Budgets pass in four Saratoga County school districts

BH-BL residents approved a proposed budget of $53.4 million, 1,904 to 1,141, a margin of 63 percent. A proposition to borrow up to $350,000 to purchase seven school buses was also approved. School board incumbent Robert Speck was defeated in an extremely close race for two Board of Education seats, and newcomers William Farmer and Lee-Ann Mertzlufft were elected. The district reported voter turnout was higher than usual, with a total of 3,045 residents voting, including 49 by absentee ballot. That's nearly 1,000 more voters than have typically turned out over the past five years.

"I think people are looking for a little bit of a change, looking for someone that has children in the school system who will be looking out for their interests as their kids go through school in the next few years," said Farmer. "It's been a really rough year because of state aid cutbacks so I want to look at ways to better spend the money we have rather than having to cut programs or go to the state constantly for more money. I look forward to working closer with the community and be someone very involved and accessible to everyone."

A $147.8 million budget was passed by nearly 6,000 Shenendehowa district voters who turned out by 3,683 to 2,182. The spending increase was kept to $323, 732. A bus proposition was also passed, 3,394 to 2,115. Gary DiLallo and Rick Mincher were re-elected to school board and Andrew McCarty was elected to his first term on the board.

Despite state aid cutbacks that required several staffing and service cuts throughout the four districts, many voters turned out to support what they felt was best for their district's kids.

"It's really important to vote, regardless s of opinion. More importantly I'm concerned with the preservation of our buildings," said Jean Relyea, a Ballston Spa voter.

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