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SCOTIA: District begins to build budget

Residents of the Scotia-Glenville School District can expect the school budget proposal for 2007-2008 to be similar to those in years past. School board members said they intend to continue with the same goals of improving education while keeping tax increases at a minimum.

The board began discussing a budget timeline at the Monday, Feb. 26, meeting that included talks of enhanced elective offerings, additional elementary art programs, and an expanded foreign language program.

Sometimes operational goals are finance goals as well. This can include supplies, maintenance, field trips and so on. When building this budget, we will continue to have goals strategies, a long-range plan and will look toward the future, said Superintendent Susan Swartz.

Much of the budget planning is contingent on Gov. Eliot Spitzer's proposals for increased aid for New York schools. Schools districts are not sure what the increase may mean, but they are hopeful the additional funding will help offset school taxes.

Board president Margaret Smith said the board hopes for more clarity on what sort of funding their schools would be getting under the governor's proposed budget.

"As a district we hope to capitalize on EXCEL aid to help with improvements to our buildings," said Smith.

Smith said the board hopes the increases in the STAR tax program will benefit residents as well.

Smith also said the board is hoping Spitzer's proposal includes additional funding for their special education program.

As they put together their budget for the next school year, Swartz recommends focusing on enrichment in the arts, special education, physical education and athletic programs, technology, and infrastructure and school safety.

Preliminary calculations show a budget increase of $1,335,697 over the 2006-2007 school year, a 3.18 percent increase over last year, although Swartz warns the numbers mean little this early in the budget "season."

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