School Budgets Comfortably Approved in Local Districts

Robyn Valdez
May 17, 2017

Among the other votes closely watched was in the Fairport School District, where the proposed budget cut 38 positions including 26 teachers.

The $180,486,940 operating budget is a $7.8 million, or 4.5 percent, increase over this year's $172.7 million budget.

The East Hampton School District's $68.3 million budget proposal, a slight increase over past year but still under the state's cap on tax levy increases, was approved by a vote of 291 to 53.

Proposition 2, to purchase four 66-passenger buses at a maximum cost of $474,612, - 75.2 percent paid for by NY state - passed, 676-261.

In the Board of Education race for three seats, incumbents Rachelle Nardelli (904), Denise Kness (874) and Glen Malia (850) earned new three-year terms, defeating Michelle Browne (309) and Gnesia Feliu (174). Heather Welch received 694 votes; Alan Barone drew 67. There were 2,228 votes cast, out of which 1,561 votes were for the budget with just 667 opposed.

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Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said it was Fatah who excluded Gaza and Hamas because they were not interested in partnership. The West Bank and Gaza have not voted together since 2006, when Hamas swept Palestinian parliamentary elections.

Michael Lewis (333 votes) and Dennis Egelston (241) were elected to three-year school board terms.

The board held the first of two public hearings on the budget, which calls for $115.1 million in spending, up from $112 million in the current fiscal year. A proposition to establish a capital reserve fund passed 392-82, and funding for Weedsport Public Library passed 367-105.

"The federal budget has not been passed yet, but it's my understanding we will receive federal tax funds for the '17-'18 year", Bodamer said. The owner of a home assessed at the township average will pay $98 more in school taxes during the next year.

In personnel matters, the board approved the retirements of Edith VanGorder, secretary, after 32 years of service; Frederick Proper, high school drafting teacher, after 17 years of service; Dennis Thiel, high school computer fix teacher, after 18 years of service; and Nancy Bridge, high school health professions teacher, after 27 years of service.

The budget is down more than $155,000 from this year's.

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Egypt's Antiquities Minister Khaled Al-Anani said the year had been a historic one for archaeological discoveries in the country. The mummies have been elaborately preserved and are thought to have been officials and priests.

"Unlike previous years when we've had to agonize over class size, this one was relatively straightforward", said School Board Chairwoman Kate Acuff. Not only are deep cuts being discussed, but these districts will need a super majority, or 60 percent, of the vote for their budgets to pass, because the proposals exceed the tax cap.

"I am certainly not happy with the 1.89 percent tax increase", Pfender said.

The Croton School District's budget also experienced no hurdles at the polls, passing 503-96, along with a transportation and vehicles proposition (485-110) and the Croton Free Library Tax Levy (518-80). Voters also approved the establishment and initial funding of a capital improvements reserve fund, with 388 voting in favor and 134 voting against.

Levesque told residents at the district budget meeting that she technically is retired and only an interim superintendent, but has been doing the job of high school and junior high school principal as well, without health care benefits from the district. A proposition to purchase four new school buses passed 625-165.

Residents also voted to fill two seats on the board of education. Rivanna District representative Jason Buyaki was the only member to vote against it.

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