School budgets across the state voted on Tuesday, as district residents headed to the polls to weigh in on spending plans that could mean a hike in taxes.
Staff reductions, program cancellations and class cuts were among a number of resources local school boards are tightening up on financially in order to make ends. Some districts struggled more than others in not pushing the state's tax levy cap law in their proposals for the 2013-14 budgets and two local districts were unable to do so.
Niskayuna and South Colonie Central School Districts each pushed that threshold, requiring the support of 60 percent of voters in order to pass. Under New York State law, if the districts do not receive a supermajority of the vote, they can hold another budget vote in June on either the same budget or a revised budget. South Colonie easily overrode the tax cap with a 66.2 percent supermajority, but Niskayuna district officials will have to spend the next few days reviewing exit surveys and polling results to rework a new budget.
Crowds turned out to vote down the proposal in a 3,154 to 2,484 vote. Though Niskayuna voters have rarely rejected budget proposals in the past, they easily voted down a 5.76 percent tax increase plan proposed Tuesday. In a statement, Superintendent Susan Kay Salvaggio said a revised budget will be crafted before the June 18 statewide revote day that will only require a simple majority to pass.
"We understand the desire for tax restraint and, at the same time, we know how much our community values its schools and programs for children," Salvaggio said." We take these results seriously — we are listening."
Here is a breakdown of some of the passed and failed proposals across the region:
City School District of Albany
Proposed budget: $212.9 million
Tax change: 2.95 percent tax levy increase
Change in spending: up from $207.7 million
Staffing Reductions: 58.5 positions, 42 are substitutes — including 16 teachers, 17 teaching assistants and nine security staff
Polls open: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at 15 locations (reduced from 18)
Proposed budget: $53.49 million -- PASSED (Yes 1463, No 716)
Tax change: 2.99 percent tax levy increase
Change in spending: down $30,253
Staffing Reductions: Eliminates 13.3 positions, 5.5 through attrition — 3 elementary teachers, 2 in physical education, 1.3 in art, 2.5 in music, 1.3 in foreign languages, .5 in family and consumer science, 1.5 in special education, 1 substance abuse counselor and .2 from central administration.
School board elections: Shawn Morgan, Stuart Nippes and incumbent Peter Schaefer elected
Additional propositions: A $12.9 million Capital Improvement Project that addresses technology, health, and safety needs, along with building repairs at no additional cost to residents and voters. --PASSED
Proposed Budget: $ 79.6 million -- PASSED (Yes 1160, No 397)
Tax change: 1.5 percent tax levy increase
Change in spending: up 4.2 percent
Staffing Reductions: None.
School board elections: Dan Cramer and Susan Filburn elected
Additional proposition: Three proposals, including— $890,000 to purchase buses. $51,000 towards contributing to the expense of operating the Ballston Spa Public Library. A contribution of $28,000 to the area recreation commission to support the operations, including Saturday school and summer programs.
Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake School District - PASSED (Yes 1,435, No 824)
Cairo-Durham Central School District
Budget – FAILED
Proposition #1 Cairo Public Library – FAILED
Dennis Burke, Peter Byrne, and Gary Warner elected to board
Chatham Central School District - PASSED (Yes 331, No 151)
Cobleskill-Richmondville School District - PASSED (Yes 758, No 424)
The $36,570,653 budget carries a $1,513,534 spending increase over the current year and a 2.98 percent increase in the tax levy. As the tax levy increase is below the allowable limit set by New York's tax levy limit law, a simple majority yes vote was required to adopt the budget.
Voters also approved a $435,700 proposition to purchase to five school buses (three 65-passenger buses and two 7-passenger Suburbans).
Two candidates were also elected to the C-RCS Board of Education. Voters elected Mary Black and Jeffrey Foote to each serve a three-year term beginning in July. Candidate Susan Emerson Strasser received 648 votes.
Residents also approved the Community Library budget.
Cohoes City School District
Proposed budget: $39.6 million --PASSED (Yes 682, No 382)
Duanesburg School District - PASSED (Yes 374, No 197)
The school budget for next year totals $14,453,014 and carries a 2.89 percent tax levy increase, which is below the district's tax levy limit (4.47 percent). The approved budget represents a 1.81 percent spending increase over the current year's budget. Residents also elected to the board newcomers Kent Sanders and Ken Meyer.
