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UPDATE: Guilderland school district voters pass $92M budget

District’s vehicle purchase proposition approved; library budget passed

A voter signs in before casting his ballot on Tuesday, May 20, at Pine Bush Elementary School in Guilderland. The school district budget and vehicle purchase proposition passed.

A voter signs in before casting his ballot on Tuesday, May 20, at Pine Bush Elementary School in Guilderland. The school district budget and vehicle purchase proposition passed. Photo by John Purcell.

— Guilderland school district voters passed the proposed $92.13 million budget, along with a separate proposition to purchase seven new buses and a maintenance plow truck for almost $1 million.

Approximately 66 percent of voters on Tuesday, May 20, supported Guilderland Central School District’s proposed 2014-15 budget, with 1,735 voting in s and 900 opposed, according to unofficial results. The budget holds a property tax levy increase of 1.94 percent, which is $12,500 below the district’s tax cap limit.

Tax rates for Guilderland residents are projected to increase the same as the property tax levy, according to the district.

Superintendent of Schools Marie Wiles could not be reached for comment.

Voter turnout dropped about 150 people compared to last year’s budget vote. This year’s margin of approval was similar to last year, with about 65 percent in favor. The 2013-14 budget did hold a larger property tax levy increase at 3.39 percent, but was also within the district’s tax cap.

Over the past decade, fewer than 3,500 on average annually have cast a ballot, according to the district. This represents less than 15 percent of eligible voters on average actually voting. This year’s turnout fell significantly below that average, with approximately 2,635 people voting, according to unofficial results.

There are 33.85 full-time equivalent positions cut in the budget, which include 8.5 FTE classroom and special education positions, 9.15 FTE teaching assistant positions and 16.2 FTE support staff positions districtwide.

School board members did include 5 FTE unassigned teaching positions in the budget, which district administrators have discretion to allocate based on need.

Music Department teachers have lobbied the district administrators to allocate 0.25 FTE from the unassigned teachers, which would nearly restore the budgeted cut of 0.3 FTE. The teachers claim meeting the needs of students would be difficult after the cut.

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