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JCS budget cuts tax levy 10%

JOHNSBURG - Voters in the Johnsburg school district will go to vote May 17 on a budget that proposes at 10 percent reduction to the 2011-2012 tax levy - a reduction much larger than any other in the region.

The budget proposes a total tax levy of about $5.8 million, $5.2 million generated from taxes. The total proposed budget of $9.85 million is a two percent or $205,700 - reduction from the current budget.

From those numbers, the finance committee has estimated that the tax rate per $1,000 of assessed property will be $9.40, down from last year's $10.45.

Several savings and cuts have been made within the district to reach the proposed numbers, according to superintendent mike Markwica.

Johnsburg Central School saved about $300,000 when faculty and staff changed health insurance plans and made salary concessions.

In addition, JCS eliminated some programming including a home and careers position and driver's education, reduced busing needs, and cut back on supply and field trip budgets.

"We are losing programs and the school is going to feel it," said Markwica. "But I think that we have come up with a very fiscally responsible budget."

Voters in Johnsburg will also vote on three school board positions next week. Incumbents Thomas Ordway, Erwin Morris and Tara Sears have again submitted petitions and will be running for re-election.

Challenging them will be three write-in candidates who are running campaigns under the watchdog group, Johnsburg Central School Citizen Budget Committee.

Carmine Bellotti, David Braley and Anthony Moro are the members seeking a seat on the board, running as write-in candidates because they were unable to file their necessary paperwork on time.

"We see write-in candidates every year," said Markwica.

Despite being a write-in, Braley is optimistic about their chances.

"There is no doubt that a write-in campaign is more difficult, but if we win it will mean a huge mandate from the voting public for sustainable school expenditures," he said.

The write-in candidates are running on a hefty platform. Among the issues are opposition to expensive class size reduction, to bolster student achievement and cut expenditures.

"With proper budgeting, prudent fiscal management and tough negotiating we believe that we can improve student achievement and lower expenditures to a sustainable level," said Braley. "We would be helping both the school and the hard pressed district taxpayer."

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