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Schools unveil 2009-10 budget plans

ESSEX COUNTY - Area schools will soon be seeking public response to their proposed budgets for the 2009-2010 school year.

School representatives all emphasized the difficult year for school budget planning, mostly because of large cuts in state aid originally proposed by Gov. David Paterson. Federal stimulus money helped minimize the cuts, but many schools still experienced either flat or reduced state aid.

Here is a summary of the budgets and their anticipated effect on property taxes.

AuSable Valley

At their April 7 meeting, the AVCS Board of Education unanimously approved a spending plan of $26,368,086. The proposed plan represents an increase of $394,583, or 1.52 percent compared to the current budget.

The estimated tax levy increase is $302,041, or 2.9 percent over this year. School superintendent Paul Savage said he is pleased with the proposal as one that is "both educationally and fiscally sound for our schools and communities." "We were able to accomplish the modest increase in the budget and tax levy by staff reductions through attrition, leaves of absence, no overall increase in supplies, consolidation of transportation services, and a long-range plan for monitoring and reducing overall spending," Savage added.

The annual budget presentation is scheduled for May 12, 6:30 p.m. in the middle-high school auditorium.

Elizabethtown-Lewis

As a response to reduction in state aid, Elizabethtown-Lewis Central School Board of Education approved a proposed budget of $7,599,985, a reduction of 1.56 percent compared to this year.

The tax levy will see no change, as long as assessments remain consistent with those surveyed in August 2008. Superintendent Gail Else called the budget a responsible move.

"It helps us to maintain the programs we have been offering here at school," she said, "and we won't be short-suiting anyone."

A hearing on the proposed budget is scheduled for May 12 at 7:30 p.m. in the school's conference room. Voting on the budget will take place from noon to 8 p.m. on May 19. Absentee ballots are available by request at the office.

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