RCS Board finalizes new budget

By Pauline Liu
The Roxbury Central School Board of Education unanimously passed a $9.6 million budget for 2012-2013 school year at its meeting on Wednesday.

The budget, with a tax levy increase of $81,906 or 1.38 percent, comes in just below the state mandated two percent property tax cap.  To the school’s administrators and the school board, it was latest in series of favorable developments for RCS, which included two awards and a $250,000 check to build a tech center.

Below the cap
Roxbury District Superintendent Tom O’Brien said there will be no lay-offs, class consolidations or cuts to programs. The school has a steady enrollment of 360 students and 40 certified teachers. Using the equalization rate and the total tax roll set in August, it was determined that the school district tax levy cap is 1.39 percent.

“We’ve been functioning below two percent, now going on our fourth year,” said O’Brien. The district’s voters will be asked to go to the polls to approve the budget on Tuesday, May.15.
Among the sources of savings, there’s been a 21.4 percent reduction in anticipated legal expenses, a 14.7 percent reduction in audit services regulations, and a 3.6 percent decrease in special education costs with students being taught in-house. RCS received $23,000 in additional state aid after the state’s 2012 budget was passed in March. “Of course, we were happy to see that money, but we were hoping to see significantly more,” said O’Brien.  Board president Edward Fersch pointed out the some of the money will be spent on different projects, including a small paving project, which will likely take place over the summer.

RCS Principal Eric Windover has been honored as the K-12 Principal of the Year by the School Administrators Association of New York State (SAANYS). He will receive the award in Latham on May 4.

“Very humbling”
“The award is very humbling,” he said. “It is great recognition of all of the hard work of the faculty and staff. Without a dedicated faculty and staff and ONC BOCES personnel, these things are not obtainable.”

Windover has worked in education for 10 years and he has spent the past four years as the principal of RCS.  He is known for his efforts in making learning fun. He marked the finale of the school’s reading program in March, entitled “Reading Rodeo,” by riding a mechanical bull. He was nominated for the award by Maria Johnson, the school’s library media specialist. SAANYS represents nearly 7,200 school administrators, supervisors and coordinators.
RCS was also one of 112 school districts in the state to receive the “2012 School Safety Excellence Award” from the Utica National Insurance Group. The school received the highest safety honor, which was “Titanium with Honors” along with $500. O’Brien thanked the bus drivers, custodial staff, and BOCES Safety Risk Officer Pam Zoll, who works closely with RCS and nominated the school for the award.

GRLIC growing
In other news, the Greater Roxbury Learning Initiative Corporation (GRLIC) formally donated $250,000, which will be used to transform a portion of the RCS basement into The Numann Media and Technology Center. The money was given GRLIC by RCS graduate, Guy Numann, Class of 1949.
The gift will be used to furnish and equip the center with a radio and television center, laptops and restrooms. The center will be staffed with GRLIC volunteers. There will be opportunities to hold classes at the center during school hours and the facility is to remain open after school hours to serve the community.

“I think we all have a soft spot for Guy Numann, because this is what he thinks he needs to do to invest in the children of Roxbury,” said Fersch.  According to O’Brien, construction on the new facility will likely begin in July.