The 2007-2008 school budget for the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake School District passed Tuesday, May 20, with 1,376 votes cast in favor and 903 opposed.
The administration and board are both very pleased, said Christy Multer, the district's director of public relations. "We know this is a difficult year for people because of concerns with the economy and fuel prices, but this community is very supportive of education."
The budget is $52,240,344, a 3.97 percent increase over last year's. District residents will see an average tax increase of 4.5 percent, though the actual numbers will not be available until the state releases tax equalization rates in August.
The budget deals with rising energy and food costs, and will eliminate 2.8 full-time staff positions.
Also passed, 1,504 to 755, was a $450,000 referendum for the purchase of five new buses to replace those that are at least 10 years old. School officials have stated that 73 percent of the purchase price would be reimbursable by the state.
Three Board of Education seats were open, and incumbents John Blowers, Nancy Del Pia and Joe Pericone were elected, drawing 1,466, 1,569, and 1,585 votes, respectively. Challenger Patre Kuziak received 1,207 votes.
Voter Doug Salisbury said he felt there's no need to fix a board that already works. He voted for the incumbents, saying, "They're doing a good job."
Richard Gribben, a former BH-BL teacher, said he voted for the budget.
"I've been supportive of the budget and educational programs because I've been part of it," said Gribben. "I want to make sure the school is maintained properly."
Gribben noted that while an increase in taxes is a sting to residents, a strong school district can lead to higher property values.
Bob and Dorothy Huerter both said that the district could do more to cut costs, and they are tired of seeing an increased budget year after year. They voted "no" on the budget.