Ti voters reject school budget proposal

TICONDEROGA-Ticonderoga Central School officials are mulling their options after voters rejected the proposed 2011-12 district budget.

The proposed $19 million spending plan was defeated, 499-443, in voting May 17.

"We will regroup and decide what to do later this week," John McDonald, school superintendent, said after the vote.

The board of education has three options. It can put the same budget proposal up for another vote, it can offer a voters a revised spending plan or it can adopt a contingency budget.

The proposed budget totalled $19,085,916. That's an increase of $979,925 - 5.4 percent - from the current spending plan of $18,105,991.

The proposed tax levy for 2011-12 was $10,049,927. That's a $468,569 increase - 4.9 percent - from the present levy of $9,581,358.

The proposed $468,569 tax levy increase could be attributed to either of two main causes - a $479,452 cut in state aid or a $400,000 payment on the recently completed building project.

The proposed budget contained a lot of cuts. Reductions in textbooks, the district newsletter, library, internal auditing, computers, transportation, athletics, summer school, the annual Whale Watch trip and other items totalled $242,319.

The Ticonderoga Teachers Association decided to assist the district by agreeing to forgo most of its contractual wage increases. Those concessions totalled $320,000.

Teachers were to receive a 5.73 percent wage increase but agreed to waive 85 percent of their raises and skip step increases in their salaries. They also agreed to freeze extracurricular activity pay.

Those concessions, though, weren't enough to prevent job loses in the proposed budget.

The elementary school principal position, an elementary reading teacher, a kindergarten teacher and a teaching assistant were to be eliminated through attrition.

Two teachers and a teaching assistant were to be eliminated by lay off. Three other teachers and a teaching assistant were to become half-time positions.

District administrators have agreed to a pay freeze.

While cuts dominated the proposed budget, there were a few spending increases. Fuel costs for next year are anticipated to increase $25,000 and employee retirement costs are up 14 percent.

Ticonderoga has 904 students and employs about 200 people full- and part-time.

Ticonderoga voters elected Martin Fitzgerald (581 votes), John Reale Sr. (533) and Paula Besson (446) to three seats on the school board. Also running were Dale Quesnel (313 votes), Farley Tierney III (280) and Charles Campney (124).

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