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School board approves trimmed budget, axes teaching positions

"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 19.

Art teacher Pat Sullivan asked the board to inform the public how they'd interpret a "no" vote from the public - whether the board would respond by making deeper cuts, or restore programs and personnel in line with the sentiments expressed at the meetings. Yarmowich didn't answer Sullivan, but to say the board would decide.

Yarmowich then cut off public comment, and the board went behind closed doors to discuss a personnel issue.

Outside the closed doors, local resident Jim Carrion, a retired police officer, said why he was running against Yarmowich May 16 for his seat on the board.

"The community has been divided by this budget process, and I want to get the board and the community back together again," he said.

A second board seat is also open, with Melissa Thomas choosing not to run again. Beth Callahan and Harry Rafferty are running for Thomas' seat, Yarmowich announced.

In other business, granted tenure at the Monday meeting were Secondary English teachers Michelle Guldersleeve and Meredith Amberger, Elementary Music Teacher Matthew Dickson, and Primary Remedial Reading Teacher Karen Luyk. Also granted tenure were District Business Manager Kevin Polunci and Elementary Principal Amy Langworthy, a Warrensburg Graduate in the 1980s.

Langworthy's appointment decision was greeted with rousing cheers from the audience.

In addition to William McGinn, retirement was granted to Secondary A.I.S. Math teachers Nancy Hill and Robert Brown, and 5th Grade Elementary Teacher Gerald Howe.

Teacher Eric Egan, who had instructed the Driver's Education program for decades, also was granted retirement, although sources close to Egan said he had sought to remain at Warrensburg High teaching the course.

High School Assistant Principal Steve Nolan reported that discipline problems had declined dramatically so far this year, with 145 total suspension incidents occurring.

The annual budget hearing in Thurman is to be held at 7 p.m. May 4 in the Thurman Town Hall, and the hearing in Warrensburg is set for 7 p.m. May 11 in the high school cafetorium.

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