Schalmont Central School District taxpayers approved the $41.77 million 2011-12 budget by 690 to 241. The approved budget carries a zero percent tax levy increase and decreases spending by 1.31 percent, or $550,000, from the current year.
"We're grateful for everyone who came out to vote in
their school budget and board elections today," said Superintendent Valerie Kelsey. "The annual school budget plays a vital role in providing for the education of our youth. This budget, in particular, will help maintain the high level
of programming that our community values, even as our district faces ongoing fiscal challenges."
The 23 full-time equivalent position cuts were primarily achieved through closing of Mariaville and Woestina elementary schools, which were 10 teachers, 10 support staff and three administrators. Declining enrollment was the main reason for the school closings, which the Board of Education approved in an attempt to maintain programming and services.
Voters also passed the school's bus purchase proposition by 615 to 314, which will allow the district to purchase three 66-passenger buses. The initial cost for the buses is $315,000 over five years, but school officials said the district is eligible for state aid to offset the cost. This would result in costing the district $126,000 before factoring in trade-in discounts for older, heavily used buses, said district officials. The expense of the proposition was included in the debt service calculation for 2011-12 budget.
Three candidates also were running for the Board of Education, which included newcomers John DiCocco and Michael Pasquarella and incumbent Kevin Thompson. Pasquarella, receiving 568 votes, and Thompson, receiving 582 were elected to the board, with DiCocco receiving 449 votes.
Niskayuna Central School District taxpayers approved the proposed $77.19 million 2011-12 budget by 2,007 to 1,298. The approved budget holds a tax levy increase of 3.95 percent and increases spending by 0.97 percent, or $740,359, compared to the current year.