School board runs down finalized budget

Central Valley. The board also addressed bus safety, school security, and the next football season.

| 10 May 2024 | 12:36

The Monroe-Woodbury Central School District Board of Education presented its proposed budget for the 2024-25 fiscal year to the public at its May 8 meeting ahead of the vote on May 21.

Monroe-Woodbury Central School District Assistant Superintendent for Business Patrick Cahill provided an overview and shared some questions brought forth by the public, prior to the meeting. Among the questions were concerns about student safety, whether from exposure to harmful substances or potential school shootings. Cahill emphasized the district’s regular drills as well as community meetings to keep families informed about internet safety, social media use, and other issues impacting students. He also provided building security updates.

Cahill addressed the question of the district’s investment in teaching such life skills as cooking and financial literacy. He pointed to the budget’s inclusion of $1.5 million for career and technical education programs. According to Cahill, this is an increased investment in this type of programming and the district is offering more slots to students.

Responding to questions about the purchasing of new buses, Cahill explained the need to replace older vehicles and the importance of providing safe transportation.

“We need safe and reliable buses to bring students to school. If students can’t get to school, they can’t learn,” said Cahill. He added that it is not an either-or situation, noting that buses are in a different budgetary category as educational programming.

During the public hearing, only Darrell McElroy, president of the Monroe-Woodbury Teacher’s Association, addressed the board.

Speaking on behalf of the association, McElroy expressed his support for the proposed budget.

“I believe the budget presented by the Superintendent is not only fiscally responsible but also maintains current program and staffing so that students will continue to get many of the supports they need to be successful.”

McElroy also thanked Superintendent Elsie Rodriguez for her willingness to work with various members of the community and wished her well in her retirement.

McElroy said that the district could be doing more for the students and hopes the MWTA can dialogue with the board of education. He also asked for the support of the community at large in understanding what teachers need, offered some thoughts on investment requests such as more full-time school psychologists and reading programs, and mitigating high temperatures in the classroom during warmer months.

During the meeting, MW Central School District Athletic Director Howard Harrison provided an update on the upcoming football season. He provided the schedule for the varsity football home games and gave some information on the new ticketing process, with the goal of making it more efficient.

“I want to say as your athletic director, thank you for the support you provided to our athletic department and for our kids,” said Harrison.