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New Scotland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, April 21, 2011

Gary Hubert has no opposition,
seeking 2nd term on V’ville School Board

By Saranac Hale Spencer

VOORHEESVILLE — This year’s school board race is uncontested as the district, like those around the state, faces the loss of federal aid, reduction in state aid, and the potential of a cap on the allowable increase in future budgets.

Gary Hubert, 64, is running to keep his seat on the seven-member board because he wants to provide the children in the district with a good education, he said.  Also, he has recently retired and wants to stay active with the school, said Hubert, who has had two children go through the Voorheesville schools and has served one five-year term on the board.  His wife, Portia, works for the school part-time, producing plays.

In 2008, voters in the district overwhelmingly passed a proposition to reduce the term from five years to four in order to attract more candidates to run.

After the district proposed reducing the number of sections in the middle school from five to four, some parents were discontent.  Hubert supports the change, he said, explaining that he takes the recommendations of Superintendent Teresa Snyder and Assistant Superintendent for Business Sarita Winchell.

If the tax cap that Governor Andrew Cuomo promised to voters is adopted by the legislature for the 2012-13 budget, school districts won’t be able to increase the tax levy more than 2 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower.  Asked how the district should handle putting together its budget next year if the cap should pass, Hubert said, “That sort of remains to be seen.  We’re very close to the cap now.”  The $21 million budget that the board recently adopted would bring a 2.07-percent tax-levy increase.  He pointed out that next year, the district won’t be getting federal funds to fill the hole left from the decrease in state funds.

Asked what is most important to maintain and what could be cut if the district should need to make cuts to its budget, Hubert said, “I would hope that we don’t have to.”  It is very important to maintain programs in the arts, he said, naming music and drama “to offer a rounded education.”

The public has suggested cutting administrative costs, Hubert said, but added that he couldn’t see where the district could shave off the administrative budget.

“It’s going to be a painful year next year,” he concluded.

Asked to whom the school board is most responsible — students, taxpayers, parents, or teachers — Hubert said, it “has to be a combination of all of the above.”  The paramount charge to the school board is providing students with the best education possible, he said.  It is important, also, for the board to spend the taxpayers’ money productively.

Finally, with the controversy in Clarksville over the Bethlehem School Board’s recent closure of the elementary school there, Hubert was asked if he could see Voorheesville’s school district absorbing Clarksville, which is in the town of New Scotland.  “I personally cannot see that happening,” he said.

Residents can vote in the election and on the budget on May 17.

At the same time, residents can vote on the candidates for the library board, which opted two years ago to increase from a five-member board to a seven-member board.  Robert Kent will be seeking re-election and Bryan Richmond will run to keep the seat to which he was appointed last year.  The third seat that is open can be filled if there is a write-in candidate or by appointment after the election.  Nine people picked up petitions to run, but only two candidates returned them by the Monday deadline.

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