Concerned Citizens read with interest the article in today's Observer Dispatch regarding the projected 2.5% school tax increase; New Hartford schools chief proposes 2.5% tax hike. Actually, we were rather surprised to find out that the budget was so close to being ready.
After reading the March 13, 2010 Observer Dispatch article, N. Hartford school board conducts budget workshop, we contacted the school and scheduled a March 22, 2010, meeting with Mary Mandel, Assistant Superintendent for Business at New Hartford Central School. We were hoping to get more detailed information to taxpayers regarding the proposed 2010-2011 budget prior to the May budget hearing [hopefully, more detailed than will probably be handed out at the budget hearing].
At the Monday, March 22, 2010 meeting with Mary Mandel, which was actually 5 days prior to yesterday's budget workshop [or was it a "special" school board meeting?], we were told that the school hadn't even looked at the revenue side of the budget yet. We asked Ms. Mary when she thought we might be given some kind of information like...are any "rainy day" funds being used? Mary told us that the budget information, including the revenue information, would probably be on the agenda for the next board meeting on April 6, 2010, but she didn't anticipate the information being available prior to that. Really?
We have to wonder why "in the spirit of cooperation" [Mr. Nole's favorite phrase when speaking with Concerned Citizens] we weren't told about the budget workshop being held on March 27, 2010...Mary, you don't really think we believe that you didn't know on Monday that a budget workshop was being held on Saturday, do you? When did you get all the revenue information organized so that the "chief" could come up with his projection?
Maybe we should have checked the NHSCD website...certainly that would have given us a clue that a budget workshop was scheduled for March 27, 2010. Let's see where would we look?
We could have looked at the school calendar for today, accessible on the NHCSD website - March 27, 2010...oops, that says "There are no events on 3/27/2010".Hmm...maybe this workshop wasn't considered an event.
Perhaps, we should have looked at the page with the budget calendar...oops, that calendar is for the 2008-09 budget year. That wouldn't have helped let us know about the 2010-2011 budget calendar.
Wow...this is getting frustrating...it's almost like they don't want anyone to know what is going on! Well, if all else fails...go HOME!
Hmm...there is a link to some budget information on the NHCSD HOME page...nothing about any budget workshop though and certainly nothing that will give anyone insight as to what is really going on with the budget process.
Oh yes, we do see a link to get some information about the upcoming election for a school board member to replace Mr. Harris. We have to laugh though, you have to access this page on their website [we assume you would be using an electronic medium to do that, right?] and yet the letter they post says "If you would like an electronic copy of the petition, please call the superintendent’s office at 624-1218."
This is probably a crazy question, but...why not just put a copy of the petition on the school website, for crying out loud? [They actually told us last year because they need to keep track of who is thinking about running for the seat...just in case...wouldn't want any surprises, would we?]
At any rate, there is no need to contact them; we already did that for you!
"In the spirit of cooperation", we are making an electronic copy available for anyone who is interested in running for the open board seat...just print all three pages, read all the rules, collect the required signatures and make sure you submit your paperwork to the Board Clerk, Aurelia R. Greico, no later than 5:00 p.m. on Monday April 19, 2010.
Now where were we? Oh yes...Mary, Mary...
...to be continued!