Marathon BOE discusses school budget and more

Marathon CSD superintendent Andy Buchsbaum speaks at the Marathon BOE meeting last week. (Photo Source: Chelsea Horak of The Cortland Voice).

The Marathon Central School District Board of Education (BOE) met last week to discuss the budget, the music program, and to hear from student member Audrey Jasper.

Marathon’s next BOE meeting will be held at 7 p.m. March 1 in the school library.

Budget Public Forum

Prior to the opening of the regular meeting, the BOE held a public forum on the budget. The forum was intended for informational purposes, but relied heavily on information which was still pending from the New York State Governor's office. While the information did arrive that day, it was just hours before the meeting and could not be incorporated into the presentation. As a result, many of the included figures were estimates, which is important as 70% of the district’s budget comes directly from state aid.

It was stated that Marathon has not raised taxes to the maximum tax rate cap for the past several years, and is likely to see an increase that is below the maximum allowable rate once again this year. While the public was invited to the forum, there were no questions on the budget presentation. More specific information will be made available at future meetings prior to the budget vote in May.

Music Program Rebuilding

The BOE heard about how the K-12 Music program has been running during an especially challenging year. While tough times are expected to continue with increased federal aid starting to be phased out, the district has recently posted an additional position for a K-12 music instructor with a background in chorus. Recent hire Laurie Hill specializes primarily in band, so Marathon is seeking an instructor with a focus on chorus to balance the program. Occupational therapist Lisa Addington took her time during the public comment portion of the meeting to praise Hill, sharing that “the new music teacher is amazing” and that her room is right next door.

Through a Student’s Eyes

Student BOE member Audrey Jasper shared her report on recent student activities with the board. Jasper reported that student Melody Sutton recently did well at her state wrestling championship tournament. Current fundraising efforts include the FFA Strawberry sale and the Band selling coffee and pancakes. The school is heavily involved in the local Maple Festival, and sign ups and practices for the Queen Pageant are underway. Jasper informed the BOE and the public that more ushers are needed for the Maple Festival. Work on the school’s production of “Young Dracula” has also begun. Finally, Jasper has started working with administrators to create a student leadership program.