Positions Remain Vacant As Clymer Plans For Future

The Clymer Central School Board held its regular meeting Monday. Superintendent Ed Bailey announced that a new finance focus group would be created in the coming weeks to engage the community regarding the district’s financial outlook P-J photo by Jordan W. Patterson

CLYMER — Clymer Superintendent Ed Bailey announced at a board of education meeting Monday he was considering creating a community involved financial focus group.

The group would be open to the public and invite various community leaders to be involved.

“(The group) will be getting influential people involved in the communities so they can understand what were up against,” Bailey said of the district’s financial situation.

Bailey said the goal is to educate the entire community on the financial status following a failed 2018-19 school budget vote in May that proposed a 13 percent tax levy increase exceeding the tax cap that required a super majority approval rating of 60 percent. The first vote saw district residents vote 238 to 237 unable to earn the 60 percent approval. Upon the revote, the board proposed a school budget with a flat tax levy that district residents approved by a vote of 325 to 111 in June.

The total budget remained the same as the previous proposal at $11,561,554, but the new proposed tax levy of $4,283,832 was decreased by $357,192, the initial amount over the state-allowed tax cap of 4 percent. The total budget is up 2.4 percent from the 2017-18 school year.

Bailey previously described the district’s fund balance heading into the current school year as “seriously depleted” and has also predicted the upcoming budget will exceed the state tax cap on numerous occasions. Bailey maintained his belief on Monday that the board will need to again ask district voters for a supermajority approval for the 2019-20 school budget that will incorporate a tax levy increase.

Bailey hopes to have a resolution approved at the next board meeting officially creating the financial focus group. Bailey and the board have previously expressed interest in beginning the budget process much earlier and reaching out to community leaders.

“(The community leaders) will be able to better communicate to everybody about why we need this tax levy increase,” he said.

Bailey also addressed current vacancies within the school. The board approved the hire of Sarah Aikens as an elementary teacher and Elle Reed as a long-term substitute as a living environment teacher.

The school psychologist and physical therapy positions remain vacant. Bailey previously said both vacancies were going to be contracted out to Erie-2 BOCES. On Monday, Bailey told The Post-Journal he did not have any confirmation from BOCES regarding the positions being filled through its services. BOCES is currently attempting to hire its own school psychologist, which is causing the delay in Clymer. Additionally, he was told by an official at BOCES to possibly pursue other options for filling the school psychologist position.

“I am pursuing another avenue,” Bailey said of filling the vacancy.

Bailey remained optimistic that both positions could be filled before school begins next week.