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New Scotland Archives The Altamont Enterprise, May 12, 2011
By Saranac Hale Spencer
Caitrin Navarro, who spends a lot of time with kids and their parents in her practice as a pediatrician, could bring their voice to the school board, she said.
Over the last few years, she said, she has disagreed with some of the decisions made by the board largely regarding special education and reading programs so she decided to make her first run for a seat on the board. Navarro, who grew up in Queensbury and has three children in the district, is making her first run for the school board.
She supports the budget proposal because it does not include any cuts to student activities for sports or the arts.
In preparing the district’s next budget, she said, the most important component will be renegotiating union contracts. Taxpayers can’t support increases to salaries, health insurance, and pensions, she said, suggesting that unions will have to choose which increases they want to keep.
She’d also like to use real numbers instead of percentages in the contracts for health insurance. Rather than having the district pay for each employee’s health-care plan, she explained, the contract could specify a specific amount of money that the district would pay towards the insurance each month.
The tax levy could stay below 2 percent in future years, Navarro said. If taxpayers were presented with the specifics of what students need that would bring the levy above 2 percent, 60 percent of voters would likely agree, she said.
“I believe it should have been closed,” Navarro said of the Clarksville school. The quality of education should be the same among the district’s schools, she said, and the mixed-age classrooms and small student population at Clarksville wouldn’t afford the same level of education as the other elementary schools. The district should maintain the building, rent out its gym or auditorium for municipal events, and reopen it if the student population increases, she said.
The school board is meant to act as a check and balance on the administration, Navarro said, adding unequivocally that board members are responsible to the taxpayers.