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New Scotland Archives The Altamont Enterprise, April 19, 2012
By Anne Hayden
VOORHEESVILLE Jason Windsor is making his first run for school board, because, he said, “I feel my skills and background would be extremely helpful at this point.”
Windsor, who works for New York State, in the Department of Civil Service, previously worked for the state’s Division of Budget for nine years.
For six-and-a-half years, Windsor worked in management and policy, and labor relations, and for three-and-a-half years, he was a budget examiner with the state’s Education Department and the Office of Real Property Services.
“I was heavily involved in the operations of the State Education Department, I had exposure to school aid formulas, and an understanding of how funding gets to school districts through the state budgeting process,” said Windsor.
In his various roles, he has also dealt with equalization and assessment issues, and worked with labor unions on benefits and employee contracts.
“I help negotiate with state employee unions, deal with compensation formulas, and policies for state employees,” he said.
“As we all know, the fiscal climate, currently and in the immediate future, is going to be difficult,” Windsor said.
Windsor is married, with two children in the Voorheesville School District one in middle school and one in high school. He has lived in Voorheesville for nine years.
Windsor is an Eagle Scout, and has served as a committee chair and a pack leader. He is an active member of the Voorheesville Area Ambulance Squad, and is involved in sports and extracurricular activities with his kids.
“My assessment of the budget is that it is a very responsible one, and the school board did a great job it is thoughtfully crafted,” said Windsor. “However, a lot of extracurricular activities are being cut, and I think it’s only the tip of the iceberg.”
Windsor is concerned that next year will be even more difficult than this one, and going over the tax-levy cap may be inevitable.
“The board made a strategic decision to stay under the tax-levy cap…My instinct is that, without extreme sacrifice to programming, staying under the tax-levy cap next year may be impossible,” said Windsor. He noted that the voters might have been supportive of going over the cap this year.
“I’d be in favor of exploring other options for programming, such as shared services,” he said.
One thing Windsor said he would want to monitor, though, is self-funding.
“It seems to me we could run into the haves versus the have-nots,” said Windsor. “Some students and parents can afford to pay more for extracurricular activities, and that troubles me a bit; I think it could be very inequitable.”
Windsor said that, philosophically, he supports full-day kindergarten.
“My concern is that the funding will disappear, and it will be a further constraint on the overall budgeting, and will make things more difficult in the coming years,” he said.
“Both of my parents were teachers, so I grew up in that environment, and I fully appreciate the middle-class lifestyle they were able to provide,” he said. “But, at the same time, I have a great deal of background in labor relations and work-force costs.”
Without question, according to Windsor, the labor and benefit costs are the biggest strains on a budget.
“I’m fully in favor of teachers being compensated well, but, at the same time, those are areas where I know there is constantly a conversation about creative ways to curtail or better manage the ever increasing benefit and salary costs,” said Windsor. “I’d rather not cut staff; I’d rather deal with costs growing exponentially.”
“I’m grounded, with no objective and no big agenda,” concluded Windsor. “I hope to bring a common sense, level-headed viewpoint to all of these issues.”
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