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Public hearing Monday on NW school budget

CHESTERTOWN - The North Warren Central School Board's proposed 2009-2010 budget, reflecting a reorganizational plan which includes eliminating the position of elementary principal and three teaching positions, is the subject of a public hearing to be held 7 p.m. Monday at the school.

The 2009-2010 budget of $12,488,408, reflecting a .77 percent increase in spending over the current year, goes to the voters in less than two weeks. The budget represents an increase in total tax levy of 1.13 percent.

The public vote on the budget is set for noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday May 19 in the school atrium.

The spending plan includes abolishing the elementary principal post, a proposal that has sparked controversy. The position has been held for six years by Susan Bulmer, who has been praised for her performance by both parents and teachers. Bulmer's responsibilities will be redistributed among other administrators.

Also eliminated in the cost-saving downsizing will be one of two business teacher positions, one of five reading teacher posts, and a special education position.

Superintendent Joe Murphy has said the downsizing decisions were made based on sinking enrollment. The number of students enrolled in North Warren Central has declined from about 670 in 1995 to about 600 this year.

Elimination of the positions saves taxpayers about $275,000 in pay and benefits.

The school reorganization includes grouping teachers into four teams for primary grades, level three through five, middle school grades, and high school level. Regardless of several class consolidations, Murphy said, classes will be ranging from 12 to 20 pupils, with an average size of about 17.

Two board of education seats are open, and incumbents Bruce Robbins and Bruce Hiller, both of Chestertown, will be on the ballot, uncontested, for additional terms.

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