BOE adopts 2016-17 budget

On Tuesday, April 19, the Liberty Board of Education adopted a
$44,414,849 budget for 2016-17 that yields a -2.61 percent tax
levy increase.

From January through early April, the board reviewed and
fine-tuned the draft budget so that it would be reflective of its
annual goals related to education and resident feedback regarding
educational priorities and school taxes.

Administrators were able to reduce the tax levy – or the amount
of revenue raised through property taxes – by keeping the budget
increase to a minimum, several reductions (for example, retirement
system costs) and best utilizing an increase in state aid.

The budget proposal being presented to the community supports
the Liberty Board of Education’s long term goals to significantly
improve academic achievement by providing additional social and
emotional supports for students, increasing the use of technology
across the district, expanding enrichment opportunities and
increasing support for English Language Learners, and the growing
middle school and special needs populations.

Voters will also select from eight candidates to fill three
open seats on the Liberty Board of Education. The candidates,
listed in ballot order, are:

•  Andrew Kavleski
•  Rachel A. Reeves-Graves
•  Philip Olsen
•  Matthew DeWitt
•  Anthony Covington
•  Timothy P. Burke, Esq.
•  Cindy Prince
•  John L. Nichols

A public hearing on the budget is scheduled for May 3, and
district residents will vote on the budget May 17.

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District needs input for new wesbite

The Liberty Central School District wants to know what you find
useful on its existing website and what you think could be improved.

District officials are seeking input on Liberty’s existing website
with the intention of redesigning it.

The website serves as the center of information about the school
district and is the district’s primary resource for updating
parents, students, staff and community members about what is going
on across our district and within our schools.

The district would like to make sure its website evolves with
technology and the changes in how the general public consumes
information. Feedback from those who seek information via the
website is critical in guiding the process going forward.

To help guide the redesign process, please complete a
short eight-question survey which will be available online through
May 13. The district will be reviewing the feedback as part of its
planning process. Thank you in advance for your time and feedback.

Click here to access the survey.

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Art Walk and Art Shows highlight LSCD programs

In its first ever full district opening, all three Liberty schools
will join in one event with the Elementary and Middle School Art
show hosted by the Liberty Library at 189 North Main Street and the
annual Liberty High School show hosted by the Liberty Museum at 46
South Main Street.

The school district’s campaign “Taking Art to the Streets” will be
highlighted by National Art Honor Students escorting groups to
each exhibit on Main Street and will include local artists and the
opening of the Left Bank Gallery to make the night an arts event
for all!

Beginning at 5 p.m., students from Liberty’s National Art
Honor Society will escort groups in an Art Walk along Main Street,
where many exhibits will be on display.

A fun tradition, the Art Walk process is simple — proceed at your
own pace, stop at artwork that captures your fancy, stroll around
main street that is peppered with photographs, paintings,
sculptures and more.

Art Walk participants will be given a passport. As the walk
begins, participants will be encouraged to fill out their
passports in order to enter a raffle.

Be prepared to be surprised by the wide array of artistic styles
that are represented by Liberty students, from traditional to
contemporary, from still life to impressionism and more.

Award winning cake artist Kim Simons and sculptor and metalworking
phenom Zac Shaverick will be in front of their work at the Liberty
Public Library, 189 North Main Street and outside Floyd & Bobo’s
bakery, respectively. The Ron Lusker gallery will be open at The Left Bank, 59 North Main Street.

Additionally, the LHS Art Department will unveil its the new
banners that will decorate both sides of Main Street. The banners
will feature student artwork and have been made possible through a
grant that the department received in April from Sullivan
Renaissance.

Event Details:

From 5-6:30 p.m., National Art Honor Society students will guide
small groups through Liberty, starting from the Liberty Museum and
stopping at each Art Walk attraction point.

At 6:45 p.m., certificates of Appreciation will be given to
businesses participating in the Art Walk at the Liberty Museum and
Art Center, 46 South Main Street.

At 7 p.m., the Art Department will unveil its new banners which
will decorate both sides of Main Street. There will be an auction
of the full size banners.

At 7:30 p.m., the school’s art department will present student
awards, followed by the National Art Honor Society Induction at 8
p.m.

Liberty artists + Liberty’s emerging artists = one exciting night!

All events are free and refreshments will be served. Live music
will be provided by Liberty music students.

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Liberty Art Shows open May 20

In its first ever full district opening, all three Liberty schools will join in one event with the Elementary and Middle School Art show hosted by the Liberty Library at 189 North Main Street and the annual Liberty High School show hosted by the Liberty Museum at 46 South Main Street.

The school district’s campaign “Taking Art to the Streets” will be highlighted by National Art Honor Students escorting groups to each exhibit on Main Street and will include local artists and the opening of the Left Bank Gallery to make the night an arts event for all!

