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Mohonasen teachers approve salary freeze

Pacheco said the governor needs to be pressured to provide adequate funding for education, and she didn't want the cuts to education deterring the progress within the district. Parents and teachers met with state legislators near the end of March to address state aid reductions to education in the district.

"We will remember in November who stood up for our students," said Pacheco. "We will do whatever it takes to support the right of our students to a high quality public education."

During the budget presentation, Spring disputed previous comments made by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, saying an across-the-board salary freeze wouldn't close the funding gap and reserves cannot be drained since they are in place for specific purposes. She also said mandate relief wasn't realized for the current budget.

"State aid formulas seems to favor the downstate wealthier districts," said Spring. "There was a lot of talk about mandate relief this year and nothing came to fruition."

She expressed concern about the purposed property tax cap, saying it would only add to the problem and complicate things further, as state and federal aid decreases for the district.

State aid was reduced by $3.4 million, but was offset by $800,000 in federal education jobs money. The reduction in federal stimulus money also dropped by almost $1.5 million too. The total reduction for aid coming to the district for the 2011-12 budget is projected to be $4.07 million.

To achieve the purposed 2.5 percent tax levy increase, the district cut nearly $2.8 million from its budget. The district addressed keeping class sizes down after hearing concerns from faculty and parents during the budget forums.

The estimated tax increase for the average home in Rotterdam assessed at $150,000 would be about $56.91 for the 2011-12 budget, totaling $2,335.

Pacheco said after the salary freeze was approved that teachers have shown they are doing their part in trying to help maintain educational and programming standards and the district and urged community members to vote in favor of the proposed budget.

"Everyone is taking a little bit of a sacrifice, and we hope the community will also help us out in reaching our goals to not jeopardize our students education," she said. "We will be able to support the rights the students have to a quality education Mohonasen can provide and has provided.""

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