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WCS School board approves trimmed budget, axes teaching position

The personnel cuts call for eliminating a high school Science position, one high school English position, a Special Education post, and a Driver's Education post.

The elimination of the science position, now held by William McGinn who was granted retirement effective June 30, will eliminate 7th Grade Advanced Placement Science as a separate course. Those students who would have taken the course will now join the regular 8th grade science course, High School Principal Doug Duell said.

The position cut would also mean the remaining Science teachers would teach six classes per day instead of five.

Teachers' Union representative Mark Mularz said he opposed the cuts, particularly the Science post.

"This will have a huge impact on the program," he said.

The union didn't accept school board attempts to negotiate reopening the existing multi-year teachers' work contract, which provides raises for WCS teachers.

Board members had warned months ago that if the teachers didn't accept a pay freeze, positions would likely be cut.

Warrensburg Resident Carol Birkholz, chair of the Warren County Conservative Party, said she opposed the cuts.

"If you promote good quality education the town will grow, which will lower everybody's taxes," she said. "This negativity, which continues to divide the community, may end up raising taxes for local citizens."

No one from the audience, which included dozens of teachers, spoke in favor of the board's budget. But board president Tom Yarmowich said the board members had received many letters calling for cuts in spending.

"This is consistent with reality for similar districts," he said, adding that the new budget represented progress in achieving fiscal responsibility.

Board member Brian Lace offered stronger words.

"The economy is spiraling downward, and if we didn't make cuts, we'd have a catastrophic situation."

This 2009-2010 budget, as well as two board seats go up for public vote May 16.

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