School district budgets passed; Johnson wins MCS board race

By Joe Moskowitz
They may complain the rest of the year, but when it comes time to vote, taxpayers support the budgets proposed by school district in this area. Last week was no different as budgets in Andes, Roxbury and Margaretville schools were approved by wide margins.

Voters in Andes also decided to return Gerard Murphy to the board of education, and Will Finch will serve another five years on the Roxbury Central School Board. But in Margaretville, incumbent board member Randy Moore, who was serving as president of the board of education, was soundly defeated by challenger Terrence Johnson of Arkville. Johnson won by a margin of 134 to 72.

Johnson told the News that he was surprised that he won by that much, but he wasn’t surprised that he won. He says it wasn’t that people were necessarily voting against Moore, he says it was a referendum on the MCS administration, and that the public is so dissatisfied that any board member who was up for reelection probably would have lost.

Call for change
Johnson says the vote goes to show that the people want change, and the change needs to come from the administration. And he says, “The administration needs to change the way they are doing their jobs. It’s not working.” He says it’s an unhappy environment for the teachers, but he acknowledges that the teachers have some issues they have to resolve themselves.

The school administration consists of two people, Superintendent Tony Albanese, he has a contract, and Building Principal Linda Taylor. She has a contract and is protected by tenure.

Albanese says he has not met with Johnson yet and is looking forward to discussing issues with him when the board reorganizes during its July meeting. He says these are difficult times for the teachers as they are faced with new state guidelines, declining enrollment and budget constraints. Additionally, members of the union that represents bus drivers and many of the support staff have been working without a contract for a year. The Margaretville Teachers’ Association is also seeking a new contract with the district. Albanese says negotiations with the two bargaining units are continuing.

Albanese says the education of the kids is the primary concern and he says there have been many improvements during a difficult time, and he says looks forward to working with the board to continue in that direction.

Moore was not available for comment.

Johnson was elected to the board, but he was not elected president. The five members will select their president and vice president during the July meeting.