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Edgemont Budget, Candidates Up for Vote Tuesday

EDGEMONT, N.Y. – Like many of their colleagues around the state, Edgemont school administrators are anxiously waiting to see how their proposed 2012-2013 spending plan will be viewed by voters.

Edgemont residents will decide Tuesday to support or reject the $50,016,261 budget, a proposal that Superintendent Nancy Taddiken said maintains the standards Edgemont parents have come to expect but also addresses the necessary tax concerns.

“I believe that the budget preserves the quality of an Edgemont education and yet encompasses structural changes that will help make taxes sustainable in the long run,” she said.

Taddiken said the 2012-2013 plan was one of the more challenging to put together since her time in the district, in large part because of unfunded mandates coming down from Albany.

“I’ve been the superintendent since 1990 and every year it gets more challenging,” she said.  “We have less control over the things that we want to include for students and quality education. There are too many must do’s for which we don’t get any compensation.”

The roughly $50 million plan, up 0.31 percent from the current year, includes "structural changes," as Taddiken called them that contribute heavily to the loss of 1.5 full-time teaching positions in kindergarten through sixth grade and 5.15 at the secondary school level.

Co-curricular activities also take a hit in the proposal, as sixth- and ninth-grade camps are eliminated. Interscholastic athletics, too, are cut back, with reductions in the number of games to save money on transportation, officials and related expenses. No teams are cut, however.

The plan is projected to raise property taxes to $640.24 per $1,000 of assessed property value, up roughly $21 from the current year.

Taddiken warned that if rejected by voters twice, the district would be forced into an austerity budget and drastic cuts would be necessary.

The superintendent urged voters to turn out in strong numbers, noting that since she has been in Edgemont the budget has twice been rejected by less than 10 votes.

“It’s important that we get a good strong voter turnout,” she said.

Voters will also have an uncontested race for the board of education in front of them when they hit the polls. Running uncontested races, Jennifer Darger and Brian Yarrington are expected to take the seats of Trustee Lisa Wexler and current board President Gerry Stoughton, both of whom opted not to seek reelection.

The polls will be open in Edgemont from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the old gym at Edgemont Junior/Senior High School.

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