WARRENSBURG - While the Lake George Central School 2011-12 budget was crushed 389-911 Tuesday by local voters, the spending plans of three other northern Warren County school districts - North Warren, Warrensburg and Bolton - passed handily, and superintendents of the latter three districts expressed thanks to voters for recognizing the cost-cutting and scrutiny that school officials invested in the financial plans.
Lake George's budget was the only one in Warren County to be rejected, and its projected tax levy increase of 3.98 percent, bore the largest percent increase in the area. The $20.5 million in proposed expenditures represented a 2.63 percent increase in spending over the 2010-11 year.
In recently published letters to the editor and a flyer circulated throughout the town before the vote, this increase was criticized in light of the school's falling enrollment.
The Lake George Central school board now must decide whether to put another proposal before the voters or adopt a contingency budget. Efforts to reach Lake George School officials were unsuccessful Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.
In the Warrensburg School District, the 2011-12 budget passed by a vote of 379 to 327, with a proposition to create a capital reserve fund of $600,000 for school facility repairs passing 389 to 194. The 2011-2012 budget calls for total spending of $19 million and $7,987,307 to be raised by taxes, which is an increase of $150,896 over last year - despite a decrease in total expenditures of nearly $500,000.
Minutes after the tally, WCS Superintendent Tim Lawson was all smiles about the results which concluded a protracted budget-crafting process that started last year.
"We're thankful for those who turned out in support of the budget and proposition," he said. "This vote enables us to maintain the curriculum and programs that we've come to expect."
In Tuesday's vote, Incumbent school board member Linda Baker Marcella, known for her budget-trimming tendencies, defeated challenger Terri Leguire by a vote of 418 to 300.
"My goal now is to get everyone together in the community and decide what we want to do with the issues now facing the school," she said, after sharing greetings with Leguire following the vote.
In Bolton, the vote was 220 to 91 in favor of the 2011-12 budget that calls for $8,367,260 in appropriations, an increase of $33,138, or 0.4 percent. The proposed spending plan increases the tax levy by 0.32 percent.
Bolton Central Superintendent Ray Ciccarelli was also happy with the vote results.
"We're very pleased the community continues to support our school," he said. "During these challenging times, we're happy the budget was supported in such a positive way - with over 70 percent voting for it."
In the North Warren School District, the vote was 317 to 148 in favor of the budget that calls for spending $1,383,967 - a decrease of 1.13 percent over the prior year, and an anticipated tax levy increase of 2.27 percent.
North Warren Superintendent of Schools Joseph Murphy said he and the board were pleased with the vote of support.
"On behalf of the staff and students of North Warren, we appreciate the support for continuing the academic and extracurricular programs for all children of the district," he said.