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Area school board candidates, budgets up for vote Tuesday

Residents in the the four major school districts in northern Warren County will be going to the polls Tuesday to vote on school district budgets and a variety of candidates for seats on the respective school boards. In Warrensburg, Lake George and Bolton central districts, there is competition for those seats, and in North Warren Central, candidates are unchallenged. Budget increases for Lake George and North Warren are near the median for area school districts while the hike in Bolton is moderately below the average. Warrensburg Centrals increase is far below the norm. It is the lowest hike of any budget in the entire BOCES regional district. All four districts cite increased fuel, gasoline, utility, health care and salary expenses pressuring their budgets. Lake George using reserves to cap hike Lake George Central plans to spend $19,116,126 in 2008-09, or 4.57 percent more than the present year. Using $600,000 of the fund balance to lower the tax levy, the amount to be raised by taxes is increasing less, or 3.8 percent. A hike in state aid also minimizes the tax increase. Lake George Centrals vote is occurring 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the high school gymnasium. Three school board candidates are vying for two seats. The top vote-getter will take office Wednesday, the second highest will begin July 1. Competing for the seats are Janie C. Green, a motel and restaurant manager and former local PTA President; Daniel Cracco, publisher of Lake George Vacation Guide, and Naomi OReilly. Cracco is the incumbent, having been appointed to the board after the resignation of Lou Buck. Lake George school officials have noted that tax levy increases have dropped steadily from 2003-04, from nearly 9 percent to 3.8 percent this year. Remaining increases are due to increased costs in employee benefits and anew social worker for the high school, they said. Warrensburg has lowest increase in region Warrensburg Central plans to spend $19,481,905 in 2008-09, or 3.21 percent more than the present year. The amount to be raised in local taxes is projected to increase more, or 4.82 percent, because last year the school board used $384,000 in fund balance to lower local taxes and that gap must now be filled, school officials said. The 2008-09 budget also calls for replenishing a portion of that expended reserves, or $75,000, to provide for an unexpected expense. The budget was reduced by eliminating the position of Director of Operations, who had managed both transportation and buildings and grounds. Other cuts were made, including eliminating the ski club, football cheerleading, mentor-teachers and payment for Saturday basketball oversight. Also, a retiring elementary teacher is not being replaced. Warrensburg Centrals vote is occurring 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the elementary school gymnasium. Four school board candidates are vying for two seats. John MicGlire and Carl Thomas are vying for the seat held by Robin Richards-Szabo, who is retiring from the board. Laura Danna and Sheila Mender are competing for the seat held by retiring board member Anthony Trapasso. See accompanying article for details on their candidacies. North Warren budget up 3.82 percent North Warren Central plans to spend $12,393,527 in 2008-09, or 3.82 percent more than the present year. Due to generous state aid, the amount to be raised by taxes is increasing less or 2.59 percent. North Warrens vote is occurring 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the school lobby. Three school board candidates are vying for two seats. The top vote-getter will take office Wednesday, the second highest will begin July 1. Two incumbents, Mike Erickson, and Frank Hill are joined by one newcomer, John Maday, in running for the three open seats. Maday will be assuming the post last occupied by Barbara LaFlure. Boltons vote includes bus proposition Bolton Centrals budget calls for spending $8,014,390 in 2008-09, or 3.24 percent more than the present year. The amount to be raised by taxes is up less, or 2.53 percent. Also before the voters will be a separate proposition to purchase a new full-size school bus for $106,447. Boltons vote is occurring 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the high school gymnasium lobby. Three school board candidates are vying for two seats, with the top two vote-getters gaining election. Current Board president Chris Gabriels and incumbent board member Anna Persons are challenged by local real estate broker and developer Rolf Ronning.

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