School board members uncovering expenses to trim

The district's present $8,000 in annual off-site staff professional development costs, might be reduced, Marcella said.

A $10,000 contract with the Hudson Headwaters Health Network to provide an unspecified number of student physical exams might be renegotiated lower, as HHHN conducts an average of 350 student physicals annually, she said.

About $2,500 per year could be saved by eliminating pay phones at the schools - but state education policy specifies that the district needs to provide telephone service for the public, she said.

An annual payment of $5,000 to Richards Library, said to underwrite visits by kindergartners, is also under scrutiny, she said.

Also, the cable bill at the district bus garage could be reduced by nearly $1,000 - or over half - if one television in the employee's break room is disconnected, she said. The proposed change would retain the connection to the bus garage office, where the transportation supervisor monitors weather conditions on television and coordinates bus routes on the Internet, Polunci said.

Marcella said the board's budget committee had expressed its intent to cut unnecessary costs while maintaining core academics.

Union President Marc Mularz said he was pleased with the spirit of cooperation between the board and the way they were approaching budget concerns.

Mularz aired a complaint, however, that a school board member had posted negative comments on an Internet media blog which he said undermined teachers' morale.

The subject of reopening union negotiations, which had been listed on an earlier draft of the agenda for Monday's meeting, was not discussed Monday in executive session.

Appointed to serve on the Citizen's Advisory Committee for the 2009-10 budget process were Sheila Mender, Janice Merrithew, Elaine Cowin, Lee Von Hatten, Terri McGuire - all of Warrensburg - and Beth Callahan of Diamond Point.

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