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BUDGET CALLS FOR SPENDING $13.8 MILLION

Franklinville Central School officials hope the proposed 6.9 percent increase in spending next year will restore all program cuts made over the last five years.

Last week, the School Board accepted the tentative $13.86 million spending plan and scheduled a vote by district residents for May 10.

The tax rate would increase an estimated 2.5 percent, or 50 cents per $1,000 assessed value. This would add about $10 to the tax bill of the average home, District Superintendent Terence M. Dolan said.

An increase in state aid has reduced the tax rate increase. Budget deliberations had begun with projected increases of 5.2 percent in the tax levy and 3.7 percent in the tax rate. At that time, the board considered drawing $400,000 from its reserve fund to hold down the tax increase.

Dolan said he expects the district to receive an additional $220,000 in state aid. That will allow the board to reduce the amount taken from the reserve fund to $235,000 as well as reduce the projected tax levy.

The budget adds about $5,000 for field trips in both the elementary and secondary grades and provides almost $9,000 for sports and athletic programs at all grade levels, a return to almost full funding.

"We were close (in recent years' funding of sports)," Dolan said. "We've been inching our way back."

Dolan added that field trips had been eliminated in past years because of cuts in state aid.

If voters approve the budget, funding for Blount Library, which is planning an expansion, will increase to $9,000 from $3,000.

"I've always felt it's something we should do, and I want to connect up with them a little more. It is a pretty important community operation," Dolan said

This year, Dolan also hopes to receive approval for $5,000 for performance arts.

The budget also includes $40,000 for a teacher to restore the art program to its 2001 level and add an art program for the gifted and talented. Dolan described the arts focus as a "philosophy statement."

Another $40,000 will continue a remedial reading program for seventh- and eighth-graders by paying for a teacher previously compensated through a grant.

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