Two Ballston Spa school district seats up for grabs

Three residents will vie for two seats on the Ballston Spa Central School District Board of Education.

Shawn Raymond will challenge incumbents Jeanne Obermayer and Frank Townley.

District residents can meet the candidates Thursday, May 15, at 6:30 p.m. in the Ballston Spa High School Library.

In addition to the Board of Education vote on Tuesday, May 20, district residents will also be asked to approve a $70,162,308 budget, which represents a 1.5 percent average property tax increase.

The 2008-09 school budget is up 6.3 percent from last year's voter approved budget.

I urge everyone to vote regardless of their affiliation, Obermayer said.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Residents of Malta can vote at the Malta Town Hall while residents Milton, Ballston and Charlton can go to the Ballston Spa High School to cast their votes.

The candidates

Shawn Raymond, a father of two who lives in Ballston Spa, said he was spurred to action when he heard of the closure of Malta Avenue Elementary School through friends in the area.

He said the community was not properly informed by the board or district of the closure.

According to Raymond, he was referred by the school board to the district's old press releases regarding the issue, and in looking through the district's Web site with other community members, he said he was unable to find "anything in particular" that said Malta Avenue would be closing.

"Informing the public is engaging the public," Raymond said.

He said the board did not get the necessary public feedback to make an informed decision.

With regard to where to purchase new property for an elementary school, Raymond said, "I think the board's current plan to purchase something in Malta is good."

He said it is important to look at the placement of the school relative to community. Raymond said the cost of gas is rising, and transporting students to remote areas is not cost effective.

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