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Voters approve budget; trim school board size

CROWN POINT - The Crown Point Central School board of education is a bit leaner.

Voters approved reducing the size of the school board from nine to seven members during balloting May 19. The measure passed, 169-43.

Superintendent Shari Brannock had suggested the current nine-member board may be too large for a small district. She also noted a shortage of candidates, pointing out write-in candidates are routinely elected to the board when no one files petitions for office.

In fact, this year there was just one candidate, incumbent Kimberly Woods. Woods was elected to an open seat with 176 votes.

Also drawing votes were write-in candidates Chris Bruce with 29, Cathy Debrobander with 24 and Brian Kiely with 20.

District residents also approved the 2009-10 budget by a count of 192-23.

The 2009-10 budget totals $6,279,131. That's an increase of $119,612, 1.94 percent, from the current spending plan.

The entire increase can be attributed to special education costs that have jumped $132,994; more than cuts elsewhere can offset.

The district's special education spending accounts for 19 percent of the entire proposed budget.

The 2009-10 tax levy totals $1,410,000, a 2.55 percent increase from the current levy of $1,375,000.

Anticipated tax rate in the budget is $11.14 per $1,000 of assessed value, up from the present rate of $10.86.

To maintain programs Crown Point teachers and seven other employees agreed to forgo pay increases next year, saving the district more than $100,000.

The budget cuts material and supply purchases by 25 percent and trims equipment buys by 50 percent.

Also included in the budget are the elimination of two part-time cafeteria jobs and two teacher aide positions.

It's the second year in a row the district has cut staff.

Crown Point relies on state aid for 64 percent of its budget. State aid for next year is expected to increase 1.3 percent.

The district has 279 students.

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