SCHENECTADY — Schenectady taxpayers approved approximately $570 million in spending in a clean sweep for the Schenectady City School District on Tuesday, with the district’s proposed $265 million school budget and $300 million capital project both passed by voters.
The 2023-24 spending plan, which had 0% tax levy increase, was approved by a 1,040 to 245 margin, with the $300 million capital project for major renovations to eight district schools passing with a 1,026 to 267 affirmative tally.
Voters throughout the Capital Region ventured to the polls on Tuesday to support local school district budgets, with spending plans across the region passing.
While the proposed Schenectady school budget required a simple majority vote to pass, the capital project required a 60% supermajority margin for approval, with the capital project passing comfortably with 79% support from district voters.
Schenectady residents also approved a $2.9 million district proposition to purchase the former OrthoNY building at 530 Liberty St by an 851 to 437 margin and a $2 million prop to acquire Keane Elementary School from St. Luke’s Roman Catholic Church passed with a 1,053 to 238 positive margin.
Schenectady Superintendent Anibal Soler Jr. said the district was grateful to voters for approving every proposed expenditure on Tuesday’s ballot.
“It’s extreme gratitude and we’re thankful for our voters who came out and hopefully voted with their hearts,” Soler said on Tuesday night. “To me it’s support that we’re moving in the right direction and that the voters support the direction that we’re moving in. So I’m extremely grateful for them to support us. There was a lot on the ballot and it’s historic in the sense that we haven’t had that. We put in a lot of hard work on educating the community and really making sure we told the story accurately and appropriately and I think that paid dividends tonight.”
In the district’s school board elections, Board President Bernice Rivera (972 votes) and Board Member Nohelani Etienne (792 votes) were re-elected to fresh three-year terms on the board, while Amanda Sponable-Pantalone (908 votes) was elected to her first term on the board.
The approved capital project will provide $126 million in funding for Schenectady High School renovations and $25 million apiece for Central Park Middle School and the Steinmetz Campus, which is set to be converted to the district’s Freshman Leadership Academy Campus in 2025.
Check out how votes across the region went here: Results of 2023 Capital Region school budget votes
Niskayuna residents overwhelmingly approved the district’s proposed $107.8 million 2023-24 budget by a 1,484 to 611 margin. The approved spending plan includes a 2.34% tax levy increase, below the 2.75% state-mandated tax cap.
“I want to express my gratitude to everyone who cast their vote today,” Niskayuna Central School District Superintendent Carl Mummenthey said in a statement. “With the ongoing support of our community, we can continue to provide our students with innovative, high-quality instruction in a sustainable and fiscally responsible way.”
First-time candidates Sarah Tishler (1,464 votes) and Jessica LaFex (1,279 votes) and secured a pair of three-year terms on the Niskayuna Board of Education Council, filling seats vacated by departing board members Sarah Rogerson and Jennifer Zhao.
Voters also approved a $1.5 million proposal to purchase nine new school buses as part of the district’s long-term replacement plan by a 1,528 to 558 margin.
The Greater Johnstown School District’s proposed $42 million budget was approved by a 385 to 184 margin on Tuesday. The approved budget features a 4.47% tax levy increase, which is at the tax cap limit.
Board President David D’Amore and Board Vice President Joyel Richardson ran unopposed for new three-year terms on the Johnstown Board of Education.
Johnstown voters also approved a pair of referendum votes for the district to purchase a pair of 66-passenger buses for $320,000 by a 417 to 152 margin and $5 million to establish a Capital Reserve Fund for financing future acquisitions or necessary improvements to district facilities by a 396 to 167 positive tally.
The proposed $25.2 Canajoharie Central School District budget passed by a 165 to 68 margin on Tuesday, with the plan including a 1.64 percent property tax levy increase.
“Our deepest thanks to everyone who took the time to come out to vote,” Superintendent Dr. Nick Fitzgerald declared in a statement. “As always, the Canajoharie Central School District community has seen the importance of our educational value and the excellent opportunities we offer our students.”
Contact Ted Remsnyder at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @TedRemsnyder.