Amsterdam school budget shot down; others in county approved

Wednesday, May 20, 2009
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— Voters rejected the Greater Amsterdam School District’s $55.4 million budget proposal by just more than 30 votes Tuesday and shot down a proposition that would have provided $25,000 to the Walter Elwood Museum.

The district’s budget proposal, which called for an overall tax levy increase of 11.37 percent and an additional $2.4 million in spending, went down by a vote of 831 to 799.

The Board of Directors of the Walter Elwood Museum submitted a petition to the district asking that voters decide on providing money to support it. Voters rejected the idea 1,029 to 531.

“It’s going to be a really difficult situation for the museum,” Walter Elwood Museum director Anne Peconie said later Tuesday.

Peconie said the museum’s new location — Guy Park Manor — had a utility bill of $35,000 last year, and it will be difficult to find funding to maintain it.

“It could be a really bad situation. We could be turning over the collection to the New York State Museum and it could be sitting in a basement in Albany. I’m hoping that won’t happen,” Peconie said.

Amsterdam School Superintendent Thomas Perillo said the vote results show there is a lot of support among the community because the district’s budget has been defeated in the past with a greater margin despite carrying a smaller tax levy increase than the 2009-10 proposal.

Perillo thanked staff and Board of Education candidates for their hard work leading up to the vote.

He said he wanted to see what the Board of Education wants to do before commenting on a possible next step.

In board elections, candidates Raymond Crosby and Gina DeRossi were elected to three-year terms.

In an additional proposition, voters rejected spending $68,600 for the purchase of two Chevrolet Suburban buses.

Results from other Montgomery County school districts that provided tallies are as follows:


Voters approved an $18.8 million budget 365 to 247. The budget called for $1.1 million more in spending with a 4 percent tax levy increase. Eric Trahan was elected to a five-year term on the Board of Education.


District residents approved a $25.7 million budget 226 to 104. The spending plan calls for $443,110 in additional spending and a tax levy increase of 2.9 percent.

Voters also approved a $13,500 appropriation for the Frothingham Free Library and $3,800 for the Fort Hunter Free Library, 262 to 61.

Candidates Connie Conte, Carol DeBonte and Rodney Simonds were elected to three-year terms on the board.

Fort Plain

A $17.5 million budget was approved by voters 344 to 301. Residents voted down a proposal to borrow up to $485,000 for four buses and a passenger vehicle in a vote of 327 to 299. Candidates Mary Beth Hudyncia and Louis Capece were elected to three-year terms on the board.

St. Johnsville

Votes approved a $9.4 million budget proposal 194 to 166. Patricia Christensen was elected to a five-year term on the board.

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May 20, 2009
6:26 a.m.
totalpackage003 says...

We realize that the School District has to go back to the drawing board and cut fat from the budget. Every year it's the same old predicament we as taxpayers are faced with--either approve the budget or; A. The children will suffer irreparable educational setback, B. The teachers and high end administrators won't be able to survive on the cushy salary 85% of them take OUT of Amsterdam (matter of fact out of the District), and C. God forbid, Amsterdam goes without some shape or form of sport or new model of tuba, uniform, or pencil sharpener designed in 2009 (as opposed to the one purchased in 2007). I could probably get into the double letters if I gave it enough thought. Those I do feel sorry for are those who suffer maliciously at the hands of persons in control of budgets. I feel sorry for the person who is struggling in this economy to pay their mortgage and make ends meet---maybe even experiencing some sort or physiological or psychological setback because of it (the recession), while others take advantage of their misfortune--only to line their bottomless pockets even more with the money taken from one or two laid off employees. Pathetic. As far as Ann Peconie losing at her shot at being elected to the School Board, the voters could not have made a more responsible choice! We don't need another "Ann" running our School District---save us from the headache will you please. This lady ran masked as a stoolie...period. Take into consideration she is the current curator of the Museum, consider the fact she has the ol' axe to grind (the size of a guillotine straight out of France) with someone in the District for budgetary awakenings earlier this year, AND considering the fact she and Mayor Anne Thane and Corporation Counsel DeCusatis are wound together tighter than a drum---yeah I said it, AND considering the fact Peconie allowed the Walter Elwood Museum to literally turn into a crumbling, rotting, pest infested structure (blame somebody else though---not her was the attitude)---well GASD voters, you made an intelligent choice not selecting her to serve. Maybe Thane can make her the flying rodent control officer for the City of Amsterdam. That's my opinion---you might call it---and I'm sticking to it.

May 20, 2009
7:17 a.m.
gino45 says...

I wonder just how many "Administrators" it takes to run a district. Something to the effect that is likely 10 fold the number 20 years ago. Isn't it time to look to consolidation? We're definitely top heavy. If we want to keep our individual school districts, fine, but do some serious sharing of adminitration. Why do we need the amount of Superintendents, and other top level positions that several, if not all, schools in each county could share.

Yet in Amsterdam they HAD to cut 4 custodial positions to save money. You know, the people that have to seriously work for a lving..........

May 20, 2009
10:44 p.m.
FritzDorr says...

True story...I worked at a school in downtown Albany on a recent rehab project. (not chalmers) Just a 3 story building, nothing spectacular. Anyway, I thought it strange that there was 3 principals and 3 assistant principals plus a menagerie of administrators. This was one of those magnet schools just like Amsterdam has recently converted to. In the last 4 years School budgets have all increased because of fuel costs incurred from busing. Now that the cost of fuel has stabilized you'd expect the budget to have a surplus. Where is all the money?

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