Saratoga County

Saratoga County voters approve district budgets

Voters approved school budgets around the county on Tuesday, even ones that included staff layoffs a
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Voters approved school budgets around the county on Tuesday, even ones that included staff layoffs as officials cut costs again this year.

The county’s largest school district will also have the largest layoff. Shenendehowa Central School District voters approved a budget that will cut about 70 full-time jobs and raise property taxes 3.5 percent.

Voters gave the budget a thumbs up by an unofficial count of 3,464 to 2,628.

Staff reductions required in the $150.3 million budget will be achieved through a combination of layoffs and not filling vacancies.

“It’s a mixed feeling in many ways, because this was a very difficult, very challenging budget for us in that we had to resort to making some significant reductions in staff,” Superintendent L. Oliver Robinson said after the results were tallied.

Robinson said he expects to have more information about who will lose their jobs at the June 7 school board meeting.

The board had outlined positions that would be cut, which included 37 teachers. About 40 teachers will retire at the end of the year, and many of their positions will not be filled, lowering the number of layoffs.

“Our goal is not to add to the unemployment line,” he said.

Mary Blaauboer and Mary Wiggins were re-elected to three-year terms on the school board. They ran unopposed.

Voters also approved a proposition to buy 19 school buses for $1.8 million.

Robinson said Tuesday’s voter turnout was a little higher than last year’s, which he attributed to more public awareness about the budget.

Here’s how other district’s budget votes fared:

Ballston Spa

In the Ballston Spa Central School District, a $72.8 million budget was approved with 1,490 in favor and 924 against the spending plan.

The budget has a less than 1 percent increase in spending and a tax levy increase anticipated to be about 2.5 percent.

It cuts 33 positions, including 28 teachers throughout the district’s schools.

Also to be eliminated are two teaching assistants, a clerk, the coordinator of human resources and a community event coordinator, which cut about $2.35 million from the spending plan.

Incumbents were returned to two seats on the school board. Jeanne Obermayer and Frank Townley received more votes than challenger Julia Jewels Ritchie.

Propositions to replace buses and to fund the Ballston Spa Public Library and the Ballston Area Recreation Commission also passed.

Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake

Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Central School District’s $54.8 million budget passed Tuesday, with 1,691 voters casting ballots for it and 1,033 against.

They’ll see a 2.2 tax levy increase. The district expects to cut 10 full-time jobs next school year.

Three incumbents won re-election, beating out challenger John Kelch. John Blowers, Patre Kuziak and Joe Pericone were re-elected.

A bus purchase resolution also passed.

“The board of education provided a budget that spoke to the concerns that we heard this year in our budget forums and budget surveys throughout this process,” Superintendent Jim Schultz said in a statement. “What we tried to do is to make tough choices in our community for the sake of our students.”

Mechanicville

Mechanicville City School District voters approved a $20 million budget with a projected 2.85 percent increase in the average tax rate for next year. The Tuesday night tally was 642 in favor and 356 voting no.

A former school board member and a current teacher in the district were elected to seats on the Board of Education. Pat Greenhall, who will retire this year after 23 years as a teacher in the district, received the most votes with 609. She is the widow of former Mechanicville Superintendent of Schools Frank “Doc” Greenhall. Former school board member Frank Grimaldi received the second highest number of votes with 422.

The pair will replace Shannon McHale and Joanne Boisvert-Fraser on the board July 1. McHale did not run for re-election. Boisvert-Fraser, Teresa Coleman-Hayner and Eric Sepci each fell short in their campaigns.

Saratoga Springs

Voters in the Saratoga Springs City School District approved the district’s $108.5 million 2011-12 budget by a comfortable margin with 2,319 votes in favor and 659 votes against.

The new budget includes no increase in spending and no increase in the tax levy, so district residents will be paying approximately the same taxes next school year as they did this year. A $737,000 proposition to purchase six, 66-passenger buses, one 29-passenger bus, and a Suburban van also passed with 2,187 yes votes and 772 no votes.

