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Board OKs budget with 3.2% tax hike

The Alden Central School Board unanimously approved a preliminary budget of $29.2 million Thursday night.

After a week of tweaking the 2007-08 spending plan, district Business Administrator Carol Ranke said the tax levy increase stood at 3.2 percent -- reduced from 5 percent earlier in the week.

Ranke and district officials said they believe voters will accept this version of the spending plan.

"This is a responsible budget that will allow us to build on our successful programs," she said. "It will also allow us to maintain the fiscal stability that we have held for the last five years."

Superintendent Lynn Marie Fusco said faculty and administrators worked hard to extract economies from the budget.

"We had to sharpen our pencils and take another whack at it," Fusco said. "After the last work session we listened to comments and made significant adjustments."

Voters will see the following proposals on the ballot:

*The proposed budget -- an increase of 3.9 percent from this year's spending plan -- and featuring a tax levy of 3.2 percent.

*The purchase of six new school buses using $540,000 in reserve spending.

*Dedicating a reserve to be tapped for future transportation needs in the district.

"As we deplete the existing [reserve], we need to establish a new one [reserve]," Ranke said. "This is at no extra cost to the taxpayers."

The budget will be presented during a public beginning at 7 p.m. May 8. The district vote will be May 15.

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