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Salmon River budget sparks little interest

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FORT COVINGTON – No one attended Wednesday night’s public hearing for the Salmon River Central School district’s 2012-2013 budget.

Voters will go to the polls on May 15 to vote on the $27,688,195 spending plan adopted last month by the school board. The budget calls for a 2 percent tax levy hike.

The district will collect $1,912,628 from property taxes. The owner of a $50,000 home can expect to see their taxes go up by about $7, with no increase for seniors. The owner of a $100,000 home can expect to see their taxes rise by about $21, and seniors will see a $14 increase.

The budget represents a 4.6 percent spending increase from 2011-2012 and calls for no staffing cuts.

About $22.67 million of the budget’s revenue comes from state aid, which includes foundation aid, BOCES aid, and lottery aid. Of the state aid, $1.4 million comes from the district’s contract with the New York State Department of Education to pay for the education of Native American students living on reservation land. The district is getting an extra $500,000 in state aid over 2011-2012.

The remaining $5 million includes about $2.22 million is from federal aid and $1.9 million from charges for services. Salmon River Business Executive Natascha Jock said the rest comes from interest revenues, miscellaneous revenues, and the school’s fund balance.

In addition to the budget, voters will be asked to decide on the purchase of three buses at a cost not to exceed $307,047. Two of the buses will hold 66 passengers, while the third will hold 48 plus be equipped with a lift.

According to a news release from Salmon River, six buses will no longer be road-worthy at the end of the year and four more are close to the 100,000 mile mark.

Ms. Jock said in the release the district will pay $8,000 per year for five years starting in the 2013-2014 fiscal year. The remainder will be covered by aid money.

Voters will also be electing two new school board members, but the seats are only being sought by their incumbents, Matthew Mainville and Linda Durant.

Ms. Durant is finishing her first year as a board member.

“I am running for the school board because I am concerned for the quality of education our children are receiving, especially given the current state of our economy,” she said.

Ms. Durant said she is a Fort Covington resident and lives with her husband and two children. She is involved wiyh North Franklin Sports.

Mr. Mainville has been a board member for three years. He said he is a lifelong resident of Fort Covington, except for five years he served in the U.S. Navy with the Sea Bees doing construction work.

He said he’s seeking re-election mainly because he wants to see the current phase of the capital project to fulfillment and help oversee its next phase, should it happen.

Ms. Mainville said he is pleased to see the district has been able to add programs during his tenure on the board at a time when other districts have been cutting them. He cited the new technology wing, located in the main campus, as well as new Advanced Placement courses.

“The big thing, really, is not to lose anymore programs and work with the state to get financing needed for the programs they’re mandating,” Mr. Mainville said.

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