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STATE AID BOOST ALLOWS ADDITION OF JOBS UNDER BUDGET PROPOSAL

Pioneer School District leaders said more state aid will be available for the proposed budget of $38.1 million for the coming school year.

At a School Board meeting earlier this week, district officials said State Legislature budget bills they have reviewed projected an additional $470,000 for the school system.

Board members agreed to restore a number of staff positions and programs to the draft budget.

The proposed budget would add 5.5 positions and reclassify certain teacher's aides as teacher's assistants.

Superintendent Jeff Bowen said specific restorations are based on "district-wide needs and priorities, administrative team input and board guidance."

If adopted as part of the overall budget at a special board meeting scheduled for Tuesday, the proposed additions will enable the district to limit next year's estimated tax rate increase to less than 1 percent.

The $38.1 million proposed budget would raise spending by 5.71 percent from the budget adopted for this year. The tax levy is estimated to increase by $417,381 or 4.6 percent from this year. The estimated tax rate increase of 10 cents per $1,000 of assessed value would amount to 0.71 percent.

The board is scheduled to take final action on next year's spending plan at Tuesday's meeting at 7 p.m. in Pioneer High School on County Line Road. A public hearing on the budget will be held at 7 p.m. May 3 in the high school auditorium.

District residents will vote on the budget from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. May 17 in Pioneer Central School.

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