GUILDERLAND: Voters OK school budget

Last week, voters in Guilderland approved an $81.9 million budget, which carried the lowest tax rate increase in more a decade.

The spending plan was a 3.76 percent increase over last year's budget and carried an estimated 2.48 percent tax rate increase for residents. Voters passed the budget by a convincing margin of 2,011-to-1,136.

We believe it's a very strong positive outcome in support of the budget, said Superintendent Greg Aidala.

Aidala said the budget will cover existing programs, as well as strengthen tech programs and fund the addition of new programs like early start foreign language. The input from the citizens budget advisory committee and the board of education also contributed to the budget's success, said Aidala.

"I think it was a budget certainly worthy of support," he said. "We thank the district residents for taking time out of their schedules to vote."

In addition to the budget, voters supported separate propositions by similar margins.

With a vote of 2,011-to-1,093, voters approved the purchase of 11 new buses and one maintenance plow truck at a cost of $835,000. Nearly 50 percent of the bus purchases would be returned to the district as state aid, dropping the taxpayer share of the cost $395,000. The entire cost of the purchase will be paid back over a five-year period, and the tax impact won't take effect until next year.

Voters approved a proposition to purchase 0.8 acres of vacant land in front of Guilderland Elementary for $175,000. Funds for this purchase were taken from the district surplus fund balance, resulting in no additional cost to taxpayers.

The establishment of a capital reserve fund was approved in the amount of $600,000 for future renovations and additions at the elementary schools. This fund will be created from the district's fund balance at no cost to taxpayers. A facilities committee was created to examine the long-range needs of the elementary schools and determine the best use of the money.

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