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South Colonie approves budget

Voters approved an $88.6 million budget for the 2009-2010 school year on Tuesday, May 21, by a margin of 1,495-to-692.

The budget represents a 0.38 percent budget-to-budget spending increase over last year's $88.2 million budget and an estimated 1.92 percent tax levy increase over last year's $61.1 million levy.

The budget voting process was the first that Superintendent of Schools Jonathan Buhner was acting superintendent during.

It was my first one here, and obviously it was a challenging year, he said. "I think we worked hard to make the correct decisions for programming for the kids and district."

The budget came with the following reductions and adjustments: a savings of $320,334 with the elimination of energy performance debt service; a $217,957 reduction in total debt service, including the savings of $600,000 that will come from unused capital project funds to reduce overall debt services; a $60,000 elimination of an administrative internship position; a $73,000 cut in teaching assistant positions; $225,000 in savings with the elimination of 10 temporary monitor positions throughout the district; $955,000 saved with the elimination of 17 teaching positions K-12; $30,000 saved through the elimination of an operations and maintenance vehicle; $10,000 saved with a reduction in interscholastic athletic expenses due to rule changes with the New York State High School Athletic Association, which decreases travel costs and expenses for officials; $30,000 in savings from the reduction of extra classroom assignments at the high school; a $10,000 reduction in summer part-time clerical support; a $350,000 reduction in the New York Teacher's Retirement System rate/expense for 2009-2010; $275,000 reduced by limiting the use of the reserve fund to reduce costs of workers compensation insurance, tax certioraris and unemployment insurance; a $30,000 reduction of mid-day transportation expenses (this will come with the transition to full-day kindergarten in all five elementary buildings; a $50,000 savings with the elimination of one social worker position; a $39,000 reduction in energy costs at the high school after transitioning the library's heat from electric to hot water; $11,400 saved with the elimination of Lisha Kill administrative aides; $30,000 saved with the elimination of one clerical position; a $60,500 reduction in instructional and transportation equipment; and an undetermined amount of money to be saved with the restricted use of air conditioning.

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