By PETE KLEIN
Express News Staff
INDIAN LAKE - Two foreign students are expected to start their junior year at Indian Lake Central School Wednesday, Sept. 4.
According to Superintendent Mark Brand, two male students, one from the Czech Republic and one from Germany, are completing the paperwork and are expected to arrive in time for the start of school. Both will be staying with a family that has been approved to host students.
"We could have started with up to 20 international students if we had more families willing to act as hosts," Brand said.
Brand and the school board are hoping a successful first year with the two foreign students will encourage more families to open their homes to them. The idea is to help reverse declining enrollments and boost the diversity of the student body.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency notified the school in March that its application to admit foreign exchange students under the non-immigrant F-1 visa program was approved.
Under the policy adopted by the school board, host families receive $4,500 for each student they provide with room and board, while the school receives $4,500 in tuition for each student. The child's parents cover personal and miscellaneous expenses.
Board Vice President David Harrington joked, "I hope they can play soccer."
With enrollments declining, it has been increasingly difficult to field varsity sports teams even with the sports merger between the Indian Lake and Long Lake school districts.
BUSES ARE READY
The school buses are ready for the new school year and in use, as soccer practice has begun.
Transportation Director George Virgil was at the school board's Aug. 20 meeting. He took everyone outside to see Bus 52 to show the fruits of having a bus garage and bus mechanic, Andrew Smith, to work on the buses.
Virgil explained how Smith eliminated all the rust and totally refurbished the eight-year-old bus, which has 100,000 miles on it, and painted it to look brand new.
Virgil said over $3,000 had been saved by doing the work in-house, and the work would result in future cost savings by adding about 50,000 miles to the bus before it needs to be replaced.
Tracy Eldridge, a former school board member, said, "When I came and saw the bus parked outside I thought it was a new bus."
TAX LEVY SET
The board confirmed the tax roll and authorized a tax levy of $4,454,597, $23,844 less than expected.
The 2013 tax rate is $6.96258417 per $1,000 of assessed value, nine cents more than the estimated tax rate in the proposed 2013/14 budget. The difference is due to a drop in total taxable assessments.
Business Manager / Treasurer Louann Tetrault said according to Assessor Meade Hutchins, overall assessments have dropped by about $11,854,000. Most waterfront property assessments remained flat while off-water assessments dropped due to the soft real estate market.
When the budget was being drawn up, the total estimated taxable assessment was about $651,644,000. The confirmed assessment ended up at about $639,790,000.
When total taxable assessments go down, tax rates go up if all else remains the same.
The 2012 tax rate was $6.65994 per $1,000.
-- Gregg Paul Thompson was approved as cleaner / bus driver and George Mahoney as the BOCES bus driver. Michelle Spellacy was approved as Pre-K teacher.
-- Grade 2 teacher Jolene Clark has resigned, as has Gina Pellettier, the girls' varsity soccer coach. Andrew Snide will replace Pellettier as coach. Emily Stephan and Nicole Andrews will be associate modified girls soccer coaches.
The ILCS Board of Education will next meet Tuesday, Sept. 17, starting at 7 p.m. in the cafeteria.