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In These Otsego Hills

May 15, 2014

Thoughts on the upcoming votes

Next week, on Tuesday, May 20 voters in the Cooperstown Central School District will head to the polls to vote on three important issues, the CCS 2014-2015 budget, the election of members of the school board and a resolution for changing the funding of the two pubic libraries located within the school district, namely the Village of Cooperstown Library and the Kinney Memorial Library in Hartwick.

As usual we have taken the time to go through the school budget which has frankly left us pondering several issues. Each year it seems that funding schools in general is becoming more difficult. And Cooperstown would not seem to be an exception. The proposed 2014-2015 budget is $17,755,706, up 2.88 percent from the 2013-2014 budget even though it appears that enrollment is still in decline. The tax levy, the amount that property owners have to pay, is $11,139,043, up 1.71 percent from last year. State aid is up this year 1.16 percent to $5,131,263. But, in order to balance the proposed budget, the amount to be transferred from the school's appropriated fund balance is up 27.82 percent to the almost unbelievable amount of $930,000.

And while it is a good thing that the transfer of such funds is possible for the 2014-2015 budget as it does allow the rather modest increase in the tax levy, there is no guarantee that such funding will be available in the future. Nor would there seem to be any assurances that state aid will increase to any great degree in the future which would make balancing school budgets down the road all that much more difficult.

Added to this is the fact that, from what we see in the budget, there is a decrease in spending for teacher salaries, 2.61 percent less for K to 6 teachers and 3.29 percent for 7 to 12 teachers. We tend to think that such decreases would indicate some sort of a decrease in the size of the faculty, who, we hasten to point out, are the people so directly involved with educating our students. And we do find it interesting $100,717 is being cut from the budget category of "Teaching: regular school" for grades K-12. Yet in the school newsletter we received we found that under the category of "Instruction/Teaching" only $45,271 is being cut. Does this mean that the classroom teachers are taking a bigger hit than other faculty members?

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In These Otsego Hills
  • Bringing up a matter of poetic license Since we seem to spend time each week both reading and writing, we have always found the English language interesting to say the least. It seems that it always follows the rules until it doesn't follow the rules. Thus we found Jim Atwell's column "From word to phrase to sentence," which appeared in last week's paper, to be most delightful. But more importantly, it gives us something about which to write this week.

    July 31, 2014

  • Visitings with the Widge, Mare Bear This past week we found ourselves enjoying a delightful visit from the Ohio Ellsworths. And while our daughter-in-law Annie had to attend a conference at Hamilton College during part of the visit here, we greatly enjoyed our time with them. We were, of course, quite surprised to realize how much the granddaughters, The Widge and Mare Bear, had grown since we last saw them at Christmas. Obviously, their parents had not put bricks on their heads to retard their growth.

    July 24, 2014

  • Thoughts on traffic and roads We recently enjoyed a brief visit from Jon Battle, one of our late husband's college buddies, who always enjoys visiting Cooperstown and passing howdy on the front porch. And while the front porch is not as welcoming as it used to be since there are no chairs on it, we were able to pass howdy from the comfort of our family room. And during the many subjects that we covered in our conversation, the topic of potholes came up.

    July 17, 2014

  • Potholes and oversights bring bumps We have received a number of comments regarding our discussion on potholes in last week’s column. And most of them were in agreement that the potholes are indeed a problem.

    July 10, 2014

  • Potholes need place on village agenda We have long thought that the concepts of perspective and priorities have the ability to present problems for people. As we are inclined to say, getting one's ducks all in a row is often difficult. And as we have learned about issues currently under consideration by the Village of Coopertown it does make us wonder about their ducks.

    July 3, 2014

  • Summer unofficially begins with ice cream Although summer officially arrived this past weekend, we have long thought that the kick off event for the summer season in Cooperstown is the annual Ice Cream Social sponsored by the First Presbyterian Church on Pioneer Street.

    June 26, 2014

  • Splitting logs gives splitting headache We are happy to report that Woodside Hall is continuing with its presentation of programs which are open to the public. This evening at 6:30 p.m., they are hosting Glimmerglass Festival designers Troy Hourie and Erik Teague who will discuss their role in the company's summer production of Strauss' opera, "Ariadne in Naxos: Unplugged."

    June 19, 2014

  • Summer right for driving in the streets We have realized, having consulted our trusty calendar, that next Sunday is Father's Day. And thus this past weekend we were online looking for an appropriate printable Father's Day greeting card which we might send to the wee-we. Since we have been somewhat housebound this year, we have discovered the convenience of printable holiday cards. We used them rather successfully, we thought, when we sent them to the granddaughters for both Valentine's Day and Easter.

    June 12, 2014

  • June musings XXXXXXXX Difficult as it is to believe, it seems we have made it to June which always seems to be a fairly busy month. And this year is no different. In fact when we turned to our calendar to June we were stunned. We always hope to find we are entering a month in which we have little, if anything, planned. But when we turned to June, we quickly realized we were faced immediately with three meeting as well as four follow-up appointments with four different doctors at Bassett. And much as we would have liked to simply move right on to July, we decided that was really not an option. So we are plowing ahead with June.

    June 5, 2014

  • Presidential reading replaces viewing ince we knew we were not in a position to take in any of the festivities surrounding the president's recent visit to the Hall of Fame, we decided we needed to celebrate in another way. And, as luck would have it, we are currently reading the recently released biography, "James Madison: A Life Reconsidered." What better way, we thought, to mark the current president's visit by reading about a former president's life. It seemed perfect. Besides, it gave us a reason to spend the day with our nose in a book.

    May 29, 2014