Capital Region school budgets get OK

Budgets for every district in The Daily Gazette’s coverage zone passed.
Deb Kreifels, left, signs in with Carrie Nyc-Chevrier while voting at Niskayuna High School during school board elections on Tuesday, May19,2015.
PHOTOGRAPHER:
Deb Kreifels, left, signs in with Carrie Nyc-Chevrier while voting at Niskayuna High School during school board elections on Tuesday, May19,2015.

Categories: News, Schenectady County

Music helped pass a school budget Tuesday.

The Sharon Springs school district was in a jam. Because of the way the tax cap is calculated, the budget needed a supermajority vote to pass even though the tax levy was cut by 9 percent.

School officials said they scheduled the elementary and middle school spring concert for Tuesday in hopes of drawing in parents, who might be more likely to vote yes on the budget.

Budget votes

FULTON COUNTY

Broadalbin-Perth – PASSED 536 to 279

Gloversville – PASSED 278 to 118

Johnstown – PASSED 350 to 95

Mayfield – PASSED 296 to 101

Northville – PASSED 278 to 169

Oppenheim-Ephratah/St. Johnsville – PASSED 423 to 355

Wheelerville – PASSED 82 to 26

MONTGOMERY COUNTY

Amsterdam – PASSED 478 to 328

Canajoharie – PASSED 387 to 315

Fonda-Fultonville – PASSED 263 to 123

Fort Plain – PASSED 176 to 25

SARATOGA COUNTY

Ballston Spa – PASSED 1,171 to 413

Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake – PASSED 1,182 to 456

Galway – PASSED 288 to 124

Mechanicville – PASSED 383 to 111

Saratoga Springs – PASSED 1,561 to 320

Schuylerville – PASSED 561 to 146

Shenendehowa – PASSED 2,430 to 981

South Glens Falls – PASSED 805 to 273

Stillwater – PASSED 389 to 109

Waterford-Halfmoon – PASSED 149 to 28

SCHENECTADY COUNTY

Duanesburg – PASSED 257 to 99

Mohonasen – PASSED 1,217 to 548

Niskayuna – PASSED 2,494 to 495

Schalmont – PASSED 429 to 205

Schenectady – PASSED 487 to 162

Scotia-Glenville – PASSED 915 to 230

SCHOHARIE COUNTY

Cobleskill-Richmondville – PASSED 664 to 208

Middleburgh – PASSED 441 to 295A

Schoharie – PASSED 308 to 137

Sharon Springs – PASSED 165 to 38

School board winners

FULTON COUNTY

Broadalbin-Perth: Keith Buchanan and Charlie DeZolt

Gloversville: Michael Hauser, Jennifer Pomeroy, Robin Walrath and Vincent Salvione (1-year term)

Johnstown: Kathryn Zajicek, Susanne Fitzgerald and Ronald Beck

Mayfield: Aaron Flynn

Northville: Arlene Rambush

Oppenheim-Ephratah/St. Johnsville: Neil Clark and Linda Hart

Wheelerville: Burton Wilson

MONTGOMERY COUNTY

Amsterdam: Gavin Murdoch and Jackie Marciniak

Canajoharie: Mark Brody

Fonda-Fultonville: Sarah Leszczynski, Kelley O’Kosky and Frederick Hidde

Fort Plain: Jami Stevens and Mary Beth Hudyncia

SARATOGA COUNTY

Ballston Spa: Nancy Fodera, Christine Richardson and Kevin Schaefer

Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake: Jennifer Bradt and James Maughan

Galway: Dennis Schaperjahn, Linda Jackowski and Anita Crawford (2-year term)

Mechanicville: Joseph Waldron and Michael Raucci

Saratoga Springs: JoAnne Kiernan, John Ellis, Steven Grandin and Robert Shafer (1-year term)

Schuylerville: Frank Nesbitt and Jon Beaulac

Shenendehowa: Robert Pressly and Christina Rajotte

South Glens Falls: Kevin Ostrander and John Farrell

Stillwater: Michael Toleman, Timothy Hems and Jon Mueller

Waterford-Halfmoon: John Catanzarita and Marcia Ricci

SCHENECTADY COUNTY

Duanesburg: Tina Gamache, Robert Fiorini, Henry Felton and Christina Loukides

Mohonasen:- Patrick Ryan, Pamela Young and Chad McFarland

Niskayuna: Howard Schlossberg and David Koes

Schalmont: Gregory Campoli, Joseph Amoroso and Amelia Hallam (1-year term)

Schenectady: Mark Snyder and John Foley

Scotia-Glenville: Thomas Beauchamp and Gary Normington

SCHOHARIE COUNTY

Cobleskill-Richmondville: Melissa Bartlett and Dan Schulte

Middleburgh: Becky Binder and Pamela Standhart

Schoharie: Mark Quandt and William Kuehnle

Sharon Springs: Kevin Kutzscher

It worked. Many of the parents who walked in said they hadn’t even realized it was voting day. But after the concert, they voted.

Of those who came specifically to vote, many were pleased by the tax cut.

“I like it! Decrease, which is good,” said voter Kyle Myers.

Others were hoping the strategy would work. “I hope it passes because it’s a nice school and it needs to stay that way,” said voter Tony Parrotti.

In the end, the budget passed easily: 165 votes in favor to 38 opposed, in unofficial results.

Business Manager Anthony DiPace breathed a sigh of relief.

“Asking for a supermajority is always dicey, so I’m certainly relieved,” he said. “It went good. More than we needed.”

Sharon Springs wasn’t alone. Budgets for every district in The Daily Gazette’s coverage zone passed.

But that didn’t mean there was universal acceptance. Across the region, voters grappled with whether schools were providing enough value to be worth a tax increase.

In Ballston Spa, where voters were asked to approve a 3.1 percent tax levy increase, some voters were torn.

“Honestly, it’s ridiculous. It’s way too much money,” said voter Paul Cramer Jr.

But he voted for the budget anyway.

“I love the education they get here,” he said of his daughters. “The teachers definitely do a good job.”

Another resident said the budget was simply unaffordable.

“People don’t have the money, and they think we all have the money,” said voter Colleen Wallace.

But others said the budget was conservative.

“It seemed reasonable — and necessary. You can’t have good school programs unless you have materials to work with,” said voter Ellie Fernau.

In Schenectady, many voters said they were satisfied by a budget that added programs but didn’t increase the tax levy.

Voter Bertha Kriegler said she was pleased the budget did not cut the arts.

“I think it’s important,” she said. “I think the arts are what makes us human beings.”

But the budget wasn’t universally popular. Some said taxes are so high they must be cut.

“I voted no because there wasn’t a tax decrease,” said voter Mark Brockbank. “I believe that less taxes spurs economic growth.”

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