Capital Region

Voters approve most – not all – budgets across the region

Find your district's results here
George Walsh casts his vote at Lake Ave Elementary School in Saratoga Springs on Tuesday, May 21, 2019.
George Walsh casts his vote at Lake Ave Elementary School in Saratoga Springs on Tuesday, May 21, 2019.

Voters across the Capital Region on Tuesday approved most school district budgets and elected new school board members.

But Johnstown’s school budget was rejected – the second time in as many years voters rejected the district’s first proposed budget – as district officials asked for a 35 percent tax levy increase to stave off dramatic cuts to athletics, extracurricular activities and other programs. Three more voters approved of the budget than disapproved, but the district needed 60 percent approval to get the budget passed.

Budgets soared to approval across the rest of the region, and school board races came down to the wire as votes were counted.

In Schenectady, voters approved a $202.4 million budget, which invested nearly $5 million into new student services and programs and added nearly 50 new positions. The budget also cuts the district’s tax levy – the overall amount a district collects in local property taxes – 1.44 percent, bringing the levy to its lowest level in a decade.

In Mohonasen, where the budget eliminated a dozen positions and stirred community angst as students and parents sought to protect the music program from cuts, voters approved the budget with 68 percent of the vote.

“This was a challenging budget to develop,” Mohonasen Superintendent Shannon Shine said in a statement. “Despite difficult decisions to reduce expenditures through staffing reductions, we were able to preserve all programs for students.”

More results from Capital Region school board elections and budget votes:

​​​​​​​This year’s school election season also brought more contested school board races than in recent years: a contentious race in Saratoga Springs drew intense interest, but voters in Niskayuna, Mohonasen, Burnt Hills, Schenectady and over a dozen Capital Region districts also had competitive school board races to choose from.

Schenectady’s incumbent board members Ann Reilly and Cathy Lewis bested challengers who had called for a “fresh perspective” on the board and questioned whether the current board was acting with enough urgency to lift graduation rates and other troubling indicators of academic performance. Former board member Andrew Chestnut also reclaimed a seat on the board.

In Mohonasen, two graduates from the Class of 2018 challenged a pair of incumbents after proposed cuts to the district’s prized music program, but incumbents Deborah Escobar and Chad McFarland ultimately earned enough support to retain their seats.

Budgets approved Tuesday night will serve as the spending plan for districts next school year; new board members will be seated in July.

2019-20 school board elections and budget vote results

Vote totals are considered unofficial until results are certified. 

Schenectady County:

Budget: $202,446,363; 1.44 percent levy cut 
Approved: 922 to 148 
School board candidates elected: Ann Reilly, Catherine Lewis, Andrew Chestnut
Proposition 1 (Authorizing district to sell former Elmer Avenue Elementary School for at least $450,000): Passed

Budget: $56,955,740; 2.5 percent levy increase 
Approved: 819 to 303
School board candidates elected: Kim Talbot, Daniel Feinberg

Budget: $87,468,474; 2.35 percent levy increase
Approved: 2,037 to 683 
School board candidates elected: Greta Jansson, Kimberly Tully, Brian Backus
Bus purchase proposition: Passed

Budget: $54,355,000; 3.8 percent levy increase
Approved: 771 to 360
School board candidates elected: Deborah Escobar, Chad McFarland

Budget: $49,250,397; 2.2 percent levy increase
Approved: 530 to 204 
School board candidates elected: John DiCocco, Kyrish Iyer, Jean C. Hanson
Bus purchase proposition: Passed

Budget: $17,365,000; no levy change
Approved: 292 to 82
School board candidates elected: Dianne Grant, Deborah Grier

Saratoga County

Ballston Spa
Budget: $92,030,147; 3.27 percent levy increase
Approved: 1,023 to 220
School board candidates elected: Melissa Glaastetter, Dorothy Sellers
Propositions 2, 3, and 4: All passed

Saratoga Springs 
Budget: $129,447,782; 3 percent levy increase
Approved 4,687 to 1,287
School board candidates elected: John Brueggemann, Natalya Lakhtakia, Dean Kolligian

Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake
Budget: $69,548,408; 2.9 percent levy increase
Approved: 1,173 to 420 votes
School board candidates elected: Patrick Ziegler, Jennifer Longtin
Proposition 2: Passed

Budget: $36,233,795; 1.48 percent levy increase
Approved: 602 to 199
School board candidates elected: Joanna Crowley, Jessica Schwerd

Budget: $177,729,400; 2.5 percent levy increase
Approved: 1,746 to 475
School board candidates elected: Deanna Stephenson, Todd Gilbert, Gary DiLallo
Proposition 2: Passed

South Glens Falls
Budget: $58,451,178; 3.99 percent levy increase
Approved: 599 to 196
School board candidates elected: Roger Fedele, Kimberly Henkel, Thomas Kurtz, Jeff Riggi

