, New Paltz – Supports 3.5%
Jesslyn , Student – Supports Student Assistant Counselor
Anthony Abbey, New Paltz – Cut Administration, not teachers
Greg Cannon, New Paltz – Favors 3.5% budget – Don’t’ cut teachers
Erick Schwartz, Esopus – Administration Downsizing & Cost of Postage
Matthew Malley, New Paltz – Opposed to 0%, Supports 3.5%
Betty Martone, Gardiner – Thanks to Board for hard work
Bob Rich, Gardiner – Supports 3.5% budget
Laura Trifilo, Duz/Len PTA – Supports 3/5% budget
Jeanine Fantini, New Paltz – Supports 3.5% budget
Joe Storch, New Paltz – Voice of people on fixed income, Supports 0%
Toni Hokanson, New Paltz – Opposed to 0% budget, Supports Student Assistance Counselor, Supports 3.5% budget
Michael Lewis, New Paltz – Thank you, Give voters choice
Elise Gold, Gardiner – Thank you, Support 3.5% budget
Lionel Hyman, New Paltz – Cut waste and more efficiency
Barbara Carroll, Esopus – Education is priority, teachers made politically bad decision, offer 3.5% to public
Julie Feinman, Gardiner – Supports 3.5%
Ron Simon, New Paltz – Supports 3.5% budget
Claudia Battaglia, New Paltz – Supports 3.5% budget
Melinda Lamarch, Gardiner – Supports 3.4% budget
Albert Cook, Esopus – Supports Student Assistant Counselor position
Elisabeth , Gardiner – Supports 3.5% budget
Pam Peace, New Paltz – Opposes 0% increase, supports 3.5% budget
Rebecca Burdette, K Teacher – Class size, supports 3.5% budget
Fawn Tantillo, New Paltz – Not making cuts in the right places
Bob Gabrielli, New Paltz – Pare back without losing teachers or programs
Ed Mannix, New Paltz – Supports 3.5% budget
John Young, Plattekill – Cap or freeze salaries, cut waste

President Dukler suggested that the members decide how to direct the superintendent about where the board should go with the information provided tonight.  Vice President Kerr encouraged people to consider running for a position on the board in order to impact what happens in this district. Mr. Kerr indicated that he is rethinking his position about presenting a 3.5% tax levy increase and is asking what bad can happen if this type of budget is presented.  Members took turns sharing their positions at this point in the process. Kathleen Tobin Flusser advocated a 3% tax levy increase. Dan Torres agreed with Ms. Tobin Flusser.  Patrick Rausch stated that the middle school vote invigorated a lot of tax payers.  This was good but there will be a hangover effect.  He stated that most people want a 0% tax levy increase.  He asked, “Why not present a 3.5% tax levy increase?”  If it goes down the taxpayers may think that this precedent is something that will repeat itself and they will vote down the first budget proposed with the expectation that a more favorable budget will follow.  We should be discussing a 2% tax levy increase given the promises that were made during the Middle School Project Vote.  Mr. Rausch is not with the 3.5%.  There is no compelling argument that administration cannot cut more.  Mr. Rausch can agree to a 2.5% tax levy increase.  Edgar Rodriguez stated that the current state of affairs cannot be sustained.  Cuts need to take place.  Concern is down the road.  The board needs to carefully look at budget.  Scare tactics have been used but there is a constituency in the community that will be hurt by increased taxes.  Mr. Rodriguez will need to look carefully at the budget.  Mr. Rausch stated that he must think about the people in the community who are really hurting and are not willing to come out to a public meeting.  President Dukler concurred that we need to look down the road.  This economic crisis will pass but district goals a number of years ago addressed the disenfranchised.  Every time we cut the quality of educational program we impact the disenfranchised.  Mr. Dukler’s personal commitment is to keep a flourishing educational program in New Paltz. He would like to see a 3.5% tax levy increase brought back. Neighbors are suffering and cannot support a tax increase.  Mr. Dukler called for compassion and then living with the outcome.

Patrick Rausch suggested that plan B be decided tonight so that if the first budget is voted down the tax payers know what will happen. The public should know up front.  The best call should be made.  Mr. Kerr reminded that the superintendent needs the board’s direction. Mr. Kerr suggested to start with 2.5% tax levy increase and keep looking at administration cuts.  Mr. Rodriguez commented on students of color being impacted therefore the process should begin to restructure the educational process.  We need to be brave, have courage, have a vision – start the process with staff, teachers, to recreate schools.  Children of color do not need to be lost. He asked, “What criteria are being used to make cuts?”  He agreed we need to have a game plan.  Start with premise that we need a structural change. Mr. Rodriguez will come back with a more clear decision by the next meeting. Ms. Tobin Flusser brought up the matter of use of reserves.  She cannot commit to what will be done until after the first vote. 

Superintendent Rice suggested that the district can come up with under a 3% tax levy increase if board directs her to use reserve funds. She asked what deal breakers should be included in such a budget.

Discussion took place about adding back four of the cut items to arrive at a 2.95% tax levy increase.  This places the increase between the 2.5% and 3%.  Mr. Kerr is open to being convinced that we cannot cut anything more from administration.  He would like to continue that discussion. Mr. Rausch cannot sell a 3% tax levy increase.  He is concerned about programs that the district is not sure of retaining yet the district is still holding that money. Mrs. Rice explained that in looking at a two year budget those kinds of things were considered for a second year reduction after all the data is in.

President Dukler asked the members if in creating another proposed budget that Superintendent should use more reserve funds.  All members said that they are comfortable with the present level and no additional reserve funds should be used.

Superintendent Rice will come back to the board next week with a revised budget with a tax levy increase between 2.5% and 3%. 


 Motion made by Donald Kerr and seconded by Daniel Torres that the meeting be adjourned at 10:30 PM.

Motion carried 6 – 0 with 6 members voting.

Respectfully submitted,

Beverly J. Sickler
District Clerk