East Greenbush Central School District
Proposed budget: $86.1 million -- PASSED (Yes 1820, No 826)
Tax change: 0.32 percent increase in tax levy
Change in spending: up 1.2 percent, or $1 million
Staffing reductions: Due to declining enrollment at Columbia High School –proposed budget eliminates .4 in social studies, .4 in English, .2 in technology, 1 in math, .4 in physical education, 1 in science and .5 in reading. The reductions also include 2.4 elementary positions at Goff Middle School due to a change in program delivery; 1 elementary teacher at Red Mill; and .6 in reading at Goff Middle school as a result of enrollment changes and shifts in program delivery.
School board elections: Three positions open
Additional proposition: A bus referendum authorizing the use of $1,117,818 to purchase buses and four Base Capital Project propositions for facility improvement of the district's properties/schools totaling $24 million.
Fonda Fultonville School District - PASSED (Yes 431, No 372)
Galway Central School
Budget – PASSED
Bus Purchase – PASSED
Jay Anderson, Lauralyn Sakala, and Melodye Eldeen elected to board of education.
Gilboa – Conesville CSD - PASSED
Gloversville School District - PASSED (Yes 456, No 291)
Greenville School District - PASSED (Yes 617, No 397)
Guilderland School District - PASSED (Yes 1,771, NO 1,006)
Residents approved a $91 million budget for the 2013-14 school year. This budget represents a 1.98 percent increase in spending over the current year's budget and will result in a 3.39 percent tax levy increase for district residents. Tax rates are estimated to increase by the same amount.
Voters also approved a $1 million bus and equipment proposition to purchase ten new buses and a commercial mower and elected three members to the Board of Education: Gloria Towle-Hilt, Colleen O'Connell, Barbara Fraterrigo
Hadley-Luzerne CSD School Budget Vote
School Budget Vote-$18,939,709; 1.37% tax levy increase -- PASSED
Proposition I-Purchase of a Mini Van -- PASSED
Proposition II-Purchase Two School Buses -- PASSED
Proposition III-Fund Repair Reserve -- PASSED
Hoosic Falls Central School District - PASSED (Yes 370, No 174)
Residents also approved the bus proposition by a vote. The three board vacancies will be filled by incumbents Donald Skott and Richard Ferrannini with 437, and by newcomer Rachel Boisvert.
Hoosic Valley Central School District
Proposed budget: $20.2 million --PASSED
Tax change: 1.45 percent tax levy increase
Change in spending: down .05 percent, or $10.977
Staffing Reductions: Four positions including a teacher, teaching assistant, teacher aide and administrator will be eliminated. As well as two positions reduced by retirement.
School board elections: Michael J. Reilly and Timothy Salisbury elected.
Mayfield School District - PASSED (Yes 224, No 78)
Mechanicville City School District
Proposed budget: $21.3 million
Tax change: 2.94 percent tax levy increase
Change in spending: up $783,716
Staffing reduction: One teaching position through attrition
School board elections: Three vacancies
Propositions: The purchase of two large (66 passenger) buses and one small (wheel chair accessible) bus. The total cost of the buses will net out after receiving state aid at an amount estimated to be between $90,000 - $100,000. It will be paid over 5 years.
Polls open: Noon to 9 p.m. in high school gym lobby
Middleburgh Central School District - FAILED (Yes 374, No 399)
The $20,277,789 proposed budget carried a 0.63 percent, or $127,308, spending increase over the current year and a 3.92 percent increase in the tax levy. As the tax levy increase is at the allowable limit set by New York's tax levy limit law, a simple majority yes vote was required to adopt the budget.
Proposed 65-passenger bus and one wheel-chair accessible, 24-passenger bus – FAILED
Michael Fisher and Donald Wood were elected to serve three years on the MCS Board of Education
Mohanasen School District - PASSED (Yes 934, No 457)
The $45.4 million budget carries a 2.94 percent spending increase over the current year and a 3.95 percent increase in the tax levy.
New Lebanon School District - PASSED (Yes 231, No 53)
Niskayuna Central School District
Proposed budget: $76.3 million -- FAILED(Yes 2484, No 3154)
Tax change: 5.76 percent tax levy increase
Tax cap: Tax levy carried by the proposed budget is over the state tax cap, requiring a supermajority or 60 percent of voter's approval to pass.
Change in spending: up 1.3 percent, or $988,004
Staffing reduction: The equivalent of 8 full-time support staff positions and 13.83 teaching positions will be eliminated. Actual layoffs will be lower than these figures due to attrition through retirements and resignations.
School board elections: Three vacancies with six candidates. Incumbents Debbie Gordon, David Hudson and Jeanne Sosnow will seek re-election. Newcomers Patricia Lanotte, Kevin Laurilliard and Matt Petrangelo will seek their first term.
