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Board decides to send budget back to voters
Northtowns Correspondent

The Grand Island Central School Board decided Monday to place a proposed 2005-06 budget to a vote once again after voters rejected a $43.1 million spending plan last Tuesday.

Specifics of the proposal will be decided next Tuesday during a special School Board meeting, and voters will go to the polls June 28.

The defeated budget proposal, which included a 2.8 percent tax rate increase, was rejected by a vote of 1,890-1,153.

About 20 of the nearly 300 residents attending Monday's meeting asked for the revote. They pointed to anonymous postcards opposing the budget proposal that were sent to residents as having contained misleading information.

"We ran a campaign, they ran a campaign, and their campaign - for the moment - won," said board member Jeri Schopp, referring to the bright yellow postcards that blanketed the community.

Loraine Ingrasci, assistant school superintendent for finance, presented several tax rate scenarios. If the board were to slash about $500,000 from the budget, which would result in no tax rate increase, residents would see a savings of about $1 per $1,000 of assessed value, or about $50 on a home assessed at $50,000, Ingrasci said. To reach that level, the district would likely have to cut some staff positions and extracurricular activities, she said.

If the budget were to fail a second time, the district would have to adopt a contingency budget under state law, which would mean cutting about $1.4 million from the budget.