Voters in the Shenendehowa Central School District approved a $174 million budget for the coming school year and elected three school board members on Tuesday.
The $173,682,956 budget passed with a tally of 1,575 to 543.
The plan marks a 2.1 percent increase in spending from the current year’s budget of just under $169,957,065, and carries an estimated tax levy (the total amount raised through taxes) boost of 2.9 percent. That is within the state-mandated tax cap for the district.
Residents of a typical Clifton Park home are expected to see an increase of about $54 in their tax bills.
For the 2018-19 school year, Shen is projected to receive $47.2 million in funding from the state, a slight increase from the current year.
Board members Bob Pressly and Christina Rajotte were both re-elected to three-year terms. Gusta Miller, a write-in candidate, won the third seat with 341 votes.
There were 983 write-in votes cast. The results for what is now Miller’s seat, which carries a two-year term, was not announced on Tuesday night.
There were at least four write-in candidates. Julia Tristan, Kerensa Rybak, and Ram Lalukota received 144, 91 and 79 write-in votes, respectively. Two other write-in candidates, Steven Cantanzaro and Wensheng Hu, tallied 60 and 40.
Voters also approved a proposal to allow the district to purchase 22 new school buses of varying sizes.
District Superintendent L. Oliver Robinson said the influx of write-in candidates was a surprise to the board.
“This is pretty unique for us. We were all surprised at the end of the petition period that we only had the two incumbents,” he said. During his 13 years as superintendent, people had always expressed interest in running for positions on the board.
Still, he believes the large number of write-in votes could be an indication that more people want to become involved with the school board process.
“From my perspective as superintendent, I hope that people realize and appreciate the significant role that the board of education plays in helping to define and shape the quality of education that we provide to our students,” Robinson said.
On Tuesday night, Rajotte said she was looking forward to continuing to work with the board toward long-term goals, including better school safety and expanding mental-health services for students.
She added that the Shen board was a “good team,” and is fully equipped to tackle such issues.
“I’m excited to be able to continue with my board service,” she said. “It’s something I’ve been passionate about — not only through my first term but prior to my involvement with the district.”
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