Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Don't Forget to Advocate for Your Favorite Program!

The first public comment period at tonight's Finance Committee meeting was attended by about fourteen members of the public and six spoke.  No surprises.  Of the six, four advocated for the reinstatement of modified sports.  As I have always said, when you put any sports program on the cut list, the public will come out in support.  Two spoke on behalf of reinstating music positions.  Again, no surprise.  Music is however taking a huge hit with the loss of two full-time music positions.  Potsdam is a very desirable school district for families who value music and the loss of some fine music programs are in the future if Potsdam's Board of Education allows those two positions to go by the wayside.  You might remember that there has been a music position on the cut list for the last three years.  One parent spoke about prioritizing curricular programs and suggested, if I understood her correctly, that,without a strong academic program, it wouldn't matter which sports and extracurriculars were offered.  I agree with her position and think all of the academic programs should be reinstated. 

Many more documents have been produced but I still see about $1.3 million dollars in left over funds from this year's spending plan.  Total reserves and fund balance available for 2012-13 is over $4.6 million dollars, according to a document provided for tonight's meeting.  In addition, we can be pretty certain that there will be some additional state aid.  Why are we still talking about cuts?  The current list of proposed "add backs" seem to be based on the favorite cause of individual Board of Education members (as mentioned at earlier BOE and Finance Committee meetings).  If you have an opinion, don't wait much longer to let administration and Board of Education members know what you think is important for the students in Potsdam.

To review the current documents related to the spending plan, find these documents through the school's website.  Go to the school's home page: www.potsdam.k12.ny.us , click on Board of Education at top of the school's home page.  Then go to "Committees" and find "Agenda" under Finance.  You will have to pick a year, then a date but it should get you to the agenda for the chosen day.  Scroll down the agenda page and you will see the list of documents which are available.

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