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All Fulton, Montgomery, Schoharie school budgets approved except Northville

Wednesday, May 21, 2014
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— All but one school district in the rural Capital Region counties of Fulton, Montgomery and Schoharie saw their budgets pass easily Tuesday. Northville School District was the only budget to fail.

In fact, the small Fulton County school district was just five votes short of the 60 percent supermajority it would have needed to pass a proposed $10.56 million budget, since it would have exceeded the district’s allowable 1.12 percent tax cap by raising the tax levy 3.8 percent.

With 255 votes in favor and 179 votes against the budget, the district now has the option of putting the same budget or a revised budget up for another vote. If it’s defeated again, the district will be forced to adopt a contingency budget, which doesn’t allow for a tax levy of any kind and could result in programming or staff cuts.

Voters in three districts will see tax-levy decreases.

Residents of the Amsterdam City School District approved, 599 to 301, a $63.3 million spending plan that decreases the tax levy 3.75 percent and decreases spending 0.15 percent. The levy decrease brings the budget right up to the tax cap, which was negative this year because of an anticipated $1.11 million payment-in-lieu-of-taxes payment from Target. Despite the decrease, programs will be maintained and even enhanced, and several staff members will be added — in part because of an extra $1.5 million in unanticipated state aid that came through this year.

Fort Plain Central School District voters will also see a tax-levy decrease. They approved, 235 for and 52 against, an $18.8 million budget that decreases the tax levy 3 percent and decreases spending 2.59 percent.

Voters in the newly merged Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville Central School District approved, 572 to 187, an $18.5 million budget that decreases the tax levy 1 percent and increases spending 2.3 percent for one-time expenditures.

Elsewhere in Fulton, Montgomery and Schoharie counties, the following budgets were approved:

Fulton County

• Broadalbin-Perth Central School District: By a vote of 464 to 223, residents approved a $31.5 million budget that calls for a tax-levy increase of 2.14 percent, or $284,802, and a 4.8 percent spending increase. Residents also approved, 520-187, a proposition to purchase four buses and two vans at a taxpayer share of about $93,190. With 561 votes, Edward Szumowski was re-elected to a second five-year term on the school board. He ran unopposed.

• Gloversville Enlarged School District: Voters approved, 461-176, a $61.7 million budget that increases the tax levy 1.66 percent, or $228,301. Residents also re-elected incumbents Richard Carlson (399 votes) and E. Lynn Brown (440 votes) to serve three-year terms on the school board, as well as newcomer Paula Brown-Weinstock (388). With 378 votes and 294 votes, incumbent Jean LaPorta and Jennifer Pomeroy were unsuccessful in their bid for one of three open board seats.

• Greater Johnstown School District: Voters approved, 311-100, a $30.3 million budget that calls for a tax levy increase of 2.47 percent, or $187,034, and a 1.5 percent spending increase. Residents also approved a proposition authorizing the school board to purchase three school buses at a taxpayer share of about $35,016. Scott Miller (365 votes), Evamarie Mraz (308) and Angela Clizbe (298) won seats on the school board. With 230 votes, Salvatore Giarrizzo was unsuccessful in his bid for one of the three open seats.

•  Mayfield School District: Voters approved, 199-53, a $17.4 million budget that increases the tax levy 1.27 percent, or $88,815. Residents also approved a proposition to purchase two school buses and a plow truck, and a proposition to establish a capital reserve fund that would be used to offset the future costs of building renovations. With 235 votes, incumbent Ernie Clapper was re-elected to another five-year term on the school board. He ran unopposed.

• Northville School District: Despite the budget being rejected, enough votes came in, 263-157, to authorize the purchase of a school bus. Newcomer Dean Shepard was elected to the school board. He ran unopposed.

• Wheelerville Union Free School: Voters approved 60-38 a $4.6 million budget. Residents also approved a proposition to purchase two school buses.

Montgomery County

•  Amsterdam City School District: Voters approved, 599-301, a $63.3 million budget that decreases the tax levy 3.75 percent. Residents rejected, 496-488, a proposition that would have allowed the district to levy a $5,000 tax to help support the Fort Hunter Free Library. Three incumbents were re-elected to the school board: Nellie A. Bush (773 votes), Peter Pritchard (674) and Kent A. McHeard (630).

• Canajoharie Central School District: Voters approved, 559-388, a $20.4 million budget that raises the tax levy 1.6 percent and increases spending 3.25 percent. Cheryl Vroman was elected to serve a five-year term on the school board with 481 votes.

• Fonda-Fultonville Central School District: Voters approved, 494-279, a $24.9 million budget that increases the tax levy 1.75 percent, the lowest tax increase in more than 10 years, and increases spending 2.4 percent. Residents rejected a proposition on the ballot that called for a $19.8 million capital project for repairs and program improvements, but approved a proposition that allocates $15,716 to the Frothingham Free Library in Fonda and $7,000 to the Fort Hunter Free Library. Michael Lewis (487 votes) and Dennis Egelston (433) won seats on the board, which carry three-year terms. With just 406 votes, incumbent John Wiltey lost his bid for re-election.

• Fort Plain Central School District: Voters approved, 235-52, an $18.8 million budget that carries a tax-levy decrease of 3 percent and a spending decrease of 2.59 percent. Residents approved two propositions — one that allows the district to purchase two buses and another that increases the Fort Plain Free Library Board of Trustees tax levy from $50,000 to $75,000. Residents rejected a proposal that would have allowed the district to increase board terms from three to five years. Residents also elected Jeffrey Jones (231 votes), Todd McFee (242) and David Przestrzelski (212) to the school board.

• Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville Central School District: Voters approved, 572-187, an $18.5 million budget that decreases the tax levy 1 percent and increases spending 2.3 percent for one-time expenditures. Residents elected Mary Weaver (452 votes), Stephanie Dye (431) and Jason Romeyn (386) to serve on the board. Weaver and Dye will serve three-year terms. Romeyn will serve the remaining two years of the late Benedict Conte’s term. Five other candidates, including incumbents Cindy Breh and William Lints, were unsuccessful in their bids for a seat on the board.

Schoharie County

• Cobleskill-Richmondville Central School District: Voters approved, 684-252, a $37.6 million budget that raises the tax levy 2.36 percent, or $346,722, and raises spending 2.77 percent, or $1.01 million. Steven Philbrick (669 votes), Bruce Tryon (617) and Susan Emerson Strasser (606) were elected to the school board.

• Jefferson Central School District: Voters approved, 139-57, a $6.3 million budget that raises the tax levy 2.41 percent, or $62,857. Residents also approved the purchase of a school bus and van, and re-elected incumbent David Lapinel (152 votes) to serve a three-year unexpired term and incumbent Laurel Bedford (161 votes) to serve a five-year term.

• Middleburgh Central School District: Voters approved, 451-338, a $20.4 million budget that raises the tax levy 2.51 percent or $226,139. Residents elected Ernest Kuehl Jr. to the school board with 546 votes to fill the expiring term of Kimberly Smith. He will serve for three years.

• Schoharie Central School District: Voters approved, 380-238, a $21.7 million budget that raises the tax levy 1.53 percent or $141,426, and raises spending $658,481. Residents also approved two propositions — one for the purchase of four school buses and another for a $1.08 million capital renovation project. Voters also elected newcomer Maureen Bernhardt (401 votes) to the school board and re-elected James Bleau (361) to serve a second term on the board. Former 2004-10 board member Mark Quandt was unsuccessful in his bid for a seat on the board.

 
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