New Paltz school district faces tough budget decisions

Above: New Paltz Central School District offices in New Paltz. Photo by Robin Weinstein for The New Paltz Oracle.

At an emergency meeting last Tuesday, the New Paltz Central School District's board of education finalized a $50.12 million budget to be voted on June 19. The most recent budget proposal would cut the district's pre-kindergarten program -- not, as previously proposed, junior varsity sports -- for the upcoming school year.

In May, the New Paltz voters rejected a $50.31 million budget that had been put forward by the board of education. In its initial proposal to trim the budget, the board of education proposed doing away with JV sports. However, an emergency meeting was held on June 5 in which the board voted to delete the pre-kindergarten as a way to keep not only the sports program, but an elementary library media specialist position, raising the proposed budget to $50.12 million and a 3.4 percent tax levy.

New Paltz Central School District Superintendent Maria Rice explained the decision to the New Paltz Times:

“We reinstated JV sports because it spoke to the largest number of students in regard to after-school activities, of which there are hundreds of children involved. I’m saddened in one sense about the elimination of the Pre-K program, but it provides greater opportunities for others.”

Additional school monitors, a behavioral intervention specialist, and the All County Band and All County Chours at both the high school and middle school levels would also be among the cuts, according to The Poughkeepsie Journal.

Last night, a public hearing was held at 6 p.m. at New Paltz High School for voters to weigh in on the school budget. As it stands now, the $50.12 million budget will raise the tax levy by 3.4 percent, and the budget only needs 50 percent voter approval to pass. If this plan is turned down by voters, the district will have to freeze its tax levy and enact a $48.7 million budget.

New Paltz will vote on their school's budget on June 19.