CECSD board holds presentations, provides information on May 17 vote

The Cortland Enlarged City School District Board of Education convened Wednesday evening for its monthly meeting, where primary topics included current student programs and the upcoming district vote on May 17. 

The vote will include the election of two new school board members, approval of the 2022-23 budget and several additional propositions.


Presentations from Organizations

Several student organizations presented to the board regarding what their programs have accomplished over the past school year and how they plan to expand on them in the future. 

The Purple Pantry provides food to student families in need over the weekends, and also provides personal care items and activities to local nursing homes and organizations. 

Another program, PS I Love You Day, focuses on mental health for students and has also raised funds for Cortland County Mental Health Department. The department plans to expand their program to include age appropriate awareness activities to younger grades, eventually including all K-12 students within the next few years. 

The board also heard from a group of students who recently returned from a trip to France and Spain, and about the enriching experiences they shared while traveling abroad. 

The final group to present was Cortland’s E-Sports team, representing a group of 45 students who practiced various video games in a team setting and went on to compete in several state-wide competitions. One Cortland team came in 16th place out of nearly 300 competitors this year. The program brings together students with a variety of interests and also engages a segment of students who may not have previously participated in extracurricular school activities by taking what is often a solo home hobby and making it a structured social experience. The group is looking forward to expanding and incorporating additional technology into their program.


School Board Elections and More

The school board is planning to expand by electing two new members on May 17. However, Donald Chu is the only candidate running to fill the positions. This means the ballots will include one name, and room for two write-in candidates. Voters may vote for Chu and an additional write-in candidate, or vote for two write-in candidates. Any ballots which include a vote for Chu and more than one write-in name will be invalidated and will not be counted. Correct spelling of the person’s legal name is also essential for the votes to be counted. 

In addition to the school board election, there are five propositions up for a vote.


Proposition 1 is the approval of the budget for the 2022-23 school year. The budget is set for $51,565,151, which is a 1.41% increase from last year and will mean a 0.67% tax levy increase (The district also provided information about the STAR program, which provides tax exemptions to qualified community members).


Proposition 2 concerns the purchases of buses, which the district plans to lease for five years in order to keep maintenance and repair fees down. 


Proposition 3 concerns the sale of the former Virgil Elementary school and its grounds for the amount of $380,000. The proposed use of the property is for it to be converted into supervised residential housing for those 55-and-older, as well as a community center open to the public. The proposed sale of the center will include a laundromat, playground, music/theater space, and trails. Those interested in learning more about this proposal are invited to attend the Virgil Town Board meeting at 6:30 p.m. May 12 at the Virgil Town Hall on 1176 Church St. A presentation with more information on the potential sale will be held.


Proposition 4 covers an increase in the Cortland Free Library tax from $408,135 to $416,298, beginning July 1, to be raised by a tax upon the taxable property of the District. This tax is collected by the district and directly passed to the library for its operation.


Proposition 5 would continue the practice of allowing a Cortland High School Senior to serve on the school board as an ex-officio student member as permitted by New York State Education Law. The student must have attended Cortland for at least two years.


Voting takes place on May 17 from noon to 9 p.m. at one of three designated polling places, depending on place of residence.