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St. Lawrence Central board designates grant funding for computers, musical instruments

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BRASHER FALLS - A $50,000 member item grant from Sen. Joseph A. Griffo to the St. Lawrence Central School District will be used to purchase computers and musical instruments.

Superintendent Stephen M. Putman told board of education members Wednesday night that he had been working with Sen. Griffo on the funding, which must be spent as part of the district’s 2011-12 budget.

“The money has to be spend by the end of this year,” he said.

Mr. Putman recommended they use the funding to purchase “things that are difficult to buy.”

He suggested they allocate $30,000 for computers and $20,000 for musical instruments. Mr. Putman said the district’s music program was continuing to grow.

“We can’t keep up with the demand for instruments,” he said.

Board members voted unanimously to increase the contingency budget to include the $50,000 grant in general aid, listed as “Community Service Project Funds.”

The move came a day after voters had approved the district’s $18.9 million 2012-13 budget by a 309-94 margin. The budget decreases spending by .68 percent and carried a tax levy increase of 3.28 percent.

A school bus proposition passed by a similar margin of 307-94. That measure will allow the district to purchase four buses at a cost not to exceed $383,000.

Tuesday’s voter approval came a year after the district was on a contingency budget. Voters had rejected the district’s initial $19.1 million spending plan with a 16.12 percent tax levy increase by a more than 2 to 1 margin, 767 to 341. Voters later rejected a second $18.9 million budget proposal carrying an 11.9 percent tax levy increase 415-271, sending the district into contingency.

Mr. Putman said he appreciated the support of voters this year.

“I want to acknowledge the community for their support of the budget vote. I’m pleased, grateful and thankful to the community,” he said.

He also commended the board of education members for their work on the spending plan, noting the last two to three years had been financially difficult times for the district.

Despite those difficult budget decisions, however, Mr. Putman thanked board members for putting students at the forefront of their decisions.

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