School budget cuts debated as decision nears

The loss of the STAR middle-class tax rebate meant most people's school taxes were going up 10 percent this year regardless of the board's actions, he said.

Parent and property owner Karen Padowicz said that considering local economic hardships, the teachers union should have re-opened their contract - which guarantees raises over three years - and given back half of their 4.5 percent pay hike. To this point, the teacher's union has rejected requests to do so.

"I say open your contract for renegotiation. The public is suffering - we're going over the edge, and it turns me off the union signed a contract into 2011 without the community's input," she said. "You shoved the public's face into a door, and it's so disrespectful."

Stony Creek resident Karen LaLone said her five boys had been students at Warrensburg Central and all now have achieved success. Her son Matthew LaLone, she said, although receiving early intervention at WCS, has graduated from Boston College and completed law studies at the University of Connecticut, and now seeks to return to the community to practice law.

"Education here is as good as a private school," she said.

Marcella read four letters sent in to the board offering budget opinions. All four supported substantial cuts.

Property owner Gail Semons agreed with Morey on cutting now to avoid financial crisis in upcoming years.

"You can't just put a Band-Aid on the budget now," she said.

Mary Eaton said her family was financially pressed, but she believed a quality education was worth some financial sacrifices on behalf of taxpayers.

"We live paycheck to paycheck, but I'm willing to go with option C," she said.

Warrensburg Resident Jim Carrion praised the dedication of the teachers, citing Music Instructor Jim Corriveau's work, including his many hours of unpaid work with the theater students in the school's drama productions.

"Education is the number one most important thing in children's lives," he said. "Education is expensive, but the property tax system is a complete failure, and you need to direct your anger toward the state," he said.

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