LAKE PLACID - The Lake Placid school board is putting together a new community group to provide input on the 2013-14 budget, which is now in the works.
The aim of the new Budget Advisory Group is to bring together a diverse group of stakeholders as the school district prepares its next budget. School board member Patti Gallagher wrote in an email that the group will "provide input and feedback at critical checkpoints" during the budget process.
"In terms of transparency and allowing the community to have some input on our decisions, this allows them to have input before they're made, rather than just reacting to what we've done," school board President Mary Dietrich told the Enterprise.
Bill Rusak of HR and ADR Services LLC in Lake Placid will likely be hired to help facilitate meetings between the new advisory group and the school board, Dietrich said. The board will vote at its next meeting on a proposed contract and how much to pay Rusak.
The new group will serve as a sounding board, not a decision-making body, according to Gallagher.
"It's members will assist in the evaluation of resources to ensure continued high quality educational programs while taking in to consideration the limitations in the current financial times of our taxpayers," she wrote.
The stakeholder group will have no more than 23 members, including:
-Six school representatives: two teachers each from the elementary and middle-high schools, and one staff member from each building.
-Six parent representatives: two parents of elementary school students, two of middle school students and two of high school students.
-Student representatives: one or two students, either juniors or seniors, who are recognized as leaders by the student body.
-Three business representatives: one each from Wilmington, Lake Placid and North Elba.
-Three government representatives: one each from Wilmington and North Elba town boards and the Lake Placid village board.
-Three civic organization representatives: one each from the Kiwanis, Lions and Rotary clubs.
For business, government and civic organizations, the school board is asking that the representative not be the parent of a current or recently graduated public school student. Meetings have been scheduled as follows:
Introductory meeting for all participants at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 20 at the Lake Placid Middle-High School Library Media Center
Teachers and staff meeting at 3:30 p.m. Feb. 21 at the LPMHS Library Media Center
Parents and students meeting at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 21 at the LPMHS Library Media Center
Government, business and civic group representatives meeting at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 25 at the LPMHS Library Media Center
Wrap-up meeting for all participants at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 27 at the LPMHS Library Media Center.
On Tuesday, Peter Holderied was selected as the village Board of Trustees' representative to the group. Mayor Craig Randall praised the school board for involving the community in its budget process.
"I think this is a terrific direction the school board is taking," he said.
Parents interested in participating are asked to contact district Clerk Karen Angelopoulos at firstname.lastname@example.org or 518-523-2475 by Feb. 5. The community is also urged to participate in the budget process by attending work sessions and regular board meetings, the dates of which are posted on the district's website at lpds-ny.schoolloop.com
Budget information and presentations will also be posted to the website.