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Board weighs 2 budgets

After debating two proposed 2006-07 budgets during a special meeting Tuesday night, the School Board seemed to agree to seeking a final figure somewhere between the two.

One budget at $57.8 million represents a 2.03 percent budget-to-budget increase. The other, $58.1 million, would bring a 2.58 percent increase.

Originally, the budget was projected at $60.2 million, requiring a 6 percent increase. Last week, the board directed Superintendent John H. George to return with two budgets below that.

The budget with the 2.03 percent increase would require a tax rate increase of 7 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation and the other, an increase of 23 cents. Currently, the tax rate is $22.28 per $1,000 assessed valuation.

"It will be virtually the same situation as last year. The tax rate would be almost identical," said George.

The budget with the 2.03 percent increase includes $1.9 million in cuts, while the other would cut $1.5 million.

Projected cuts would include high school electives such as art, music, library-media skills, technology, business, physical education, advanced placement and the gifted and talented program.

Other cuts include three full-time elementary-level teachers, bringing $180,531 in savings. Replacing six retiring teachers with new teachers would save $232,081 and administrative costs would be cut by $50,000.

Also, building budgets will be reduced by $54,646; department budgets by $59,825. The district also expects transportation costs to be cut by about $117,081 with the implementation of full-day kindergarten.

The board will adopt a budget at the next regular meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the district's administration building at 175 Humphrey St.

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