Beginning at 5 p.m., students from Liberty’s National Art Honor Society will escort groups in an Art Walk along Main Street, where many exhibits will be on display.

A fun tradition, the Art Walk process is simple — proceed at your own pace, stop at artwork that captures your fancy, stroll around main street that is peppered with photographs, paintings, sculptures and more.

Art Walk participants will be given a passport. As the walk begins, participants will be encouraged to fill out their passports in order to enter a raffle.

Be prepared to be surprised by the wide array of artistic styles that are represented by Liberty students, from traditional to contemporary, from still life to impressionism and more.

Award winning cake artist Kim Simons and sculptor and metalworking phenom Zac Shaverick will be in front of their work at the Liberty Public Library, 189 North Main Street and outside Floyd & Bobo’s bakery, respectively.
The Ron Lusker gallery will be open at The Left Bank, 59 North Main Street.

Additionally, the LHS Art Department will unveil its the new banners that will decorate both sides of Main Street. The banners will feature student artwork and have been made possible through a grant that the department received in April from Sullivan Renaissance.

Event Details:

From 5-6:30 p.m., National Art Honor Society students will guide small groups through Liberty, starting from the Liberty Museum and stopping at each Art Walk attraction point.

At 6:45 p.m., certificates of Appreciation will be given to businesses participating in the Art Walk at the Liberty Museum and Art Center, 46 South Main Street.

At 7 p.m., the Art Department will unveil its new banners which will decorate both sides of Main Street. There will be an auction of the full size banners.

At 7:30 p.m., the school’s art department will present student awards, followed by the National Art Honor Society Induction at 8 p.m.

Liberty artists + Liberty’s emerging artists = one exciting night!

All events are free and refreshments will be served. Live music will be provided by Liberty music students.

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LES names Artist of the Month

Every month, one student will be chosen by Ms. Euker as Artist
of the Month. Students are chosen based on good behavior, hard work
and passion. Chosen students will receive a certificate and have
their artwork is displayed in the lobby of Liberty Elementary
School’s main entrance.

Congratulations to Cara DeBartolo in Ms. Maopolski’s fourth grade
class!

Cara says, “My favorite thing about art is to be creative. I like
to sculpt instead of draw because it lets me use my hands.”

When she’s not working on her class art projects, Cara spends her
time drawing her favorite animals.
Cara also said that her dream job would combine her love for art
with her love for animals.

“Being an artist runs in my family. My brother also likes to
draw.”

Cara will receive a special certificate and have her artwork is
displayed in the lobby of the school’s main entrance.

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Comptroller’s report praises Liberty for fiscal responsibility

State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli recently released a report commending the Liberty Central School District and its board of education for installing sound financial checks and balances for transactions made during the 2014-2015 school year.

“District officials and the board have taken a more proactive role in effectively managing its financial operations. This includes adopting realistic budgets and reviewing expenditures for cost savings where possible,” according to the 12-page audit released by DiNapoli’s office on April 1.

The audit examined transactions made between July 1, 2014 and Nov. 30, 2015 and referred back as far as July 1, 2012 to gauge the consistency of the district’s financial operations.

The report commended Liberty for its sensible fiscal management, noting that the district consistently uses its budget surpluses to fund reserves, plan for long-term projects and minimize the need for significant property tax increases.

The report noted that that although the unemployment insurance and retirement contribution reserves were over funded by $1.6 million, the district plans to transfer the excess to the capital reserve to help fund future capital projects.

In its recommendations to the district, the comptroller’s office suggested that officials closely monitor the profitability of its recent participation in the National School Lunch Program Community Eligibility Provision, a program that allows the district to serve free breakfast and lunch to all students and be reimbursed using a formula of the percentage of students who are eligible for free meals.

While the district’s involvement in the free breakfast and lunch program has increased its federal aid, the report noted that it is too early to determine whether it is cost-effective.

District officials said they agree with the findings and thanked state officials without disputing any elements in the report.

“Liberty Central School District appreciates how you have commended district officials for their ‘prudent fiscal management’ and will continue to closely monitor fund balance, reserves, property taxes and expenditures to consistently maintain financial stability,” Superintendent Dr. William Silver wrote in the district’s response, dated March 23 and included in the final report. “Additionally, officials will continue to monitor the School Lunch Program and the cost effectiveness of the Community Eligibility Program.”

As district officials and the board of education continue to develop the 2016-17 proposed budget, they will hold tight to their “do more with less” philosophy with the goal of ensuring that students get the best education possible without exceeding the district’s tax levy limit.

Residents can follow the budget development process by visiting www.libertyk12.org/budget or by attending an upcoming board of education meeting. Meetings are typically held on the second and fourth Tuesday each month at 7 p.m. During the school year, meetings are held in the library/media center at Liberty High School.

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