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Westport approves 2.85 tax levy to put before voters

Community forums planned

The Westport Central School District approved it’s budget of $5,408,000 for the 2012-2013 school year to put before voters.

The budget will be a 2.85 percent tax levy increase and will amount to a $74,303 increase from the 2011-2012 operating budget. According to the District Treasurer Cynthia Moody, the levy will average a $45 annual increase for property owners with a home assessed at $150,000.

School Superintendent John Gallagher said the district was able to establish this budget by reducing BOCES spending by $25,721, the elimination of a full teaching position and by using $224,866 of the districts fund balance.

Gallagher said the use of the fund balance shouldn’t hinder the reserve to maintain the mandated 4 percent by the end of the year.

On March 1, English teacher Scott Gibbs turned in his letter of retirement which will go into affect in July of this year.

“Earlier drafts of our budget called from reductions in other areas after receiving Mr. Gibbs letter of retirement, we were able keep more in our budget,” Gallagher said.

Gibbs position as English teacher for grades 7 through 12 will not be replaced. Gibbs teaching responsibilities will instead be given to Academic Intervention Services instructor, Vicki Wolinsky. Gallagher said Wolingsky’s AIS services will divided among faculty members.

The school will also be making cuts to electives offered to students. Gallagher said the guidance office is currently in the process of meeting with students to apply for classes they would like to include in their schedule for the 2012-2013 school year. Electives with the least amount of interest may not be offered. Faculty hope to allow students the opportunity to take the courses they desire.

“We are making every effort to make sure incoming seniors won’t loose the opportunity to take electives they were expecting to have available to them next year,” Principal Michele Friedman said.

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