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Flyer to help educate GB residents about school budget

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DEXTER — A few General Brown Central School District residents are hoping an educational flier about the proposed 2013-14 budget of $21,096,729 will create a ripple effect of understanding why people should vote to approve the spending plan.

Penny J. Price and board candidates Jamie M. Lee and Sandra Young Klindt worked together to develop the eight-page flier, which provides budget figures, general district information, a review of good deeds done by students, what the school has done to keep taxes low throughout the past several years, tax levy information, and potential plans for the district. The trio began working on the flier at Mrs. Lee’s kitchen table earlier this spring.

“The reason we decided to do a flier at all was because we felt if we just could explain it to people by going door to door with it coming from someone you know, it (might) be more credible than coming from the school,” Mrs. Klindt said. “It’s designed for people who maybe hadn’t been to many meetings.”

That goes for recent Board of Education meetings or community meetings, which were organized by Mrs. Price and Mrs. Lee, held throughout various communities within the district.

The flier was written and paid for by the Citizens’ Committee to Save General Brown, and is not an official school publication. The district, however, has routinely uploaded 2013-14 budget information to its website.

About 400 fliers were printed, and a week into the group’s effort about 50 are left, but the group might print more. District residents who would like the flier sent to them electronically can email Mrs. Klindt at sandyyoungdvm@twcny.rr.com or Mrs. Lee at jdlynn@hotmail.com.

Three pages of the flier are dedicated to tax levy information, and show that from 2008-09 to 2012-13, tax levy increases ranged from just 1.49 percent to 3.9 percent. The proposed increase for the 2013-14 tax levy is 9.9 percent, which would bring it from $6,384,854 to $7,016,955.

The flier also showed that in order for the district to keep taxes low throughout the past few years, the Board of Education has had to cut 29 positions and depleted the district’s fund balance. In the proposed budget, there also will be nearly $1 million in cuts, which include eliminating 11 positions and junior varsity athletics, and reducing more than 10 teaching positions to part time.

During the board’s annual meeting Monday in the auditorium of the junior-senior high school, 17643 Cemetery Road, District Treasurer Lisa K. Smith said the 2013-14 budget must be approved by 60 percent of voters because the tax levy increase exceeds the property tax cap of 5.38 percent. If the proposed budget is not approved, the board may resubmit the same budget, submit a revised budget or adopt a contingency budget where the tax levy would remain the same as in the 2012-13 budget.

Voters also will consider a second proposition, which is the purchase of three buses, not to exceed $310,500. The district would receive 78 percent in state aid for the following school year. The budget vote will take place from noon to 9 p.m. May 21 in the gymnasium of the junior-senior high school.

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