Fort Edward voters given the choice of whether school sports and staff can return

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FORT EDWARD, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Fort Edward students haven’t had sports, band, clubs, or several of their teachers for a year.

That’s because of a school budget voters said no to twice last year. This year, the administration is offering a better deal.

This year’s $11,096,764 school budget would still ask for a tax increase for residents, but a smaller one than was proposed last year.

The budget was approved on Tuesday night, passed by 273 yes votes to 140 no votes.

Residents would pay 62 cents to the $1,000 more than they do now, or $62 per $100,000.

For voters Tuesday, that was a worthwhile cost to give students back activities, pre-K and kindergarten, 4th and 5th grade teachers who were laid off, as well as special education support staff.

That doesn’t mean everything would return all at once. Fort Edward Superintendent Dan Ward Says the returns on this budget were all chosen to be student-first, with positions in administration, transportation and custodial services still left open.

In March, an earlier draft of the budget told an even better story. After the end of a payment-in-leiu-of-taxes agreement, Fort Edward’s nearby Irving Tissue plant is set to finally enter the town tax roll.

When the agreement was made, the site was evaluated at a tax value of around $22 million. Fort Edward’s school budget had used that figure to estimate that resident taxes would actually be lowered, even with the programs returning.

Then, in recent weeks, the town of Fort Edward chose to reassess the Irving plant. Its assessment was chopped in half, to around $11 million.

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