Schoharie school budget passes in second vote

Voters in the Schoharie Central School District approved a revised $19.57 million budget Tuesday by

Voters in the Schoharie Central School District approved a revised $19.57 million budget Tuesday by a 70-vote margin. The budget passed 473 to 403.

The vote was a second chance for the district to avoid a basic contingency budget, after voters rejected a $19.71 million budget May 20 by a vote of 441 to 407.

The $19,576,161 spending plan now projects a 2.68 percent increase in the total tax levy. The earlier budget would have increased the total amount to be raised from taxes by about 4.4 percent.

Actual tax rates in the eight towns all or partly within the district historically vary depending on equalizations and local factors.

The total budget is about 4.85 percent higher than the school year just ending.

“The board and the administration is very, very pleased,” district Superintendent Brian Sherman said after results were in Tuesday night.

To help gauge public sentiment, district officials offered voters a chance to answer written questions after they cast their ballots.

“We’re going to be going through, in depth, the results of the exit polls,” Sherman said.

After trimming $133,353, revisions from the earlier proposed budget included a $65,853 savings by not filling a vacancy from the retirement of one elementary teacher.

Other cuts were from a $25,000 savings by using left-over funds from a previous school roofing project to buy gym lockers, instead of from 2008-09 budget funds.

The board also deferred $22,500 in planned parking lot surface maintenance, and delayed by one year a $20,000 subsidy to pay off part of a deficit in the school lunch program.

If the revised budget had been defeated, the district would have been required to make another $232,000 in cuts to reach the state minimum contingency budget level of $19,344,054, according to Sherman.

That would have resulted in a 3.6 percent increase over the 2007-08 budget, but would have left the tax levy slightly below current levels.

While some programs could have been affected, negotiated salary increases for school employees, and debt and contractual obligations could not be changed under a contingency plan, according to state rules.

Categories: Schenectady County

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