Residents to vote May 17 on school budgets

WARRENSBURG-Voters across the region will be casting ballots Tuesday on whether to approve their local school districts' 2011-12 budgets, and their vote culminates a lengthy struggle for most area school boards in crafting financial plans.

The various boards of education had to devise ways to keep taxes low - because of voter sentiment and prevailing economic conditions - while dealing with ballooning costs for fuel, employee health care and retirement plans in the face of reduced State Aid.

In the Warrensburg Central School District, initial forecasts called for cuts to many programs and positions in order to keep any tax increase at a minimum - but most of the posts and programs were restored in the final budget draft.

The 2011-2012 proposed budget calls for total spending of $19,017,270, a sum of $7,987,307 to be raised by taxes, which is an increase of $150,896 over last year - despite a decrease in total expenditures of nearly $500,000. The tax levy is estimated to reflect a 1.9 percent increase over 2010-11.

The budget gap of $808,500 is to be drawn from fund balances and reserves. The budget calls for eliminating three instructional positions, reducing undergraduate sports contests, elimination of two cleaner positions, and bringing back some students in Special Education and Career education programs to the Warrensburg campus, from BOCES.

The vote is set for 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday May 17 at the High School, a new site for the polling.

An additional proposition calls for putting away $600,000 from unappropriated funds to a Capital Reserve Fund for the replacement of the high school roof and other vital facility improvements.

Also, two board member candidates, incumbent Linda Marcella Baker and challenger Terri Leguire, are up for election to a four-year term.

In the North Warren, Bolton and Lake George school districts, elections for school board seats are uncontested.

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