Proposed budget: $98.2 million --PASSED(Yes 1445, No 688)
Tax change: 4.32 percent tax levy increase
Change in spending: up 4.25 percent, or $3.9 million
Staffing reductions: Restructuring Resource Room program and reducing Academic Skills classroom student-teacher ratio, reducing the Shaker Junior High School librarian position from 1.0 to 0.5 and reduction of a 0.2 business educator and restructuring the business department head
School board elections: Two vacancies with two candidates: Joan M. Hart and Sandy Pangburn
Proposed budget: $112.6 million --PASSED (Yes 1,760, No 472)
Tax change: 2.9 percent tax levy increase
Change in spending: up 2.62 percent
Staffing reductions: Nine teaching positions would be cut, including: three elementary, one reading, one family and consumer science, one art, one high school English, one high school social studies, and one physical education. In addition, two support staff positions and a middle school assistant principalship would be eliminated.
Additional propositions: $3,240,000 capital project authorizing improvements and alterations to district buildings. --PASSED
School board elections: Three trustees to be elected. Four candidates include incumbents Russell Danforth, Ernest Gailor and Regina Gapczynski and newcomer Stephen Verral.
Change in spending: up or 2.6 percent, or $533,084
Staffing reductions: No eliminations, but 0.4 reductions in foreign language, 0.2 reduction in math, 0.2 in special education, 0.5 in library media specialist, 0.4 in social worker, re-evaluating teaching assistant needs
School board elections: Bruce Romanchak, Jeanne Strazza, and Dan Grandinetti elected
Propositions: Purchase one 66-passenger bus for $112,000 -- PASSED
Louis Maggiore and Robert Thivierge were elected to the Board of Education
Proposition to purchase two large buses – PASSED
South Colonie Central School District
Total allocations: $92.3 million -- PASSED
Tax change: 4.98 percent tax levy increase
Tax cap: It's over the state tax cap by .55 percent requiring a supermajority or 60 percent of voters approval to pass
Change in spending: up $446,406, or 0.49 percent
Staffing reductions: About 85-90 staff positions across all titles and areas will be eliminated, reducing teacher assistant, clerical and monitor support positions. Languages in grades 5-6 will not be offered.
School board elections: Two vacancies with four candidates: Christine Badger Mele, Tracy Ahtila, Jesse Weinstock, and incumbent Shelle Jaquish
Polls open: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the district's five elementary schools
$53 million budget with a 1.83 percent spending increase over the current year and a 3.48 percent increase in the tax levy -- PASSED
$478,674 proposition to purchase four 65-passenger school buses and one 29-passenger bus –PASSED
Voters elected Thomas C. Kurtz, Jeff Riggi, Roger Fedele and Nelson Charron to the South Glens Falls Board of Education – PASSED
Stillwater Central School District
Proposed budget: $22 million --PASSED (Yes 511, No 211)
Tax change: 1.93 percent tax levy increase
Change in spending: up 4.3 percent, or $907,591
Staffing reductions: Reduced assistant strength coordinator, as well as three after school clubs
School board elections: Joe Greene, Valerie Masterson, Timothy Ryan elected
Additional propositions: $100,000 capital project proposition to repair the HVAC, electrical and plumbing systems at the elementary school, middle school and transportation building, and a $245,000 proposition to replace four school buses. -- PASSED
Ex Officio Student Member of the Board of Education – PASSED
Bus Purchase –PASSED
Robert Piper, Kevin Maisenbacher, and Donald McComb elected to school board
Troy School District - PASSED (Yes 454, No 308)
Voters passed the $97.4 million budget. With a proposed tax levy of 2.99%, No full-time employee layoffs; 5 positions reduced through retirements or attrition. Cuts limited to 1 foreign language (3 languages remain) and Drug-Free Program in elementary schools (program remains in Middle School and High School).
Waterford-Halfmoon Union Free School District
Proposed budget: $19.4 million - PASSED
School board elections: Tammi Dehler and Denise Keyoskey elected to Board.
Additional proposition: lease of one school bus at a cost not to exceed $7,248 per year for a five year period. -- PASSED
School board elections: Two vacancies with two candidates— incumbents Andrew Lanesey and Andrea Paone are seeking re-election.
Additional proposition: $100,000 in capital improvements for computers, technology and building security. Also on the ballot is the purchase of one 66-passenger bus not to exceed $110,000, with state reimbursement of 71 percent of the cost.
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