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Ticonderoga school athletic programs at risk

Budget options call for sports, personnel cuts

Facing a $540,000 budget gap, the Ticonderoga Central School board of education has identified three possible options to keep the 2013-14 spending plan within the state tax cap. All the options include cutting school sports programs and non-mandated classes such as art and music. Each also calls for personnel cuts.

Facing a $540,000 budget gap, the Ticonderoga Central School board of education has identified three possible options to keep the 2013-14 spending plan within the state tax cap. All the options include cutting school sports programs and non-mandated classes such as art and music. Each also calls for personnel cuts.

— —Scenario #1 eliminates all athletic programs, cuts all extracurricular activities, cuts some non-mandated academic programs and eliminates 11 full-time equivalent positions;

—Scenario #2 offers only “lifetime” sports cross country, track, bowling and golf, cuts most extracurricular activities, reduces non-mandated academic programs and eliminates 14 full-time equivalent positions.

—Scenario #3 retains the present varsity and modified sports programs, but cuts all junior varsity teams, cuts some extracurricular activities, reduces non-mandated academic programs and eliminates 15 full-time equivalent positions.

McDonald doesn’t believe Ticonderoga residents want Scenario #1, calling it the “least likely” proposal to have taxpayer support. Athletic and extracurricular programs are important to the community, he said, although they cost about $300,000 a year.

“I hope people will attend the public hearings and voice their feelings,” McDonald said. “We developed three scenarios so people could have a say in the budget proposal.”

After hearing from taxpayers the Ti school board will consider the three options and select one to be included in the final budget proposal. That spending plan will then go voters May 21.

Should voters reject Ticonderoga’s proposed budget May 21 the district can resubmit it for another vote. If the plan is defeated again, the district must go to a contingency budget.

“A contingency budget really scares me,” McDonald said. “It would be devastating to our school.”

State regulations require a no tax increase in a contingency budget. That would mean an addition $389,854 in budget cuts, no athletic or extracurricular programs and the elimination of 24 full-time equivalent jobs.

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