Voters OK all local school budgets
Voters approved local school budgets Tuesday for 2013-14 and elected candidates to school board seats.
In the Gloversville Enlarged School District, voters approved a budget of $58.55 million in a vote of 456 to 291.
The budget is $3 million, or 3.3 percent, more than the 2012-13 budget, and carries a 2 percent tax-levy increase, which is below the district’s state-imposed tax cap.
“I’m very pleased with the community and thank them for supporting us,” Superintendent Michael Vanyo said. “It is tough and we understand especially with the taxes and where everyone stands, but we have to make improvements in education.”
The budget allows the district to buy two buses totaling $172,906. The state will cover 90 percent of the cost for the vehicles, Assistant Superintendent for Business Steven Schloicka said.
“Included in this budget are major changes that will improve the educational offerings for students of Gloversville,” Vanyo said. “We are so thankful the community came out in support of our schools so we can move forward with plans for improvement.”
“We are thrilled,” board President Pete Semione said. “We have worked hard and the community has seen over the last few years that we have kept programs in line and kept things intact.”
The voters also elected three Board of Education members to serve three-year terms and one member to fill a vacant seat.
Elected to serve three-year terms on the board are newcomer Aaron Flynn with 562 votes, newcomer Kevin Kucel with 501 votes and incumbent Robert Curtis with 440 votes. Elected to fill a vacant seat, which expires in June 2015, was Joe Andrews with 417 votes.
“It feels really good, and I’d like to thank everyone that took the time to vote for me today,” Curtis said.
Curtis said he hopes to help improve the school district’s graduation rate.
“I think our biggest issue with that is our kids aren’t staying in school,” Curtis said. “Our dropout rate is what is killing our graduation rate. Our dropout rate is almost 30 percent and we can’t meet the state expectation of graduation rate if kids are dropping out. That is the main issue we need to work on.”
Andrews, currently a school board member, said this morning he is humbled by the support he received from the community and is looking forward to spending more time on the board.
“We have to look at the inner workings of the Board of Education and what their role is in assisting the district in educating our students,” Andrews said.
Flynn, 37, is a supervisor at the Target Distribution Center in Amsterdam and married to a teacher in the district.
“Education is very important to me,” Flynn said. “There is not a lot of opportunity out there if you don’t have some strong education and experiences. It is important to me that students have good opportunities and have diverse programs.”
Kucel, 50, a resident of the district all his life, operates Townsend Leather in Johnstown with his family.
“My biggest concern from watching things over the last few years is the board has lost focus,” Kucel said. “Children are first and foremost, and we have much bigger issues in our district to tackle than the personal agendas and differences we have witnessed over the last year.”
“I think it is going to be a great board next year and I look forward to working with them,” Board of Education President Pete Semione said of elected members.
By a nearly 3-1 ratio, voters in the Greater Johnstown School District on Tuesday approved the district’s roughly $30 million budget for 2013-14. The budget carries a 3 percent tax-levy increase.
The tax increase is below the state’s 8.8 percent tax-levy cap for the district.
District residents voted 293-107 in approving the $29.9 million district spending plan for next year. 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.
“We’re very pleased this budget has passed,” district Board of Education President Paul VanDenburgh said today.
The board adopted the budget April 24.
VanDenburgh noted voters “narrowly” – by a 218-195 vote – passed a proposition authorizing the district to buy three 66-passenger school buses during the 2013-14 school year. The cost for the buses will not exceed $343,165.
The newly approved budget maintains programs such as arts, music, language and athletics. It doesn’t cut teacher supplies, and it adds one elementary school teacher and one special education teacher.
The district had three board seats, which carry three-year terms, up for election. Only three candidates ran Tuesday.
The top vote-getter was incumbent VanDenburgh with 336 votes, followed by incumbent board Vice President Jennifer Sponnoble, who received 328 votes.
“I’m humbled and privileged to serve,” VanDenburgh said.
Incumbent Douglas Dougherty, who also served two other terms on the board from 1988 to 1994, decided not to seek re-election this year. His wife, former Northville Central School District Superintendent Kathy Dougherty, did run and gained 315 votes for the third seat.
New board terms start in July.
None of the proposed budgets in school districts listed below included tax increases that exceeded the districts’ tax caps.
In other local school district elections Tuesday:
Northville Central School district voters approved a $10.2 million budget with a tax-levy increase of 4.95 percent, the maximum allowed under the tax cap, which varies among districts.
The budget was approved in a vote of 232-160.
John Sira Jr. won a Board of Education seat, running unopposed, with 330 votes.
In the Mayfield Central School District, voters approved a 2013-14 budget that includes an increase to the local tax levy of $236,788, or 3.5 percent, with expenditures falling to $16.7 million. This is a $600,000 drop since last year. The budget passed in a vote of 224-78.
In school board races, Joan Scannel won a five-year-term seat with 238 votes over Frederick Castiglione’s 63 votes.
In the Wheelerville Union Free School, voters approved a $4.2 million budget, which carries a tax-levy increase of 2 percent. The vote was 74-43.
In school board races, Michael Bruce, who was running for re-election unopposed for a three-year term, received 107 votes. Shannon Wager defeated Burton Wilson for another three-year term, 76-58. Suzanne Hamalak won over Alicia King in a vote of 76 to 55.
In the Broadalbin-Perth Central School District, voters approved a $30 million budget proposal for 2013-14. The tax levy is projected to increase 3.36 percent. The budget passed by a vote of 551-279.
In the Board of Education election, voters re-elected incumbent Paul Chizek to a second term with 640 votes. Chizek was running unopposed.
Voters in the Fonda-Fultonville Central School District approved the 2013-14 budget of $24.36 million. The budget carries a 4.5 percent tax-levy increase. It passed in a vote of 431-372.
Incumbent Matthew Sullivan was re-elected to his school board seat with 565 votes. Bonnie Couture also was elected after receiving 12 write-in votes.
Voters in the Fort Plain Central School District approved a $19.3 million plan, which called for a 3.76 percent spending increase and a tax-levy increase of 0.95 percent. Voters approved the budget in a vote of 180-82.
Two people were elected to three-year terms on the school board. Incumbents Ronald Kardash received 187 votes and Louis R. Capece received 174 votes. Both were running unopposed.
In Canajoharie, voters approved the $19.7 million budget, which is up 2.53 percent over the 2012-13 budget and carries a tax-levy increase of 2.5 percent. The vote was 220-100.
Incumbent Rachael Mason was elected to a five-year term on the Canajoharie Board of Education with 264 total votes.
In the newly merged OESJ district, voters approved an $18.1 million budget for the 2013-14 school year. The budget was made by combining the budgets of the St. Johnsville and Oppenheim-Ephratah districts. The budget was approved by a margin of 154-17.
In the Galway Central School District in Saratoga County, voters approved the district’s 2013-14 budget of $17.9 million in a vote of 461-239.
Jay Anderson, Lauralyn Sakala and Melodye Eldeen won school board seats with 505, 399 and 351 votes, respectively.
Voters in the Wells Central School District approved a $5.4 million budget, which increases spending by 3.69 percent and includes a 2.49 percent tax-levy increase.
The budget passed in a vote of 116-22.
Ken Hoffman won a school board seat with 103 votes, running unopposed.
Voters approved the Edinburg Common School’s $3.2 million budget, which calls for a 1.9 percent increase in spending and a 3 percent tax-levy increase.
The budget passed in a vote of 105-18.
John Olmstead, running unopposed for a vacant school board seat, won with 115 votes.