School district project rejected

FONDA – Voters in the Fonda-Fultonville Central School District rejected the district’s $19.8 million capital project Tuesday.

The vote was 462 in favor to 327 against, but the measure needed 60 percent voter support to approve the project. The proposal received 58.5 percent of the vote.

The project included items such as upgrading fire-alarm systems, installing new athletic-field turf, adding climate control to classrooms, increasing computer bandwidth, repairing roofs and replacing grandstand seating.

District Interim Superintendent Raymond Colucciello said he is disappointed with the results of the vote.

The district needed 60 percent approval because the district includes a small portion of the city of Johnstown, and New York state requires a higher percentage for small cities, officials said.

“Because of the Johnstown section, we had to get 60, and we didn’t get 60,” Colucciello said.

The project was projected to increase the tax rate by 53 cents per $1,000 of assessed value beginning in 2016.

The district would have used $750,00 from the capital reserve fund to pay for part of the costs. The district was expecting the state to pay for up to 90 percent of the project cost.

The district will look at exit surveys of voters. The survey asked for the reasons for voters’ decisions.

Colucciello said the district will review the surveys before taking any further steps regarding the capital project.

Colucciello said the school board will meet in the next week or so to go over the results. He was unsure about the next steps in the process.

Budget approved

Meanwhile, voters Tuesday approved the district’s proposed $24.94 million budget for 2014-15 in a vote of 494- 279. The budget increases spending by 2.4 percent and includes a 1.75 percent tax-levy increase.

The district will use none of its $1.3 million reserve fund in the new budget.

The district will receive $634,439 in state aid this year.

Library proposal

Voters also approved the district’s library proposition in a vote of 555-227.

The plan calls for contributing $15,716 to the Frothingham Free Library in Fonda and $7,000 to the Fort Hunter Free Library.

School board elections

The school district also will have two new board members.

Michael Lewis and Dennis Egelston won the two open seats on the board, defeating incumbent John Wiltey. Lewis received 487 votes, Egelston received 433 and Wiltey received 406.