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Voices from the Vote: Peekskill City School District

Peekskill school district residents had mixed opinions on the budget.

A steady stream of voters started trickling into the the Peekskill high School gym to vote on the Peekskill City School District budget proposal for 2012-2013 and for school board candidates after around 1 p.m. today.

Some voters were fully supportive of the budget. Others, who wanted to remain anonymous thought it was too high for their wallets. 

The proposed budget of $74,325,932 would raise taxes 3.3 percent if approved, which is about $6,367 for a home assessed at $10,000.

Residents in the Peekskill district will have the opportunity to vote on a and elect two candidates to the school board.

The proposed 2012-2013 budget represents a 3.2 percent increase from last year’s budget. It raises the tax levy by 3.3 percent, which is about $6,367 for a home assessed at $10,000. The budget plans to maintain academic programs, athletics and arts and bring some technology updates to the district. It would also cut about 12 full-time staff jobs, a measure taken to come within the two percent tax cap.

“We worked long and hard on this budget, meeting educational needs now and laying the groundwork for the future,” Schools Superintendent Jim Willis said. “It is critical for the community to rally in critical times.”

The vote brought out both parents of current students, of PHS graduates and some with no children at all, all with their own take on the proposal. Last year a total of 577 people voted on the budget, a low turnout for the district. 

Around 4 p.m. today voters at the polls were generally supportive of the budget. 

"It is important to vote yes on the budget because it is the best thing for the school," said New York City teacher and Peekskill resident Elaine Skrivanek, whose children went through the Peekskill school district.

Former Peekskill councilwoman and Lakeland schools music teacher Patricia Riley agreed. 

"It is important to support the school budgets because a community that supports schools is a community that prospers all around," Riley said. 

Others were not as supportive. "The voters who pay taxes do not get three percent raises," said one voter who wished to remain anonymous.

Another Peekskill voter whose children attended Peekskill schools said the budget this year is high. "The property tax went up and this goes up. Between the two of them I think its a seven percent increase. It is high."

The polls at Peekskill High School, located in the gym, will be open until 9 p.m. Tuesday night.

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