Ballston Spa School District ready to vote on budget

Ballston Spa Central School District voters will have five propositions to decide on when they go to the polls Tuesday, May 20, including the $70,162,308 budget, adopted by the Board of Education Wednesday, April 23, following an hourlong tenure recognition ceremony, which was held immediately after the public comment portion of the meeting.

Budget discussions didn't begin Wednesday until 9:30 p.m., when the board called the meeting back to order after honoring 41 teachers and assistants for three or more years of service to the district. By the time budget talks resumed, most members of the public had left.

The adopted budget holds a 1.5 percent average tax increase, which board Vice President Keith Stewart said is a good place to be.

It's not acceptable to stay flat just to stay flat, he said of the tax rate.

The board decided to add an additional $300,000 to the adopted budget to support the rising cost of fuel.

"I think a lot of our constituents have to retrench," said board member Jeanne Obermayer, regarding the difficult economy. "And I think we have to be considerate of the fact that not everyone has the money to put into extra programs."

Stewart said that although the residents of the district are faced with a struggling economy, many people moved to the district because of its continued growth and success.

"There are a number of people who have stayed in Ballston Spa because they think it's good and it's going to get better," he said.

Stewart said several people want to improve their children's educations, and they will want new programs and services for students.

Included in the $300,000 is a stipend for a school-level Web master and transportation for middle-school bowling classes.

Several board members discussed ways to work around hiring a Web master to maintain the district's Web pages, which are updated by different volunteer staff members from each of the schools.

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