Clymer Prepares For Budget Revote

CLYMER – The Clymer Central School District held a hearing for its school budget revote.

Superintendent Ed Bailey said the second hearing held Monday saw a similar turnout as the first with more people taking the opportunity to ask questions regarding the budget. Bailey remained optimistic following the hearing, as he was before the original vote.

“It went well,” Bailey told The Post-Journal.

Voters recently rejected a 13% tax levy increase. The school board is now proposing a budget 8.8% above the state-allowed tax cap. The second proposal will still need a supermajority approval of 60%.

“It gives an opportunity to continue to provide the educational programming that they honestly deserve,” Bailey said if the budget is passed.

If the revote of the $11,495,924 proposed 2019-20 school budget is defeated again, the district will be forced to make up more than $600,000 to balance the budget without being able to increase the tax levy. The gap will likely be accounted for by a combination of fund balance appropriations and program cuts, Bailey previously said. Potential budget cuts including eliminating some or all interscholastic sports; eliminating three instructional positions including an art; agriculture and business teacher; eliminating two instructional support positions; restricting field trips among all grade levels; developing a facility fee schedule for non-district use; and reducing half of a maintenance position.

“I certainly hope we don’t end up there,” Bailey said.

Bailey said many of those who spoke had questions or prepared statements in support of the proposed budget.

At the hearing, Connor Beal, a Clymer junior, addressed those in attendance. Beal is the Student Council president, an athlete, a band member, an active member of school clubs and on his way to earning an advanced regents diploma.

“I’m telling you this because all of these things are on a list of possible cuts that will affect myself and my schoolmates and our educational future if they are taken away from us,” he said.

Another individual who spoke Monday was Leanna Willink, a self-described concerned Clymer parent, who defended the school board and the superintendent against “blanket statements.” She also addressed the potential damage a divided community could have on the school and asked that the community set aside its differences.

“A community divided against itself won’t stand,” she said. “We get one chance in this life to leave a legacy to the next generation. What do you want to be remembered and known for?”

The budget revote will be held Tuesday, June 18, in the lobby of the Student Performance Center from noon-8 p.m.

“One thing I do know, is that everybody has had opportunities to be well informed on the budget and why we’re asking for this tax levy increase,” Bailey said.

In other news, the budget revote ballot will also include four additional non-binding questions asking how community members want the district to move forward. Those non-binding questions include merging school districts, tuitioning students to another school, annexation and utilizing shared services.

“That’s what this ballot is about, trying to find out where their support lies within these options,” Bailey said.