Budget and BOE vote on May 16

Eligible residents will vote on a $45.9 million school budget
proposal on Tuesday, May 16, from noon to 9 p.m. in the Liberty
High School gymnasium. The proposed budget includes no increase in
the district’s tax levy.

Voters will also select from five candidates to fill three open
seats on the Liberty Board of Education. Candidates, in the order
they will appear on the ballot, are Robert “Keith” Torrens,
Anthony R. Sinacore, Cindy Prince, Barbara A. Kelly, and Marta

The proposed budget is $1,498,160 or 3.4 percent more than the
budget for the current school year. Spending increases are
attributed to contractual salary raises, employee benefits, as
well as the academic needs of a growing middle school and special
needs populations.

The budget proposal reflects the Liberty Board of Education’s goal
to ensure the highest quality of teaching and learning for all
students while maintaining fiscal stability and staying within the
district’s tax levy limit.

The board is proposing no increase in the tax levy – the total
amount of revenue raised through property taxes – through
decreased costs in certain areas, a moderate increase in state aid
and the use of $120,888 in fund balance.

It is the fourth year in a row the tax levy proposed as part of
the Liberty schools budget has been at zero or below.

Liberty will receive an estimated increase of $1,383,048 in state
aid for next year. This aid increase, coupled with lower
retirement costs and careful planning, has allowed Liberty to
propose a plan that adjusts spending to meet needs, preserves
current educational programs and plans for new programs that will
help prepare all students for future success.

“Enrollment in the Liberty Central School District is increasing
with a diverse student population,” said Superintendent Dr.
William Silver. “The district’s number one goal, as outlined by
the Board of Education, is to increase student achievement and the
graduation rate for all students.”

The proposed budget seeks to advance this goal by reallocating
funds to support Focus School improvement plans and through the
addition of 4.4 FTE teachers to support middle school students and
an increasing number of English Language Learners and special
education students.

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SC School Boards Assoc. honors former supervisor, teacher

The Sullivan County School Boards Association recently announced that they’ll be honoring former Town of Liberty Supervisor, Charlie Barbuti and Liberty High School teacher, Julie Buck, as the recipients of this year’s Sullivan County Outstanding Friend to Education Award and Outstanding Educator Award, respectively.

Julie Buck is a social studies teacher at Liberty Central School District and is this year’s recipient of the Outstanding Educator Award. She has worked in the district for the past 14 years. She consistently goes above and beyond in all ways, motivating her students to be the best she believes they can be.

Charlie Barbuti, a Liberty resident, business owner, former Town Supervisor, and a graduate of the Liberty High School class of 1969, and former Board of Education member is the recipient of the Outstanding Friend of Education Award. He has championed cooperative relationships among the town, village, and district. He has been an advocate for Art on Main Street, an initiative led in part by the Liberty High School art department, resulting in last spring’s first annual Art Walk.

Both of these awards honor individuals who have made an impact on the education of children in Sullivan County. Buck and Barbuti will receive their awards at a dinner at the Villa Roma Clubhouse on Wednesday, May 31.

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LHS NHS Chapter inducts new members

The Liberty High School Chapter of the National Honor Society will induct 18 new members on Thursday, April 27 at 7 p. m. in the Liberty High School Panebaker Auditorium. The induction ceremony is open to the public with a special invitation to family and friends. The ceremony is very important for the new inductee and for the NHS Chapter as it emphasizes that NHS membership is not based solely on GPA but on other important characteristics of the individual. It also outlines the responsibilities that inductees take on as members of this special group.

New inductees:

Cohen, Michael
Morgans, Kelsey
Decker, Katy
Nadeau, Sarah
Evangelista, Jelaine
Patel, Jeet
Fleischman, Jerikah
Patel, Harsh
Fonseca, Cascio
Quackenbush, Benjamin
Hernandez, Yasiris
Riley, Alexandra
Kratz, Dustyn
Symanski, Paul
Kleinberger, Sarah
Schiff, Dara
Milling, Abrielle
Torrens, Tracy

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LMS Stars of Hope

This is a trailer of a video created for a project called “Stars of Hope” done by the MS Student Council.The student council was given a box of 15 stars and asked to be a part of a service movement that brings hope and healing to people around the world. They decided to start with people in their own school to show how individuals and small groups can make an impact on the world one community at a time.

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LHS Interact Club sponsors Race for Others 5K

Liberty Central School District is gearing up for its Race for Others 5k Run and Walk on Sunday, May 7th at 8:30 a.m. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. Partial Proceeds will go towards the Haiti Clean Water Project sponsored by the Liberty Rotary Club and the Liberty High School Interact Club. The Haiti Water Project aims to provide clean, safe water for communities in Haiti.

