Three teaching positions spared the axe

WARRENSBURG - The Warrensburg Central School Board backtracked Monday, March 2 and reinstated three of the five teaching positions that were set to be cut in an effort to reach a zero percent budgetary increase over the current $19.5 million dollar budget.

When the meeting came to order, the draft preliminary budget for fiscal year 2009-2010 featured the elimination of two elementary positions through attrition and another through firing. Further, two high school positions, driver's education and a staff English department position were also set to be eliminated.

Due to the reinstatement of the teaching positions, the 2009-2010 budgetary draft has a $21,000 increase instead of the $353,000 decrease the board had previously desired, officials said.

According to Gov. David Paterson's proposed budget, WCS may lose up to $353,000 in state aid, which prompted the board to look into staffing reductions and the elimination of some programs including summer school. WCS relies on more than $10 million in state aid annually, with the remaining $9.5 million falling to the local tax-base.

WCS Business Administrator Kevin Polunci said the elimination of the five positions, combined with program cuts including summer school would make up for the shortfall.

However, concerns over a drastic drop in academic quality prompted the board to reinstate the three teaching positions.

The board reinstated a third grade teaching position, the driver's education position, the English position and the summer school program. A fifth grade position and a special education position are still on the cutting block.

"This board needs to decide whether it is going to look at quality of the programs or dollars first," said Warrensburg Teachers Association President Marc Mularz. "Are we going to say that we are going to provide a second class education-- that we can't provide the education found in other area school districts like Lake George and North Warren."

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