RCS adopts $42.5M budget

10 teaching positions would be cut--adoption comes by 5-2 vote

The Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk Central School District Board of Education tonight adopted a $42.5 million budget for the 2011-12 school year.

That's a 0.8 percent increase from this year's budget. Under the proposal, the tax levy would increase by 3.4 percent. The budget will go to voters on May 17.

District officials identified $900,000 worth of cuts in the budget, including eight teaching positions (10 if you count retirements that will not be refilled). Clubs, building operating funds and other items are also reduced, and several staff positions will be cut.

The school board adopted the budget in a 5-2 vote, with two members not present.

Dissenting were Michael Robbins and John Vadney, both of whom at a special budget workshop last week insisted there was still fat to be trimmed that could save teachers. At that meeting, the public came out in force to protest the proposed closing of the aquatics center (a $77,000 savings) but Vadney called this proposal an emotional smokescreen deployed by administrators to distract voters from educational issues.

"We voted to keep it open next year, when we never had a motion to close it," he said.

Robbins and Vadney stated tonight they would like to see a more thorough budget process next year. Board member James Latter, a member of the board's Finance Committee, said if anything the board simply needs to better disseminate information next time around.

"We did go through individual line items at each of those meetings," he said.

As of last week it was assumed the tax levy increase would be slightly higher, but the district will use some of the state's $350,000 aid giveback to help offset it. Some of the money was also used to save a teaching position in the foreign language program.

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