Local News

March 20, 2014

P'burgh City School encourages public input

PLATTSBURGH — Plattsburgh City School Board members are encouraging the public’s input in budgetary decisions. 

Should the board be faced with having to decide whether to exceed its .16 percent tax-levy limit or cut educational programs, board member Fred Wachtmeister said at a recent meeting, he would like to hear from community members and faculty about what they might wish to preserve or eliminate. 

“All of that,” he said, “we could factor into our decision making. And I would hope that the community and staff and parents would come in and express that opinion to us because we are obviously in need of that kind of communication with the community,” he said. 

During the meeting’s first public-comment period, Plattsburgh resident Ken Baker expressed to the board his dissatisfaction with taxpayers’ involvement in, as well as the media’s coverage of, the annual School Board elections, which are held along with the May budget vote. 

“The press has a responsibility to treat this School Board election with the same intensity and importance as a general election, if for no other reason than there is more money at stake,” he said. “The reality is, when the School Board is elected, the election is (a) low-voter-turnout, low-interest affair in which the vast majority of taxpayers play no role.”

Later in the session, board member Clayton Morris also noted the importance of public participation in School District matters. 

“Mr. Baker’s very right in saying that we do not participate very well here in the city, and we need more people here to voice their opinions,” he said. 

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The Plattsburgh City School Board will meet at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Duken School Building at 49 Broad St.

Meetings are open to the public.

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