Budget: $25,313,337; 3.57 percent levy increase
Approved: 306 to 87
School board candidates elected: Kristina Greene, Amanda Cocozzo, Kristina Greene, Valerie Masterson
Proposition to expend capital reserve funds to replace lockers in the elementary school: Passed  

Budget: $21,196,493; 1.79 percent levy increase
Approved: 161 to 30 
School board candidates elected: Denise Carutasu, Tammi Dehler 

Budget: $22,299,130; 1.99 percent levy increase
Approved: 301 to 134
School board candidates elected: Karen English, Dennis Schaperjahn, Linda Jackowski

Budget: $22,766,605; 3.8 percent levy increase 
Approved: 254 to 84
School board candidates elected: Jennifer Bourdeau, Louis Lueck

Budget: $28,443,263; 3.62 percent levy increase 
Approved: (No vote totals provided)
School board candidates elected: John Taglione, John V. Bove, Timothy J. Coleman Jr.

Albany County

Budget: $260,355,146; 1.99 percent levy increase 
Approved: 2,019 to 792
School board candidates elected: Anne Savage, Damarise Alexander-Mann

South Colonie
Budget: $104,879,374; 1.04 percent levy increase
Approved: 956 to 270
School board candidates elected: James Tim Ryan, David Kiehle, Mike Keane
Prop 3: Authorize $750,000 for replacing fire alarm and public address systems at five elementary schools. Approved 

North Colonie
Budget: $116,318,100; 3.29 percent levy increase
Approved: 1,026 to 392
School board candidates elected: Pennie Grinnell and Matt Cannon 

Budget: $102,107,375; 1.44 percent levy increase
Approved: 2,145 to 1,087 
School board candidates elected: Kelly Person, Barbara Fraterrigo, Gloria Towle-Hilt 
Capital Construction Project for $30,926,000 Proposition: Passed
Bus and Equipment Proposition: Passed

Rensselaer County

Budget: $114,174,990; 1 percent levy increase
Approved: 561 to 141 
School board candidates elected: Ann Apicella, Anne Wagner-Rounds, Ebony Pompey-Conway

Fulton, Montgomery & Schoharie Counties

Budget: $38,074,070; 3.9 percent levy increase
Approved: 423 to 221
School board candidates elected: Ed Szumowski  

Budget: $12,510,600; 3.97 percent levy increase
Approved: 227 to 119
School board candidates elected: Dean Shepard

Budget: $4,534,098; 2.34 percent levy increase 
Approved: 128 to 32 
School board candidates elected: Bruce Snyder, Michael Bruce, Jennifer Abel

Budget: $77,202,687; no change to the levy
Approved: 404 to 126
School board candidates elected: John J. Bottisti, Curtis Peninger, JoMarie DiTata
Bus Reserve Fund Proposition: Passed

Budget: $22,576,960; 3.5 percent levy increase
Approved 161 to 93
School board candidates elected: Peter Lawrence

Budget: $30,339,457; 1.5 percent levy increase
Approved: 347 to 82 
School board candidates elected: Matt Sullivan, Bonnie Couture 
Bus lease proposition: Passed

Fort Plain
Budget: $20,950,000; 1.56 percent levy increase
Approved: 162 to 30
School board candidates elected: Joseph Bartholomew, Ronald Kardash 

Budget: $19,954,357; 3 percent levy increase 
Approved: 272 to 204 
School board candidates elected: Neil Clark, Susanne Sammons, Dean Handy 

Budget: $67,047,457; 2 percent levy increase
Approved: 284 to 99
School board candidates elected: Robert Curtis, Kevin Kucel and Vincent Salvione

Budget: $38,695,480; 35 percent levy increase
Rejected: 1,150 to 1,147; however, required 60 percent supermajority approval to pass 
School board candidates elected: 4 candidates for 3 seats — Jennifer Sponnoble, Joseph LoDestro, Christopher Tallon, Patrick Oare
Budget: $42,593,933; 1.92 percent levy increase
Approved: 610 to 169  
School board candidates elected: Joshua McCann, Mary Black
Bus purchase proposition: Passed
Capital Reserve Fund proposition: Passed
Community Library Budget: Passed

Schoharie County

Budget: $24,520,232; 2.37 percent levy increase
Approved: 308 to 108
School board candidates elected: Dan Guasp, Terry Burton, Tara Barton

Budget: $22,481,913; 1 percent levy increase
Approved: 286 to 120
School board candidates elected: Debra Bechtold, Vicki Hoerz 

Results for Sharon Springs were not received by press deadline.

More results from Capital Region school board elections and budget votes:

Categories: Fulton Montgomery Schoharie, News, Schenectady County

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