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W'burg to cut staff, JV sports

WARRENSBURG-Warrensburg Central School District faculty and staff may be cut by as many as 12 full-timers this coming school year, if proposals in a draft budget document released by the school this week are implemented.

The proposal also calls for eliminating all Junior Varsity sports and the school's cheerleading program.

The document was released by school administration to the members of the WCS Board of Education's Budget Committee and the Citizens Budget Advisory Committee. These two groups are to meet at 6 p.m. March 14 and discuss the proposals.

The draft cuts are in response to Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposed budget, which would cut $1.26 million from Warrensburg's state aid compared to the current year.

The school district's budget faces additional pressure in light of spiraling costs for fuel, increases in faculty and staff pay, including pensions and health care.

Without these new proposed cuts, it is estimated that Warrensburg School District residents would see their taxes rise by about 18 percent.

With the proposed cuts, however, the increase would be pared down to 2.38 percent over 2010-11, school Business Administrator Cynthia Turcotte said.

The pending "Draft Budget Development Document" calls for eliminating the equivalent of four full-time Special Education instructional positions, one full-time teaching position in the elementary school, two teachers in the high school, two security officer posts, one attendance officer post, and two janitorial positions. The proposal also calls for cutting Occupational Education provided by BOCES which is offered to five students - yielding a savings of $50,000 -plus providing Assistive Technology Services in Warrensburg rather than through BOCES, a savings of $20,000.

With the $46,835 savings from eliminating Junior Varsity sports and cheerleading - a sum of $46,835 - the proposed cuts total $480,318. The estimated cost for fuel oil to heat the elementary and high schools for 2011-12 was adjusted upward by $38,459 in this new draft budget since the figures were computed last month.

Turcotte said the $46,835 figure for JV sports represented coaching stipends, in addition to salaries to physical education teachers.

She said that athletes in the freshman and sophomore years who participated in sports would be absorbed into either the existing Varsity or Modified programs.

"We're trying to make it all work," she said. "It's a tough year, and cuts are needed if taxpayers want to keep their taxes low."

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