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Watkins budget cuts 13 positions

WATKINS GLEN—The Watkins Glen school board approved the 2010-11 budget, with a 3.71 percent increase in the tax levy and 13 staff cuts.
The budget will be voted on by district residents, May 18.  A public hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, May 4, at 6:30 p.m.  Spending increases $71,225, or .31 percent.  The total budget is $23,396,127.
The average tax rate raised to $11.62 per thousand, from $11.21.  The tax levy increase is 3.71 percent.
The budget includes cutting nine instructional positions, two teaching assistants, and one administrative position.  A number of the staff reductions are because of retirements. The nine instructional positions are: driver education, art, English, special education, reading (two), elementary education, foreign language, and academic support.
Superintendent Tom Phillips said the district would restructure personnel to fill any gaps created.  He added the staff cuts are necessary to cover an approximate $825,000 cut in state aid, based on Gov. Paterson’s budget.
In other business:
The school board heard from Ken Williams, secretary for the Watkins Glen Public Library Board of Trustees, about the library’s budget.  He said the budget total is $164,225.  The proposed tax levy increase is $3,690, or 3.25 percent.  The budget vote will be May 5, from 2 to 8 p.m. at the library.  A public hearing will be held April 28, running from 1 to 4 p.m.
• All students entering grade nine will now have to pass five Regents exams to graduate.  Phillips said the Department of Education’s commissioner sent a letter to the Regents board about ways to cut costs, but the districts have to proceed as is with this new requirement.
• The board approved the Senior All-Night Party and use of school buses.
• The board approved the purchase of a new riding auto scrubber for cleaning the school hallways.  The current one is nine years old.
The next workshop meeting is Monday, April 26 at 5:45 p.m.  The next regular board meeting will be Tuesday, May 4.  It is expected to start at 6:30 p.m., following a 5:45 p.m. executive session. 

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