All posts by Terence P. Ward

New Paltz proposed school budget increases taxes 2.8%

New Paltz proposed school budget increases taxes 2.8%

New Paltz school Board trustees and members of the public got a broad-brush look at the budget proposed for the 2019-20 school year at their March 4 meeting. Coming in at $62,255,505, it’s a 2.54% increase over last year, which would result in a 2.84% hike to the tax levy itself due to a challenging state aid environment, which could well get bleaker if proposals in this year’s state budget get passed.

New Paltz schools seek to set policy limiting cell-phone use

New Paltz schools seek to set policy limiting cell-phone use

New Paltz School Board trustees are going to try to beef up their support for administrators and teachers who wish to control the use of cell phones in their classrooms, but they want to use their authority rather than taxpayer money to make that happen. Teachers, particularly in the high school, have expressed frustration over the proliferation of the devices and the lack of clear policy guidance that would allow them to exercise some control over their use.

New Paltz School Board members hear pitch for “restorative justice”

New Paltz School Board members hear pitch for “restorative justice”

The concept of restorative justice is that, by empowering people to work through challenges together, problems can be resolved in a less punitive manner that results in fewer issues overall. In theory, successfully implementing restorative justice in the schools would mean fewer suspensions (in school or out), fewer referrals to administrators, fewer fights and conflicts and less time spent in detention. The primary practices involve securing consent and agreement from all participants (adult and child alike) in processes that involve “circles” in which all voices are heard.

Circus helps raise funds for New Paltz playground

Circus helps raise funds for New Paltz playground

Words cannot capture the feeling in one’s gut as an acrobat steps climbs onto a board that teeters atop a stack of blocks and cylinders that wiggle in all directions, nor can they fully convey the joy of watching a dog leap over his tumbling master or ride a scooter like a biped. Circuses are designed to invoke emotions and stimulate all the senses, down to the hair raising on the back of the neck and the tongue salivating for cotton candy. None of the children admitted free to this circus have ever attended one in New Paltz before, but given the welcome it received, organizers seem hopeful that it won’t be that long a wait to see one again.

New Paltz board offers diversity of views on plan to map environmentally sensitive areas

New Paltz board offers diversity of views on plan to map environmentally sensitive areas

The information would be factored in for any future developments proposed for the areas. Six different areas are proposed for the designation, representing riparian, wetland and forested areas. They trace the Wallkill and Kleine Kill, the Swarte Kill and Plutarch wetlands and the large forest tracts of Plutarch, Clearwater and Stony Kill. The Shawangunk Ridge is also included.