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Students, parents voice concerns over budget cuts

"Coaches - are your hearts in your bank accounts, or with the kids?" he said.

Resident Mary Eaton disagreed with Curry on capping taxes, voicing support for restoring the amounts cut in personnel and programs.

"To think we can keep taxes to a zero percent increase is crazy," she said, adding that area residents want to retain the quality of education. She noted that WCS has been ranked in the top fifth of all public schools in the Capital Region. She added that Warrensburg teachers earned their salaries.

"The teachers' salaries are not exorbitant," she said.

Several people suggested that parents launch sports booster clubs to support the athletic programs in the school.

Proposed personnel changes under the draft budget call for eliminating security monitor positions at both schools, cutting two night cleaner positions and shifting two day janitors into their posts.

Several citizens speaking out suggested novel ways of balancing the budget.

School Board Member Jim Carrion and Citizens Budget Advisory Board member Sheila Mender proposed that the elementary school building be sold, and all students, kindergarten through grade 12, be instructed in the high school building to save personnel and fuel costs. Carrion said students could be taught in double shifts.

Lawson said later that such a proposal was not possible under existing state laws governing school facilities, but if such an measure were undertaken, about half the district's students would be attending classes until 8 p.m. or so.

Among those speaking out was Technology instructor Brandon Donato, whose position is under consideration for elimination.

"This is not about me, it's about the kids and their education," he said. "I will survive, but the kids need their classes to get their life skills."

School board member Laura Danna advocated to retain the teachers and programs.

"We've had two years of zero-percent increases, and I'm very concerned this is going to effect students and the quality of education we offer," she said.

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