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$58.5 MILLION BUDGET GOES TO VOTERS MAY 17

The School Board has adopted a $58.5 million budget for 2005-06 that will be voted on by the public May 17.

Board members voted unanimously Tuesday on the budget, which will increase the local tax levy 1.9 percent. The spending plan is 4.3 percent higher than the $56.1 million package passed a year ago.

The budget includes increased state aid of more than $876,000. Superintendent Ray Fashano says that if the so-called growth aid -- based on a school district increasing its enrollment -- doesn't come to the district, school officials can still make some adjustments without having to cut any teaching positions. The growth aid totals about $235,000.

Of his staff, Fashano said, "They've done a marvelous job of getting it down to a level that I think meets the needs of the children but at the same time tries to keep the local taxpayers' wallets in mind."

A public hearing on the budget will be held at 7 p.m. May 4 at Ring School. Assistant Superintendent Dale Weatherlow will give a presentation on the spending plan and answer questions from the audience.

There is one problem.

Board Clerk/Secretary Suzanne Caronia is working with Jamestown City Clerk Shirley Sanfillipo on the matter of voting machines. A special election to fill the vacant seat of the late state Sen. Patricia McGee will be held May 10.

Those machines will have to be set aside for 30 days following the election. Jamestown has 35 voting machines and 24 will be used on May 10. That will leave 11 for the School District budget vote on May 17.

Fashano believes that will be sufficient, but still wants the matter looked into.

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