A May 15 message from Superintendent Brian Monahan on the forthcoming school budget vote and Memorial Day holiday

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Dear Minisink Valley school community:

Thank you again for another busy and successful week of supporting our faculty and staff as they work with your children to ensure continuity of instruction continues.

There’s two things I wanted to make you aware of:

First, during last evening’s Board of Education meeting, we reminded the board of the extremely tight timelines of the forthcoming June 9 vote.  We continue to finalize the 2020-21 proposed budget, and will present it to the board for adoption on May 20.

Please know this proposed budget will maintain the curriculum and all co-curricular/athletic programs that have been in place for this current school year. We are 100 percent tax cap compliant. It will require a simple majority vote.  The Board of Education and district administration believe this is a tremendously positive budget situation compared to last year’s budget season.

Details will be forthcoming next week. For now, the one thing I must stress to you is — particularly because of the mandated absentee voting process required this year — it’s important to vote.

As you may know, the governor’s rescheduling of school board elections and budget votes currently does not provide guidance as of May 15 on what school districts should do if their budgets do not pass. That may change, but we do not expect that at this moment.

But because there is no guidance and the lack of time and tremendous costs associated with a second round of absentee voting requirements, Minisink Valley would not attempt a second vote. This means the Board of Education would adopt a contingent budget.

We know any proposed program eliminations and reductions would be catastrophic to our district. Those proposals are the same as what we presented in the proposed contingent budget for the 2019-20 school year.  Additionally, and this is also important to stress, the dollar amount of those proposed 2020-21 contingent budget cuts are greater than what they would have been last year.

To complicate matters, due to the state’s COVID-19 financial challenges, the governor and his budget director have broad discretion on making additional aid reductions to school districts after a school district’s budget is approved. There is no formula provided to anticipate the magnitude of these potential state aid reductions to Minisink Valley.  If the district’s state aid is reduced, all potential program reductions associated with a contingent budget would be susceptible to elimination, based on any aid reductions.

Again, that’s why it’s important to vote.

I know this is unsettling to everyone and we appreciate your continued support and trust in our work.  We will continue to provide updates, and please watch for full budget information after the May 20 adoption. We will posting a link to that virtual meeting on this website so you can virtually attend.

Secondly, as a reminder, the district will be closed Monday, May 25 in recognition of Memorial Day.  While Memorial Day celebrations will be different than in past years, I hope you will be able to find an opportunity to honor our nation’s veterans, especially those who lost their lives in service to our nation.

Service to our nation is a hallmark of this community and while we will not be able to honor our military personnel as we’ve done in past years, I know our thoughts and prayers remain with those who gave the ultimate sacrifice to ensure our nation’s safety.

Thank you.


Brian Monahan