Residents in the Scotia-Glenville Central School District voted against a $26.7 million building proposition that would have brought major renovations to the district's six schools. More than 2,300 people turned out to cast their votes, with 1,509 opposed and 811 in favor.
Superintendent Susan Swartz said the morning of Wednesday, Dec. 17, that Tuesday night's vote did not come as a surprise to her.
I think that people were worried about taking on such a big project under harsh economic times. I understand that as an adult living in the community, but who I feel sorry for is the children because, in the end, they are the ones paying for it, said Swartz.
Members of the board had been cautious throughout the process, which involved more than a year of research on everything from artificial turf to solar power options, but they remained hopeful that taxpayers would accept the proposal because it would bring such a gradual tax increase.
The board of education will now look at using the $935,000 in Expanding our Children's Education, or EXCEL, aid to work on more pressing maintenance issues. Replacing roofs and upgrading an outdated communications system will be two of the priorities for the board.
Swartz said it is too early to say whether or not the board will look at attaching any type of smaller version of a building project onto the EXCEL package. She said a vote in the spring is possible, and, either way, she expects the board to look at how to best use that EXCEL funding, which comes at no cost to the taxpayer.
Communications Specialist for the District Bob Hanlon echoed Swartz's sentiments that voters likely had concerns over the state of the economy, as well as the installation of artificial turf, which was a major part of the proposal. Exit surveys distributed to voters were scheduled to be examined as early as Wednesday.
"I think what is happening on the state and national levels with the economy certainly played a part," said Hanlon.
Swartz said she remains optimistic and is looking forward to seeing what President-elect Barack Obama has in store for education. She also said that Gov. David Patterson's announcement of budget cuts, which fell on the day of the vote, may have also added to people's financial concerns.
"We will have to sit down and move forward with the funding we have," said Swartz.
Just last week the Ballston Spa Central School District taxpayers rejected a similar proposition.""