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School board members uncovering expenses to trim

WARRENSBURG - The process of crafting a more thrifty school district budget gathered momentum this week as the Warrensburg Central School Board members revealed they were researching dozens of ways to trim expenses in the local schools, a few dollars at a time.

Their preliminary cost-cutting proposals, which now total an estimated $233,000, include unplugging a cable television in the school district bus garage, yanking pay phones from the schools and reducing frequency of trash pickup.

Monday, Warrensburg School District Business Manager Kevin Polunci told board members that State Aid would likely decrease $356,847 for the 2009-10 school year from its present $19.5 million spending plan.

Board members have talked in recent weeks of cutting costs up to 10 percent - or maintain a zero local property tax increase, and they've suggested reopening the teacher's union contract to reduce pending pay increases or shift a percentage of the rising cost of benefits to the teachers.

Instructional costs are now $10.5 million annually in the school district.

Tax savings of personnel cost reductions would likely be a hefty amount - and negotiations with the Warrensburg Teachers Association to reopen the contract are still pending. But meanwhile, progress has been made on dozens of little expenses that will likely make a difference, school officials said.

Monday, Board Budget Committee Chair Linda Marcella said her panel was actively researching cost-cutting measures, and had already come up with potential ways to save the taxpayers $233,000 by examining expenses, item by item, in several aspects of the district's operation.

The school district could save about $2,500 by scrapping their postage meter and save up to $10,000 per year by hiring Mailings Made Easy to handle bulk mailing chores, Marcella said.

A change in trash removal from five days per week to four at the elementary school has now been enacted on a trial basis, and it may save $3,000 per year, she said.

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