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Jordan-Elbridge school budget voted down by a landslide

Jordan-Elbridge residents said "no" to everything put forth by the school board during today's budget vote. The spending plan of $27,596,582, that assumed a tax levy increase of 7.3 percent and eliminated 17.7 teaching positions, received only 323 votes in favor compared to 1,282 votes against.

Propositions to purchase four school buses at a cost not to exceed $250,000 and to increase funding to Elbridge Free and Jordan Bramley libraries by $3,000 each were both rejected.

So, what did pass?

A proposition put on the ballot by a petition of more than 50 residents to reduce the size of the school board from nine members to seven. It received 976 votes in favor and 618 against.

"Thank you to everyone that supported prop #3," wrote Brad Hamer, who filed the petition, on the Eagle Observer's Facebook page minutes after the results were posted. Hamer was the athletic director at J-E before retiring in February.

The reduction will take effect in the spring of 2012. Board members Connie Drake, Penny Feeney and Erica O'Brien's terms expire next spring, at which point only one incumbent can be re-elected.

Kris Maitland-Humphreys, a parent in the district, was one of 1,282 residents to vote "no" to the budget.

"I voted 'no' because I am concerned that with Dr. Zacher and Paul VanMinos having a hand in it, I do not feel that it was the best or well laid plan for the community," she said. "I think the board needs to go back and revise the budget, perhaps with input from an independent account firm, and then put it back to the community for a vote."

She said the board's recent firing of interim Superintendent Larry Zacher and suspension of Director of Operations Paula VanMinos did not affect her vote.

"I was going to vote 'no' from the get go, because for months I have suspected there was something deceitful about the two of them," she said.

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