Schenectady County

Duanesburg school budget passes on 2nd try

Residents soundly passed the Duanesburg Central School District’s second 2008-09 budget proposal Tue
PHOTOGRAPHER:

Residents soundly passed the Duanesburg Central School District’s second 2008-09 budget proposal Tuesday by a vote of 569-355.

The 214-vote margin was a reversal of the 312-316 vote that sank the initial $14.8 million budget proposal last month. Superintendent Christine Crowley said the budget approval allows the district to avoid making the devastating cuts that would have been mandated under a contingency budget.

“I am ecstatic,” she said after the budget passed. “We are extremely grateful for the community’s support of the revised budget.”

The Board of Education trimmed $51,000 from the initial budget proposal, dropping the proposed tax rate increase from 3.98 percent to 3.2 percent. Overall spending will increase by 5.8 percent, according to the revised budget.

Among their cuts, board members substantially reduced the district’s field trip budget, trimmed 13 club adviser positions, and lowered teacher conference allotments. They also trimmed one of two late-afternoon buses, travel for sports team scrimmages and eliminated an unfilled boys’ volleyball coach position.

District officials would have been required to cut an additional $140,000 from the budget, had the most recent proposal failed.

In the days leading up to the vote, some district residents voiced opposition to the board’s cuts, arguing they were cutting the wrong programs. Some were angered over the board’s decision to keep Spanish language teaching at the elementary school level while cutting off funding for New Visions, a program through the Capital District BOCES that allows a select group of students to gain work experience in journalism, law and health.

Crowley said the initial budget proposal suffered from low voter turnout and misinformation in the community. She said the board intends to start the budget process in October this year, so there is a greater opportunity for residents to get involved in the planning process.

“We’re going to do a better job getting people to come out,” she said.

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