Mohonasen budget passes

Voters approved Mohonasen Central School District's $41.94 million budget, 1094 to 591, on Tuesday, May 20.

The proposed budget represents a 4 percent increase over the $40.3 million 2007-2008 budget.

Officials also project a 2.6 percent tax levy increase from $20.8 million in 2007-2008 to $21.36 million in 2008-2009.

The tax levy is the lowest in 10 years and this budget adds a lot of things that we had to cut two years ago, said Superintendent Kathleen Spring.

Spring credits the relatively low increase with a record $18.92 million in state aid, she said.

The state aid falls into several categories, including aid for BOCES programs, technology and hardware, and building aid.

The district will also receive $12.49 million in Foundation Aid in 2008-2009, up from $11.1 million last year. Spring said that Foundation Aid could be spent on anything from programs to salaries to employee benefits.

Instruction expenses top the list of expenditures in the 2008-2009 budget. Spring also said that programmatic additions to the budget, like a full-day kindergarten pilot program, are a testament to ways the district continues to add services while keeping its cost per pupil low.

Spring said tax rate information should be available in August.

Those who voted against the budget were quick to decry increased taxes in a slumping economy.

"Taxes are too high," said resident Peter Leamy, "and this is too much."

Still, 65 percent of voters came down in favor of the budget, many of them saying that a slight budget increase could be seen as an investment in the district's young people.

"They're our future," said "yes" voter and district parent Brian Hughes.

Along with the budget, voters passed a $430,000 bus proposition that will add two full-size, 66-passenger buses and four 22-passenger buses with wheelchair accessibility, 1153 to 523.

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