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Our District
Superintendent
Barker Central School District
Barker, NY 14012

Klatt Portrait

Dear Residents,

This edition of The Banner includes information about the 2017-2018 school budget and capital improvement projects that will address important upgrades to the facility. It also serves to update you on a number of topics including candidates seeking re-election to the Board of Education, a new shared service beginning in July, and a special note of thanks to the devoted service of district employees who have retired during the school year or will be retiring on June 30, 2017.

On May 16, 2017 eligible District residents will have the option to vote on the proposed expenditure budget as Proposition #1.

Proposition #1: The school board is presenting an expenditure budget of $17,098,307 which represents a 5.00% decrease in spending compared to 2016–2017. This is the fifth consecutive year in which the expenditure budget has been decreased to reflect the declining enrollment and funding.

The budget proposes a 2.0% increase to the tax levy which is well below the allowable tax cap. Since its enactment in 2013, the District has maintained tax levy increases below the NYS tax cap. Even with significant spending reductions, the proposed levy increase will help to slow the rate of withdrawal from the reserve accounts. The use of reserve accounts is necessary to maintain tax levy increases below the cap and to balance the budget.

As part of the proposed 2017–2018 budget, the District is also planning a Capital Outlay project. New York State permits districts to pursue small capital improvement projects (not to exceed $100,000 per year).  These projects are more simplified than the typical Capital Improvement Projects in that they receive voter approval via the general fund budget and have a streamlined New York State Education Department (NYSED) approval process. In addition, the State will reimburse the District at the building aid rate in the following year. The current proposal is to use the approved funds to pay for upgrades to the Herbert F. Ludwig Auditorium such as new seating and lighting. Capital Outlay projects are a useful way to address smaller scale improvements. 

In May 2016, District residents approved the release of $1.9M from the capital reserve fund for large-scale facility improvements. Following bid advertisements and awarding of contracts, the State Education Department has issued building permits for new roof installation, replacement of selected exterior doors and hardware, replacement of physical education lockers in the high school, and concrete work at the elementary, middle and high school entrances. The majority of construction will take place during the summer of 2017.

The District continues to seek out cost sharing and consolidation opportunities in order to offset increasing costs. The shared superintendent model will continue for a fifth year and a new endeavor involves a shared cafeteria manager. Mrs. Julie Fuerch, will begin her role as shared cafeteria manager serving the Barker and Roy-Hart school districts on July 1, 2017. In addition to the merged football and wrestling programs, Mr. Matthew Sweeney will continue to serve as the Agriculture Education teacher for each district.

One shared service that will be discontinued is the Director of Technology. The Smart Schools funding has allowed the District to employ additional laptops, Chromebooks, and interactive (Clear Touch) panels. To support the effective integration of these tools, it will be necessary that Mr. James Luckman, currently serving as the shared Director of Technology, return to his full-time status at Barker with the 2017–2018 school year.

Two candidates are seeking re-election on the school board of education. Incumbents John Sweeney will seek his third term and Louis Mead will seek his fifth term. Candidate bios can be found on page 5.

Best wishes in retirement go to Mary Grabowski (23 years), Ginny Hughes (30 years), Peggy Heiligenthaler (32 years), Joyce Vail (31 years) and Lynn Bigford (20 years). See page 4 to read more about their service and life after retirement from the District.

Thank you for your continued support of the Barker Central School District, and as always, should you have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at 716-795-3832.

Sincerely,

Dr. Roger J. Klatt

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