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Watkins tax levy increases 2.49 percent

    WATKINS GLEN—Residents of the Watkins Glen school district will be voting, Tuesday, May 15, on a $23,218,855 2012-13 budget.
    The proposed tax levy increase would be 2.49 percent.  The district explained that if a person’s home is assessed at $100,000 with STAR exemptions, taxes would increase by $16.
    The budget includes cutting 11 positions and one BOCES support districtwide.  In the budget newsletter, the school board and superintendent explain they wanted to preserve as much educational programming as possible, but keep the tax levy increase within the state mandated tax cap.
    The proposed budget reduced spending by 3.78 percent.  Superintendent Tom Phillips said this is the first decrease in spending in at least the last 25 years.
    The board adds that students have access to art, music, and physical education classes at all three levels.  High school students can also take ACE and AP classes.  Other courses, like Model U.N., Modern Africa, journalism, business education, distance learning, and other advanced technology education is still being offered.
    The largest portion of Watkins’ budget is program at $14,999,160.  The program component pays for instruction, transportation, and employee benefits.  No part of the program increased over the previous year:  $464,073 was cut from instruction and $206,665 was cut from benefits.
    The capital component gets $5,573,761 for maintenance, operations, and debt service.  Decreases came from maintenance ($71,091) and debt service ($39,039).  An increase of $14,000 will be used towards purchasing two buses.
    Administration makes up the final component.  Watkins will spend $2,645,934 in the 2012-13 budget.  The biggest cut comes from curriculum development and supervision ($62,240), followed by employee benefits ($24,608).  Administration covers costs for general support, administration, and personnel.
    Two seats are also open on the Watkins Glen board.  Incumbent Michael Myers and newcomer Kelly McCarthy will be on the ballot.  Robert Dill is not seeking reelection.
    Voting at Watkins Glen will take place from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., at the Watkins Glen district lobby, May 15.





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