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Morristown Central School passes $9 million 2013-14 budget

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MORRISTOWN — The Morristown Board of Education voted Tuesday to adopt a $9 million budget for 2013-14.

The budget, a $481,154 increase over last year’s, represents the largest increase since the 2007-08 school year.

Morristown’s 2013-14 budget includes the restoration of a social studies and an English position from half time to three-quarters time, an additional full-time elementary teacher and a $100,000 project to better secure the school building.

The largest driver of the increase in Morristown’s budget is the $315,944 in teacher salaries and benefits.

“We’re a people business and that’s where our money belongs,” Superintendent David J. Glover said. The money “belongs with our teachers. They teach our kids; that’s what’s most important. But unfortunately that’s also our largest cost driver.”

Morristown’s 2013-14 budget also figures in a $111,953 tax levy increase. That translates to a total of $3,453,833 in property taxes raised in next year’s budget.

The budget assumes $4.6 million in state aid, an $88,463 increase over last year’s amount, although Mr. Glover said he expects the state to deliver more aid to the district.

The state budget is expected to be announced by the end of the week.

But any additional aid money, Mr. Glover said, would be applied to the fund balance.

“It would give us more life,” Mr. Glover said.

The school has applied $970,663 in fund balance to close the 2013-14 budget, a $280,740 increase over last year’s figure.

Mr. Glover said the school has about $3.3 million in its reserves.

Board member Shawn R. Macaulay said he had hoped to see restorations to the school’s technology department included in the budget.

Mr. Glover said the board can restore other positions in the future if it is willing to dip further into its fund balance.

A public hearing will be held at 6 p.m. May 14 to discuss the budget.

The budget will be put to a vote May 21.

The budget was passed by a vote of 5-1 with one member, Vice President W. Darrell Merkel, absent.

Board President Cyril H. Aldrich Jr. and members Mark R. Tayler, Mary Anne Bailey, Jane A. Kring and Mr. Macaulay voted for the budget.

Mrs. Kring, several minutes after the budget passed, announced she had intended to vote against the budget. The board agreed it was too late for Mrs. Kring to change her vote, and, she said, even if she had voted against it, the budget still would have passed.

Board member James R. Michaels voted against the budget.

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