Early registration entry fees are:
Runners- $20
Walkers- $15

Day of race entry fees are:
Runners- $25

Walkers- $20

“We are thrilled to be working together with the Liberty High School Interact Club to raise money for two incredibly important projects,” said Gary Silver, President of the Liberty Rotary Club. “Half of the proceeds from this event will go towards the Liberty Rotary Club’s Haiti Clean Water Program, which is providing 1,000 water filtration systems to 1,000 families. The other half of the proceeds will go towards the Spring Valley Rotary Club’s S.T.E.P. (Schools To End Poverty) Program, which help build and supply schools around the world. As the President of the Liberty Rotary Club, I am so proud of the students who are members of the Liberty High School Interact Club, whose enthusiasm and dedication in wanting to help others gives me hope for the future.”

The student members of the Interact Club developed the Race for Others 5k as a way to bring together members of the community to spread awareness of a good cause. Participants in the 5K will start and finish at the Liberty High School located at 125 Buckley Street in Liberty, NY. Walkers will start at 8:30 a.m. and Runners will begin at 9:00 a.m. Refreshments and light breakfast will be served for all participants.
For more information, registration, and route map, contact Kim Heinle at

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Scholar-Athletes Honored

Maria Symnaksi and Joseph Decker were honored as Senior Scholar-Athletes by the Times Herald-Record on Thursday, Apr. 20 at Kuhl’s Highland House. The two Liberty Seniors attnded a breakfast along with the honorees from other area schools. Also attending the breakfast were school administrators and athletic directors from local area schools. To be attain this honor students must have a high academic average and must have actively participated in their school’s athletic programs.

Maria Symanski is ranked second in the Senior class with an adjusted
GPA of 101.13. She has participated in tennis, basketball, skiing and golf. She was captain of the tennis team. Academically, Maria is a member of the National Honor Society, National Art Honor Society, Student Government, Debate Club, Tri-M Music Honor Society and Future Business Leaders of America. Maria has served her community at the Liberty Public Library, as a member of a Congressional Campaign, as a Peer Tutor, and by offering music lessons. Her future will include a major in health administration.

Joe Decker has maintained a 93.79 GPA which places him seventh in the Senior class. Joe has been an important part of the football, wrestling and baseball team. His academic achievements include membership in the National Honor Society, Honors Band and Future Business Leaders of America. He serves his community as a member of the White Sulphur Springs Fire Department. In the fall Joe plans on attending Clarkson University where he will major in physics.

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State budget includes $1.1B education funding increase

On Sunday, April 9, New York lawmakers approved a 2017-18 state budget that calls for an overall increase in education funding of $1.1 billion, or 4.4 percent.

Lawmakers enacted the budget nine days after the April 1 state budget deadline, providing school district leaders with critical state aid information as they finalize school budget proposals for the 2017-18 school year. Voters will consider those proposals during the statewide school budget vote day on Tuesday, May 16.

The overall state aid increase includes $700 million in additional Foundation Aid and growth of $289 million in state reimbursements for designated expenses such as transportation, construction and BOCES services. These are the predominant sources of state funding for everyday school operations and capital improvements.

The remainder of the state aid increase includes additional funding for charter schools and increased state support for a variety of school initiatives, including afterschool programming, prekindergarten and school technology. The $1.1 billion increase is less than the $1.5 billion that the Educational Conference Board, a coalition of statewide education groups, said last fall would be necessary to preserve current school services next year. The Board of Regents had recommended an increase of $2.1 billion.

The budget preserves the Foundation Aid formula for distributing school aid, which Gov. Andrew Cuomo had proposed to discontinue in his executive budget proposal in January. Foundation Aid was enacted in 2007 to ensure all school districts have the funding needed to provide students with a sound, basic education.

The 2017-18 state budget supports several other programs and initiatives related to education:

  • Prekindergarten: The budget provides an additional $5 million to continue the expansion of half-day and full-day prekindergarten programs for three- and four-year-old children in high-need school districts.
  • Community Schools: Total Foundation Aid includes a $150 million “set aside” for community schools, an increase of $50 million over 2016-17. The funding will continue efforts to turn schools designated as struggling, as well as those in other high-need districts, into community hubs that provide academic, physical and mental health care, after school programming and other services to students and their families.
  • After school Programming: The budget includes $35 million in new funding to expand after school programs for students in schools located in designated high-poverty areas. This new funding will create an additional 22,000 spots for students in after school programs.
  • Technology: The budget includes $5 million to support science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in nonpublic schools.
  • Charter schools: The budget includes a $5.6 million increase in charter school funding.
  • Early College High School: The budget includes $5.3 million to add new early college high school programs, with a focus on developing computer science programs, and nearly $1.5 million for the continuation of existing programs.
  •  Advanced Placement Test Assistance for Families: The budget includes an additional $1.5 million to help low-income students with the cost of taking AP exams.
  • Empire State Excellence in Teaching Awards: The budget provides $400,000 for a second round of Empire State Excellence in Teaching awards, providing at least 60 selected teachers across the state with a $5,000 award for professional development activities.
  • Cyber bullying: The budget provides $300,000 to fund certain school-based initiatives to combat cyber bullying and other forms of online harassment.
  • STAR: More than $3.15 billion of the state budget will fund New York’s STAR (School Tax Relief) and Enhanced STAR exemptions for property taxpayers. The budget does not hold the value of STAR exemptions at existing levels, as was proposed by the governor in January.
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