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School budget trims staff, ups class size

Smithtown High School East. (Feb. 20, 2012)

Smithtown High School East. (Feb. 20, 2012) Credit: Erin Geismar

The Smithtown school board has adopted a $224.4 million budget that would reduce staffing and increase the size of some classes next year.

Voters will decide May 21 whether to approve the spending plan, which would hike taxes by 3.63 percent -- the maximum the district is allowed under the state tax cap law.

The budget would trim the equivalent of nine full-time teachers, including five at the district's three middle schools and four at its eight elementary schools. Class sizes are expected to increase at the middle schools; elementary school class sizes should not be affected because of declining enrollment, district officials said.

The district will not replace the equivalent of 8.5 positions held by retiring librarians and other staff. The budget would cut $540,000 for textbooks for a literacy program.

"This is going to affect some things," school board president Gladys Waldron said Tuesday, after the board unanimously adopted the budget. Waldron said the budget preserves middle school sports and arts programs, and after-school extracurricular activities that had been targeted for possible cuts. Eliminating those programs "would be a disaster for Smithtown," she said.

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