Maine-Endwell budget cuts staff, programs

By Michelle Costanza

April 22, 2013 Updated Apr 22, 2013 at 10:56 PM EST

Town of Union, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The Maine-Endwell Board of Education adopted a $44.9 million budget Monday that will significantly reduce programs and staff positions.

The board accepted a 5.9 percent tax levy voters will see next month. If approved, the levy would add nearly $130 in additional taxes per year per $100,000 in property value.

The district received nearly $430,000 in state aid, money that could have gone to offsetting cuts. A majority of residents who responded in a survey that followed said the district should seek a greater levy.

But the school board felt otherwise because the majority wasn't overwhelming enough.

Immense support was shown for areas such as music, math and high school advanced placement courses.

The board agreed Monday to save library and music positions from kindergarten through 12th grade.

If approved by residents, the budget eliminates 70 positions, although 23 are the result of retirements. Some of the instructional positions include:special education, occupational therapy, physical education and 11 classroom teachers.

"We'll need more classroom teachers to pick up more responsibility. In the past we've had specials teachers who were able to help, and now we'll be loosing many of those supports, " said Superintendent Jason Van Fossen.

Some athletic programs are also proposed to be eliminated, including some modified teams.

The the proposed budget is nearly 3.5 percent less than last year.

"This is the year that we're going to reduce, make the tough decisions, and then going forward we'll look to restore programs where we can," Van Fossen said.

A budget hearing will be held on May 9, and the final budget vote is scheduled for May 21.

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