RANDOLPH - The Randolph Central School Board of Education is pleased to inform the district's taxpayers that for the sixth year in a row they have no proposed increase to the tax levy.
At a recent public budget hearing in the high school auditorium, Superintendent Kimberly Moritz gave a three-part budget presentation explaining the different categories in what the school board is spending and the expenses.
David Chambers, school business executive, said the voters should be quite pleased. As he was recently going over some statistics, he ran a report revealing that out of the last five years and out of all the school districts in Cattaraugus and Chautauqua counties, Randolph's taxes have gone down more than any other school district. Within the two counties, there are only three districts where taxes have actually gone down in the last five years.
According to Chambers, Randolph's tax reduction is the most significant. He said the school's tax levy is down $161,000 over the last five years. He said Randolph's tax levy, back in 2008-09, was $4.9 million and, this year, it's down to $4.7 million.
"It's just good fiscal management," Chambers said. "Out of the last six years, we've had four years at zero percent tax increases and two years of decreases that make up that $161,000, so that makes six years in a row with no tax increase."
"Otherwise, our taxes are going to remain the same," he said. "The budget is up because of expenses that we have no control over, which is retirement and BOCES bills."
Two vacancies are to be filled on the board of education as the result of expiring terms of Louise Boutwell and Tonia Hall. Three candidates are running for the two seats: Marshall Johnson, Thomas Deacon and Boutwell.
Johnson, of Larkin Street, is currently employed with Z&M Ag and Turf where he has been an outside sales representative for the past nine years. He earned his high school diploma at Randolph Central School and is an ICC-certified residential and commercial building inspector.
Johnson and his wife, Juana, of 17 years, have six children: Maria, Veronica, Heather, Kayla, Marshall and Kenny; and three grandchildren, Brooke, Alexa and David.
In his candidate statement, Johnson said, "As a 1994 graduate of Randolph Central School, I am proud to be a part of our wonderful community. Since my family and I relocated back to Randolph in 2004, we have all been very active in the community. Since our return, I have been president of Randolph Midget Football for several years, president of Randolph Sports Boosters and past president of Randolph Little League, as well as a member of the Randolph Fire Company. With the evolving education system our teachers and children face, I know how important it is to be at the front lines of this process. There is nothing more important to our society than to prepare our youth for a challenging future with a strong education."
"My promise to you, as members of our community and parents of our children, is to be a voice of reason for the people," Johnson continued. "Our children and their education must come first. The quality of their futures depends on it. Education is my priority."
Deacon, of Flood Road, has been employed as a journeyman ironworker at Local 3 Pittsburgh, since 1998. He is single.
He belongs to several nonprofit organizations: The American Chestnut Foundation New York Chapter, Allegheny Foothills Chapter of the New York Forest Owners Association, New York Bluebird Society and a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association.
A high school graduate of Orchard Park Central School, Deacon is also a BOCES graduate from Erie and Cattaraugus counties No. 2 Wallace D. Ormsby Vocational Technical Center where he majored in trade electricity. He served a four-year apprenticeship training to become a journeyman ironworker.
Deacon said, in his candidate statement, "I would like to see our academic ranking, as compared with other school districts, improve. I believe we can achieve this through an increased effort with our community, teachers, board members and parents."
Boutwell, of Crowley Street, has served on Randolph's Board of Education for 33 years. She graduated from Middlebury College, Vt., where she earned her bachelor's degree, and earned her master's degree in counseling at The University of Vermont. Her postgraduate studies were done at Penn State University.
She was employed in the guidance department at Vergennes Union High School, Vt., for four years, serving grades 7-12. From 1974 to the present, Boutwell has been with the Bradford Area School District, Bradford, Pa. She started at the school's junior high facility, grades 7-9, and then Fretz Jr. High School for grades 6-8. Since 1988, she has been at the Bradford Area High School, serving grades 9-12.
Boutwell's husband, "Reg," who is retired and also a master gardener, helps out at Roberts Nursery in the town of Poland. The couple have a daughter, Betsy Vinton, who lives in Rochester with her husband and three daughters who are in grades 6, 8 and 10.
In her candidate statement, Boutwell said, "Since I was 6 years old, I have been involved in formal education - first as an elementary and secondary student, then a college student, and finally, as an educator and school board member. I should also add the important link in all of this - as a parent - because this is where one's informal education, the roots of one's work ethic, and personal attributes begin.
"Through the effects of globalization, the Internet and information technology, coupled with changes in our culture and family structure, teachers and administrators are faced with new challenges as they prepare students to be both career and college ready. Then add the economic uncertainties that our businesses, government officials at all levels and family units face in their recovery from the recent recession. School board members have to be fiscally prudent as they provide both the continual professional development and the tools that our teachers and administrators need to meet these challenges.
"We all need to reflect to improve and to hold ourselves accountable. Educators need to reflect on what went well in the classroom and how to improve the learning environment. As a board member, I want to make sure that I am both educationally accountable to meet the needs of our students and fiscally accountable to the taxpayers of Randolph."
Randolph Central School's annual budget vote and Board of Education election will be held Tuesday from 2-8 p.m. in the high school cafeteria.
More detailed information about the budget and proposition is available at the high school office, elementary school office, Randolph Public Free Library, on the school district website at randolphcsd.org, or by calling the high school at 358-7005 to have a copy mailed.