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Watertown Board of Education, superintendent discuss NYSSBA membership

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The Watertown City School District is making every effort to conserve money.

During Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Terry N. Fralick said that while he is not recommending it, it would be cheaper to withdraw its New York State School Boards Association membership and pay a higher nonmember fee to attend the annual convention.

“We have to look at all of our expenditures and make some decision as to the value of these expenditures,” Mr. Fralick said.

The member fee is based on enrollment. In the 2011-12 year, the district forked over $7,955. Next school year, it will pay $9,866, an increase of $1,733 in two years. Mr. Fralick said he wanted to discuss the matter with the board because the price difference shocked him.

According to a 2012 convention promotional booklet online, early registration had cost the district $420 per member and $840 per nonmember.

Yvonne E. Gebo said the advocacy group has been helpful because of the information it provides to the district.

Peter E. Monaco said much of the cost probably goes toward lobbying because the association is an advocacy group.

The district has been an association member for more than the nine years Mr. Fralick has served as superintendent. However, he knew of districts in other parts of the state that have withdrawn their membership for financial reasons.

The district is also a member of the New York State Association of Small City School Districts, which Mr. Fralick said has been more aggressive in championing for upstate schools. “They have been for several years, really looking at the inequities of upstate aid distribution,” he said after the meeting. “They do a lot of great things.”

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