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School vote: In West Babylon, unhappy for different reasons

Few voters at the West Babylon Union Free School District’s administration building Tuesday morning claimed to be happy with a proposed budget that hikes taxes 6.46 percent and eliminates 54 staff positions.

But they were unhappy for different reasons. Some, like Kim McLasky, a classroom aide whose job is among those being cut, voted for a budget they described as too harsh; retirees Vicky and Joe Miller rejected the same budget because it was “ridiculously high.”

McLasky worried that the new budget would weaken music and art, programs she said are worth what they cost. “I feel the pinch,” she said. “We’re struggling, but I’m not going to take it out on my child. I’ll cut back another way.”

Helen Guglielmo, 71, a homemaker, said the proposed tax increase “doesn’t come out to that much more . . . It’s maybe $50 [per assessed property]. I’m sure during the course of a year you waste $50 on something.”

But the Millers and others were indignant about teacher pay raises and escalating spending; the budget calls for teachers to receive a 2.25 percent raise and an average step increase of 1.64 percent.

Joe Miller, a retired engineer, described the district as “top-heavy” with administrative jobs and said that some of those enrichment programs – foreign languages in particular – are “things we just can’t afford anymore.”

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