A Message from the Superintendent…
I hope this letter finds you healthy, happy and well while making the most of this complicated period in our communities, region, state and nation. Never could there be a more fitting mantra than “WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER!”
Yes, it goes without saying, perhaps this year more than any other, how much we rely on support from, and strive for collaborative partnerships with our families and community stakeholders. Sustaining personal relationships and transparent communication with our Lyme families and friends has always been the cornerstone of our success at Lyme Central School. The pandemic we are now encountering together only serves to strengthen our resolve. We remain both optimistic for the future and grateful for the relationships we have built, especially over the past several months. While we all continue to find our way through these unsettling times, at least one constant remains for our District. That is our unwavering commitment to collaborate with our families and community stakeholders in order to provide the best educational experiences possible for all students, under any circumstances. I remain very proud of our continued success with providing meaningful instruction and social/emotional support for our students and their families during this difficult time. That is not to say that our move to at home instruction was not without its challenges and frustrations, but we have tackled those challenges together. We are LYME STRONG and we are grateful for both your patience and partnership.
In addition, I remain very proud of the many essential LCS staff members who have remained on the job throughout this entire crisis. Our staff have continued ordering, packing and delivering literally thousands of meals to our students; providing all mandatory business and operational functions; and have worked tirelessly to maintain, clean, and disinfect our buildings in order to help keep others safe. We are grateful for their dedication to our district and community, and our efforts are rewarded as the majority of our students consistently demonstrate outstanding academic, athletic and extracurricular ability, healthy decision making and respectable behavior. We are proud of the work we do, and the opportunities we provide to our students!
On behalf of the Board of Education, Administrative Team, and the entire LCS Staff, I’m pleased to share the proposed 2020-21 Lyme Central School District Spending Plan.
As such, the district once again approached the budget season with some very specific goals in mind: (1) Expand and/or maintain as many of the academic and extracurricular opportunities for students as financially possible. (2) Consider necessary facility updates and staffing needs as part of our obligation to provide our District’s stakeholders with a safe, well-maintained, student-centered learning environment. (3) Respond to our financial requirements and responsibilities in ways which create the least amount of impact on our taxpayers. We remain optimistic that our community will value and abundantly show support for our current direction. We are proud of our efforts to meet these important goals with only a minimal increase of 1.74% in the tax levy, staying within the district’s allowable tax cap, and by increasing the amount applied from savings (from $150,000 last year) to $407, 215 this year.
It is important to note that with this proposed budget the District is hoping to update the playground, due to the age and poor condition of much of the equipment. Safety for our students and families remains our priority. The playground was last updated in the late 1990’s and is a critical part of our facility, one that is used every day and for the most part year around. While we are very pleased to have our District playground accessible to the entire community, as equipment breaks it is becoming increasingly difficult if not impossible to replace the parts due to their unavailability and expense. The District’s Strategic Plan focuses on efforts to enhance the health and wellness of our children by encouraging physical activity. As such, the playground is a vital part of the educational experience at LCS. In addition, as we believe our community is aware, the playground is utilized daily not only by our entire population of students, but it also serves the families of our permanent and summer residents as well. We appreciate your anticipated support for this much needed renovation!
Beyond the district’s success in meeting high academic and athletic standards of performance, I’m pleased to share that we have continued with our priority of identifying and applying efficiency strategies, and implementing cost-saving measures, such as participating in shared services with neighboring districts, BOCES and local municipalities. We have once again successfully utilized all available resources and the Board of Education’s long range strategic planning and conservative budgeting practices have been beneficial in supporting our academic and extracurricular offerings for students, in addition to updating and improving many areas throughout our facilities. The Board of Education continues to evaluate all areas of the budget regularly as the long-term sustainability of the Lyme Central School District, for our students and their families, remains a steadfast priority.
- Public Schools operate primarily on money (revenue) they receive from two sources: State Aid and Tax Dollars. The Governor has indicated that all public schools will experience cuts in State Aid during the 2020-21 school year.
