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School budget trounced in Lake George, approved elsewhere

WARRENSBURG - While the Lake George Central School 2011-12 budget was crushed 389-911 Tuesday by local voters, the spending plans of three other northern Warren County school districts - North Warren, Warrensburg and Bolton - passed handily, and superintendents of the latter three districts expressed thanks to voters for recognizing the cost-cutting and scrutiny that school officials invested in the financial plans.

Lake George's budget was the only one in Warren County to be rejected, and its projected tax levy increase of 3.98 percent, bore the largest percent increase in the area. The $20.5 million in proposed expenditures represented a 2.63 percent increase in spending over the 2010-11 year.

In recently published letters to the editor and a flyer circulated throughout the town before the vote, this increase was criticized in light of the school's falling enrollment.

The Lake George Central school board now must decide whether to put another proposal before the voters or adopt a contingency budget. Efforts to reach Lake George School officials were unsuccessful Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.

In the Warrensburg School District, the 2011-12 budget passed by a vote of 379 to 327, with a proposition to create a capital reserve fund of $600,000 for school facility repairs passing 389 to 194. The 2011-2012 budget calls for total spending of $19 million and $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.

Minutes after the tally, WCS Superintendent Tim Lawson was all smiles about the results which concluded a protracted budget-crafting process that started last year.

"We're thankful for those who turned out in support of the budget and proposition," he said. "This vote enables us to maintain the curriculum and programs that we've come to expect."

In Tuesday's vote, Incumbent school board member Linda Baker Marcella, known for her budget-trimming tendencies, defeated challenger Terri Leguire by a vote of 418 to 300.

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