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Proposition to upgrade fields part of North Warren school budget vote

Proposition to upgrade fields part of North Warren school budget vote

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Proposition to upgrade fields part of North Warren school budget vote

North Warren school district residents will be asked to vote on a proposition to transfer money out of a reserve fund to put toward a project to upgrade the baseball and softball fields.

CHESTER — Voters in the North Warren Central School District will decide whether to spend money to complete a project to upgrade the baseball and softball fields.

The district has a special proposition on the May 18 ballot to spend up to $401,692 to make various improvements including backstop netting, fencing and site work. There would also be new bleachers for the baseball and softball fields and work to make the fields handicap-accessible.

Superintendent of Schools Michele French said the district’s proposed $14.428 million budget maintains all programs and positions. Total spending would increase by $528,000, or 3.8%, from the current year.

The district is seeking approval to tap $191,692 from the reserve fund. This would be combined with a transfer of $210,000 from fund balance to pay for the project.

The tax levy would increase by 1.12% to $9.355 million, which is well below the district’s 3.04% cap.

Property taxes fund almost two-thirds of the budget for the district. State aid would fund 30%. The district is set to receive about $4.276 million in aid — about $376,000 more than the current year.

The district is using $460,000 in total fund balance and miscellaneous revenues to make up the rest.

Even after the budget transfers, the district would still have about $4.711 million in its unrestricted fund balance, which can be used for any purposes. That is almost 33% of the budget. By law, school districts are supposed to keep no more than 4% in this reserve, but many school districts exceed this figure.

French said having the surplus has helped the district handle any tough economic times.

“Having fund balance available has allowed us to maintain our programs and has helped us to weather the storm of additional costs during times like these,” she said in an email. “It also has helped us to keep our tax levy low and complete projects like the one planned for this summer without incurring additional debt and increasing taxes.”

North Warren is projected to have 475 students next year, which is a decline from 510 this year, according to the district’s property tax report card.

Incumbents Dan Freebern and Tammie Laguerre are running unopposed for reelection to three-year terms.

Michael Goot covers politics, crime and courts, Warren County, education and business. Reach him at 518-742-3320 or mgoot@poststar.com.

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