- Again, in order to create the least amount of impact for our tax payers, $407,215 is being applied from the district’s fund balance (savings account) in order to keep the tax levy as level as possible. The Board of Education is projecting a minimal increase of 1.74% in the tax levy, again staying within the District’s allowable tax cap. (We are pleased that our community members will again be in a position to receive their property tax rebate checks from New York State, should they be made available!) This modest increase, ($100,000 home = approx. $18.00 increase for the year), is primarily due to increases in required student services, general operating costs, and contractual obligations. The overall 2020-21 Spending Plan consists of a minimal increase of 4.73%, which includes the purchase of one school bus and allows for replacing our playground equipment, eliminating the need to borrow money and pay interest on such necessary purchases.
Continuing Cost-Saving Measures: During the 2019-20 school year, the Board of Education, Administration, and Staff have continued their intentional focus of ensuring that LCS operates in an efficient and fiscally responsible manner. The following measures have been implemented and/or continued:
- Cafeteria Manager Share with Carthage CSD—BOCES Service
- Transportation Supervisor and Mechanic share between Lyme and Thousand Islands
- Shared Fuel Facility with Town of Lyme, Village of Chaumont, Three Mile Bay Fire Department, Chaumont Volunteer Fire Department
- Identification and utilization of grant funds to pay for staff development opportunities, materials, and staffing as possible
- Automatic shut-down of all district computers at 6:30 p.m. nightly
- Monitoring of day to day operating expenses
- Adjusting staffing for enrollment (as possible) while considering upcoming teacher/staff retirements
- Utilization of district vehicle for transportation eliminating mileage reimbursements
We remain grateful for the many community partnerships we have formed over the years and are excited to share the ways we consistently open our doors to partner with local agencies, businesses, instructors and so on. As social distancing and grouping expectations allow, we look forward to building upon and enhancing those opportunities as we head into the 2020-21 school year!
COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS—(A few of the many ways our Community Members utilize our School):
Lyme Lane Walking Trails
Playground and Basketball Court
Gazebo Picnic Area
North Country Family Health School-Based Dental Services for Students
Good News Club Student Activities
Lyme Youth Commission—Athletic Practices/Events
Summer Theater Camp
Sports Clinics (throughout the year)
American Red Cross Blood Drives
Veteran’s Day Celebration
Fort Drum Holiday Concert
Tri-Board Meetings (Village, Town and School District)
Healthy Kids After-School Child Care
The 2020 Budget Notice will be mailed to residents following the Annual Budget Hearing, which will be held on June 1, 2020 at 6:00 P.M. via a ZOOM meeting. The link for this meeting is https://youtu.be/7lPpOFvYC1c. This link is also posted on our District Home page at www.lymecsd.org. Please call or email any questions regarding the proposed budget to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to get back to you as soon as possible.
This year, as mandated by the Governor’s Executive Order, all voting on the proposed school budget must be done via an absentee ballot. Voting ballots were mailed on, May 26th, 2020, and must be received back in the district no later than 5:00 PM on June 9th, 2020. If you do not receive a ballot by mail within the next few days, please contact the District Clerk, Mrs. Sherri Wilson, at email@example.com or call 315-649-2417 ext. 238 as soon as possible.
The Budget Newsletter provides a detailed look at the specifics of the proposed spending plan and the funding priorities of the Board of Education. This document is currently available at the following locations/sites:
- District Website Homepage and under the Board of Education Tab/ Budget Information
- District Facebook Page
- District’s Welcome Center (Please use the call button by door, and someone will assist you.)
- Chaumont Post Office
At LCS we remain committed to our mission of Preparing Today’s Students to Be Tomorrow’s Citizens. I wish to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank the entire LCS Community for your unwavering support of our students and district, and hope the tradition of strong community support for academic excellence and a safe, student-centered environment will continue into the 2020-21 school year. With your support, we will continue to work diligently serving our taxpayers, our students, and staff, ensuring we are able to recognize sustainable growth both in the short term and also for years to come!
Again, please feel free to call me or our Business Official, Mrs. Sandy Rooney, should you have questions prior to our Budget Vote on June 9, 2020. Best wishes for a positive and productive end to the 2019-20 school year! On behalf of the Board of Education, Faculty and Administration of Lyme Central School, it remains our pleasure to serve our community and students. Wishing you all strength, perseverance, health and wellness in the days ahead!