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Watkins, Odessa votes set for Tuesday

SCHUYLER COUNTY—Residents in the Watkins Glen and Odessa-Montour school districts have the opportunity to vote on the 2011-12 budgets and board of education candidates, Tuesday, May 17.
Watkins Glen voting hours are from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.  Voting hours for Odessa-Montour are from noon to 8 p.m.  Both districts also have unopposed candidates running for school board seats.
The Watkins Glen 2011-12 proposed budget is $24,131,699.  Total spending increased 3.14 percent, while the tax levy increased 4.5 percent.  District Treasurer Gayle Sedlack said the proposed budget also includes the purchase of two buses.  The district purchases replacement buses without borrowing, thus saving the costs related to interest and bond insurance.
The budget is broken up into three parts: administrative, program, and capital (operations and maintenance).  The largest portion is program, equaling $15,772,098.  Capital is $5,649,795 and administrative is $2,709,806.
Superintendent Tom Phillips said the district looked at decreasing the capital portion of the budget when it created the public committee on closing the middle school building.
The Odessa-Montour 2011-12 school budget equals $15,091,456.  Spending is up 3.74 percent over the current budget.  The tax levy increase on the proposed budget is two percent.
When broken down into the three components, administration is $1,891,641.96.  This is up .71 percent over the current year.  The biggest decrease in that area is in curriculum development and supervision, at 19.39 percent.
Program equals $10,085,852.48, down 2.13 percent.  Teaching and regular schools, which includes salaries and supplies, had a 10.53 percent decrease.
The capital component equals $3,113,961.56 and increased 31.8 percent.  This area covers transportation, maintenance, employee benefits, and school construction costs.  District Treasurer Greg Dale explained benefits went up, but salaries themselves went down.
At the public hearing on the budget, Tuesday, May 4, residents asked about bus purchases.  Superintendent Jim Frame said the district purchases buses in a rotation.  He explained that gets a lot of aid and voters approve the plan.
Schuyler County Legislator Barbara Halpin said one of the problems for the county is high tax rates.  Board Member Matt Walters responded about the district accepting building grants.  He said they are in an unfortunate situation.  If Odessa-Montour gets a grant the money comes from the taxpayers.  However, if they don’t accept the grant another school will.




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