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Gouverneur Central School Board adopts proposed budget; Fowler building is back on the market

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GOUVERNEUR — The Gouverneur Central School District Board of Education adopted a proposed budget Monday that raises the tax levy 1.72 percent and adds several staff members.

The board also returned the Fowler Elementary School building to the market after Brian H. Murray, Washington Street Properties, Watertown, withdrew his purchase offer of $300,000. Mr. Murray had wanted the building to rent offices for counseling to the state Office of Mental Health, but the agency decided against tenancy.

“They’re looking to get into Gouverneur,” Superintendent Lauren F. French said. “Their hesitancy was distance from the village.”

The board closed the school in 2013 because of declining enrollment, so it could transfer pupils to vacant classrooms in other elementary schools.

As part of the $33.7 million budget proposal, the board added several positions, including an elementary reading teacher; an elementary classroom teacher; a secondary science, technology, engineering and math teacher; and other staff members. The proposal reduced a nurse’s position to half-time.

The total budget is up 3.45 percent from $32.6 million, while the $5.5 million tax levy is up $93,011.

The board plans to use $4.1 million in fund balance to offset the increase in the levy, leaving a projected remainder of more than $1 million. The district also received $346,000 more in state aid than it had projected.

District voters will be asked on May 20 to approve a $975,000 capital reserve fund anticipating a district-wide building improvement project that could cost about $26 million. The district’s last capital project ended in 2010. Approval would not mean additional taxes.

There will be three school board seats on the ballot. Pamela L. Adle and Carla A. Gates are not running again. Clark R. Porter is expected to run.

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