School budgets, candidates head to voters
Local school districts will present budgets to voters Tuesday that stay within their state-imposed tax caps.
“The promise we made is to do our best,” said Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery Board of Cooperative Educational Services Superintendent Patrick Michel, who oversees local districts. “We tried very hard to keep what we had, but to also keep it under the tax cap.”
Michel said local schools received increases in state aid, but also were affected by the Gap Elimination Adjustment, which subtracts some state aid to districts based on a formula.
“Imagine if someone took $100 away from from you, then gave $25 back,” Michel said. “It does not cover what we lost.”
Local school district voters will go to the polls Tuesday to decide on the 2013-14 budget proposals and elect candidates to school boards.
In the Gloversville Enlarged School District, voters will be asked to select up to three Board of Education members to serve three-year terms and one member to fill a vacant seat.
These candidates will be on the ballot: Aaron Flynn, Elizabeth Simek, Kevin Kucel, Joe Andrews, Robert Curtis and Tracy Nellis.
GESD’s proposed budget of $58.55 million represents a $3 million, or 3.3 percent, increase over the 2012-13 budget. The proposed 2 percent tax-levy increase is below the state tax cap of 4.34 percent for the district.
The Greater Johnstown School District has three board seats up for election. Incumbent Douglas Dougherty, who also served two terms on the board from 1988 to 1994, is not running, but his wife, Kathy Dougherty, is running. Running for re-election are incumbents President Paul VanDenburgh and Vice President Jennifer Sponnoble.
The district’s proposed $29.9 million district budget for 2013-14 would carry a 3 percent tax-levy increase. Proposed spending is up 5 percent from the current $28.52 million district budget. The levy proposed for the next school year is $7.56 million, a 3 percent increase from $7.34 million in the 2012-13 budget.
Fonda-Fultonville Central School has two seats up for election, but only one candidate. Matthew Sullivan is running for re-election to a three-year term. Linda Wszolek’s term has expired, but she is not seeking re-election. This would leave a vacant seat on the board unless there are write-in candidates.
The FFCS budget proposal of $24.36 million has a 4.5 percent tax-levy increase. This school year’s budget totaled $23.87 million, according to information from the district.
In the Broadalbin-Perth Central School District, Paul Chizek, an incumbent, is running for re-election unopposed. The term of office for this seat is five years.
The proposed budget, which has more than $30.06 million in appropriations, calls for a tax-levy increase of 3.36 percent, which is under the district’s calculated tax-levy cap of 5.98 percent.
In the Mayfield Central School District, two candidates are seeking one seat, which carries a five-year term. Frederick Castiglione and Joan Scannell are the candidates.
The 2013-14 budget proposal includes an increase to the local tax levy of $236,788, or 3.5 percent. The state tax-levy cap for the district was 4.1 percent. Expenditures have fallen to $16.7 million, a roughly $600,000 drop.
The Wheelerville Union Free School has three open seats. Board President Mike Bruce is running for re-election unopposed. Shannon Wager, up for re-election, is being challenged by Burt Wilson. Alicia King and Suzanne Hammalak.
The budget proposal has an estimated tax-levy increase of 2 percent.
The newly combined Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville School District held its election for the Board of Education on April 16. Susanne Sammons, Renee Swartz, Ben Conte, Lee Quackenbush, Neil Clark, Cindy Breh and Keith Handy were elected.
The combined proposed budget would be $18 million with no increase to taxes or spending.
John Sira Jr. is running for a single seat in the Northville Central School District for a five-year term.
The proposed budget calls for a tax-levy increase of 4.95 percent – the maximum allowed under the state tax-cap formula.
In the Canajoharie Central School, Rachel Mason is running unopposed for a three-year term, according to the district.
The 2013-14 budget proposal of $19.7 million calls for a 2.53 percent spending increase and a 2.5 percent increase to the district’s tax levy.
On Fort Plain Central School’s ballot, two seats are open. Incumbents Ronald Kardash and Louis R. Capece are running for re-election.
The proposed $19.3 million budget shows a 3.76 percent spending increase. The tax levy would increase by 0.95 percent.
John Olmstead is running unopposed for one vacant seat on the Edinburg Board of Education.
The district’s proposed $3.2 million budget calls for a 1.9 percent increase in spending and a 3 percent tax-levy increase.
Kenneth Hoffman is running unopposed for his seat on the Wells Central School District Board of Education.
The $5.4 million budget proposal would increase spending by 3.69 percent, resulting in a 2.49 percent tax-levy increase.
Under the budget, two half-time teaching positions for athletics and reading, as well as the athletic director position, are being removed. A new building principal position, combining the athletic director position with it, would be created, for a savings of $82,000.