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Morristown Central School goes back to square one on budget talks after proposal is voted down

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MORRISTOWN - The Morristown Central School Board of Education voted against a $9.8 million budget proposal at Wednesday’s meeting.

The board’s finance committee will meet in the coming weeks and the entire board will reconvene on April 9 to discuss the proposals.

Board members James Michaels, Mark Taylor, Shawn R. Macaulay and Mary Anne Bailey voted in opposition to the budget with Vice President W. Darrell Merkel, President Cyril Aldrich and member Lawrence I. Kring voting in favor of the spending plan.

The budget would have included $15,000 to increase a high school math teacher position from three-quarter time to full time.

But Mr. Macaulay, Mrs. Bailey and Mr. Taylor insisted that the budget should also increase from three-quarter time to full time the high school social studies, English and technology teaching positions – at an estimated cost of $50,000.

Mr. Taylor said the increase in salary, which would be paid for out of the school’s roughly $4 million fund balance, is manageable.

Speaking of the school’s fund balance Mr. Taylor said the school is becoming “a financial institution” by keeping that much in reserves.

Mr. Michaels, who earlier opposed increasing the three positions to full time, declined to comment on why he opposed the budget.

The public will be invited to a hearing on the budget on May 12 with the vote being held on May 20.

The budget which was voted down at Wednesday’s meeting included a 1.7 percent, $58,715, increase of the district’s tax levy bringing it to roughly $3.5 million.

The budget was also roughly $800,000 more than last year’s $9 million budget with special education costs and employee benefits driving the increase.

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