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Liverpool board approves school budget

The Liverpool Central School District Board of Education passed a $132,966,686 during the regular board meeting April 11 at the District Offices.

The budget includes an estimated 2.33 percent tax increase-down from the originally proposed 4.4 percent increase-and the creation of the 90-student FOCUS Academy. It also included 16 position cuts, broken down to 4.5 regular teachers, 1.5 special education teachers, two administrators, one custodian, one secretary, three teacher aids and four teaching assistants. The board approved the budget 7 to 1, with board member F. Joseph Unangst voting against it.

The budget was approved despite petitions signed by numerous Liverpool residents in opposition of different aspects of the budget. On Monday, a petition with 500 signatures was presented to the board, asking the board members to reconsider cutting an entire team of teachers from Liverpool Middle School. On March 28, Sharon Yager presented the board with a petition containing 434 signatures in opposition of the FOCUS Academy. The board did not reconsider either option.

"For those coming in to the very last meeting, it may have seemed like the board made some large decisions rather quickly, but the budget process has actually been going on since October," said Superintendent Richard Johns.

While he said it was nice to "let the belt out a notch" and add a few programs and positions back into the budget after the state reinstated $1.2 million in funding, Johns said the district still took a hard hit during the 2011-2012 budgeting process.

The public hearing will be 6:30 p.m. May 5 at the District Offices, 195 Blackberry Road. The public will vote on the budget May 17.

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