School board president Mia Pfitzer of Wilton, with 2,175 votes, and board member Frank Palumbo, with 1,871 votes, were re-elected to the board along with newcomer Charles Locke of Greenfield, who received 1,843 votes. Scott Prehn of Saratoga Springs got 1,086 votes, not enough to get on the board. Incumbent board member Jeffrey Piro of Greenfield did not seek re-election.

Galway

In the Galway School District, voters approved a $17.2 million budget by a slim margin of 473 to 438.

They also elected a pair of teachers to the Board of Education to replace Trustees Mark Pribis and Terry Ostrander, who chose not to run this year. Elected were: Dennis Schaperjahn, a retired teacher who was employed at Fort Edward High School until June of last year, and Nancy Lisicki, an elementary teacher in the Johnstown School District for the past eight years.

Voters defeated a proposition to buy three new buses 472 to 403.

Stillwater

In Stillwater, voters approved a $21.8 million budget for next year with an expected 1.52 percent increase in the tax levy. The final tally was 399 in favor of the budget and 239 against it.

Also Tuesday, John Butler, Lawrence D’Alberto and Andrew Roy were elected to three-year terms on the school board; propositions for buses and capital improvements were approved.

Schuylerville

Schuylerville Central School District voters approved a $30.94 million budget for next year by a margin of 642 to 198, re-elected Board of Education member Mike Booth to a third term and approved a bus proposition.

The budget is $1.24 million less than the current year’s budget, but requires an expected 1 percent increase in the tax levy because of higher costs and cuts in state aid, according to Superintendent of Schools Ryan Sherman.

Corinth

The $19.9 million 2011-12 budget for the Corinth Central School District, which included a spending cut of nearly $300,000, was approved Tuesday 411 votes to 288 votes.

The new budget includes a 3.3 percent tax rate increase. Voters also passed a proposition to buy school buses with 375 votes in favor and 319 against. The annual proposition to fund the Corinth Library was voted down, 374 votes against to 331 votes in favor. As a result, the library will receive the same amount from the school district in 2011-12 as it did in 2010-11.

Lori Baker, with 351 votes, was elected to a single school board seat up for election. Colleen Stuttard had 129 votes and Donald Youngmann had 192 votes.

Hadley-Luzerne

Voters in the Hadley-Luzerne Central School District gave their overwhelming support to the $17.8 million 2011-12 budget with 534 votes in favor and 202 votes against.

The new budget includes a 1 percent tax rate reduction and a spending decrease of more than $800,000 compared to the district’s current budget. Karl Othmer, with 398 votes, was elected to the single seat up for election on the Board of Education. Lisa Moses received 317 votes and Max Traver Jr. received 12 votes, according to unofficial results released by the district. Propositions to purchase two school buses and a minivan were approved.

Waterford-Halfmoon

Voters in the Waterford-Halfmoon Union Free School District approved a $19.1 million budget that is a modest increase from this year’s $19 million spending plan. There were 276 people who voted in favor of the budget and 98 against.

Three propositions also passed overwhelmingly: the lease of a school bus for $8,965 a year for five years; leasing a school bus that can handle wheelchairs for $10,618 a year for five years; and transferring ownership of the public library from the school district to the library board.

Four candidates ran for four board seats and were elected. They are newcomer John Fairclough and current board members Richard Charron, Marcia Ricci and David Lee.

South Glens Falls

The $52.5 million 2011-12 budget for the South Glens Falls Central School District passed by a vote of 1,082 to 824. Voters also approved a bus purchase proposition by a narrow 985 yes votes and 920 no votes.

Michael Reynolds, with 1,260 votes, and William J. Elder, with 1,151 votes, were elected to the two seats up for election on the school board. Candidates Timothy Dalaba had 439 votes and Larry Chapman had 635 votes.

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