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Monday, September 01, 2014
Amsterdam, NY ,
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To the polls: School board elections, budget vote Tuesday

Saturday, May 17, 2014 - Updated: 6:41 AM

Greater Amsterdam School District

* Total plan: $63,315,237

* Decrease in spending: -0.15 percent or -$92,243

* Tax levy (amount to be raised by taxes): $20,634,525

* Tax levy decrease: -3.75 percent, or -$803,085

* School board vacancies: Three three-year terms. The top three vote getters will be elected to terms starting in July.

* School board candidates: Incumbents Nellie Bush, Kent McHeard and Peter Pritchard, along with newcomer Andrea Prusky.

* Estimated tax rate changes (per $1,000 of assessed value): City of Amsterdam -6.37 percent (-$1.91); Town of Amsterdam -2.21 percent (-$4.51); Town of Florida 0.05 percent ($0.02); Town of Mohawk -4.61 percent (-$0.95); Town of Perth -8.39 percent (-$2.99); Town of Duanesberg -6.31 percent (-$3.91); Town of Glenville -6.69 percent (-$1.51); Town of Charlton -3.65 percent (-$1.08)

* Summary of employee cuts/additions: No cuts to staffing. Additional $1,031,000 in state aid will replace 11 retiring staff members; 8 teachers in kindergarten, grade 4, special education, art and music, plus three additional support staff and an assistant principal in the middle school.

* Educational impact: One-time expenditures including the replacement of band uniforms from 1996, funding for the first year of PTECH and the creation of a retirement reserve.

* Notable items: The district's fund balance will increase from 3.37 percent to 4.44 percent

* Voting day: Noon to 9 p.m.

Broadalbin-Perth Central School

* Total plan: $31,501,242

* Increase in spending: 4.8 percent

* Tax levy (amount to be raised by taxes): $13,334,296

* Tax levy increase: 2.14 percent

* School board vacancies: One five year term, which will start July 1.

* School board candidates on the ballot: Incumbent Edward Szumowski

* Estimated tax rate changes (per $1,000 of assessed value): Business Administrator Marco Zumbolo refused to release the estimated rates based on current year information, noting the state won't finalize equalization rates until this summer after which the district will be able to set the tax rates.

* Summary of employee cuts/additions: The district is looking to hire a director of curriculum and grant-funded programs. With new grants coming the district's way, and state-mandated common core standards, the district believes it is the appropriate time to hire for the position.

* Educational impact: The expansion of several student programs aimed at providing more opportunities in the STEAM disciplines -- science, technology, engineering and math -- for elementary and middle school students.

Funding was also allocated for an after-school robotics competition program, and for eight high school students to participate in Hudson Valley Community College's new Clean Technologies and Sustainable Industries Early College High School program.

* Notable items: Board of Cooperative Educational Services aid is expected to increase by $548,000, which is money that will be partially reimbursed for next year's spending plan. The majority of the aid is going toward technology projects; specifically, a new laptop initiative, and the installation of copiers at the elementary schools. Seventy percent of the cost is reimbursed by the state the following year.

* Voting day: 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the middle and high school gymnasiums.

Canajoharie Central School District

* Total plan: $20,409,405

* Increase in spending: 3.4 percent

* Tax levy (amount to be raised by taxes): $6,870,395

* Tax levy increase: 1.6 percent

* School board vacancies: One seat, carrying a five-year term. The top vote getter will be elected to a term that begins July 1.

* School board candidates on the ballot: Jesse Quackenbush and Cheryl Vroman will compete for the seat being vacated by Eric Trahan.

* Estimated tax rate changes (per $1,000 of assessed value): For a home owner with a house assessed at $100,000, he/she may see an increase of about $31 in his/her annual school tax bill, officials said.

* Summary of employee cuts/additions: The district will resource a learning opportunities teacher who would be responsible for developing courses and learning experiences that align with student interests.

* Educational impact: An update of the district's technology with a wireless infrastructure, which would be done with BOCES; provide resources to teachers for professional development and curriculum alignment in support of their work with students.

* Notable items: The Board of Education crafted the proposed spending plan -- which uses almost $985,000 in fund balance/reserves -- to align with its long-range goal to improve student learning.

* Propositions: Voters will see a separate proposition to fund the Canajoharie Library for a $100,000 annual levy.

* Voting day: Polls are open from noon to 9 p.m. in the lobby of the Canajoharie High School.

Fonda-Fultonville Central School

* Total plan: $24,943,663

* Increase in spending: 2.4 percent

* Tax levy (amount to be raised by taxes): $9,994,971

* Tax levy increase: 1.75 percent

* School board vacancies: Two three-year terms. The top two vote getters will be elected to terms that will start July 1.

* School board candidates on the ballot: Incumbent John Wiltey, Michael Lewis and Dennis Egelston.

* Estimated tax rate (per $1,000 of assessed value): Amsterdam $175.46, Carlisle $22.78, Charleston $17.54, Esperance $23.08, Florida $31.33, Glen $27.42. City Of Johnstown $25.06, Johnstown $22.21, Mohawk $17.54, Palatine $29.74, Root $17.54

* Summary of employee cuts/additions: Additional staffing for academic intervention support for struggling learners in grades K-4 and a library media teaching assistant to provide staffing for the library every day.

* Educational impact: Restores reductions made last year including summer school to prepare struggling middle school students for success in high school, provide credit recovery for student in K-12 and Kindergarten Camp. The distance learning program will be expanded for high school students. There is professional development in literacy across the curriculum as well as classroom management techniques and differentiated instruction.

* Notable items: The tax levy increase is the lowest in 10 years. An additional $634,439 in state aid allowed the district to keep current programs and add some restoration projects. There is an approximately $300,000 reduction in health insurance costs.

* Capital project proposition: The project totals $19.8 million and addresses health, safety and maintenance needs, program enhancements, and energy efficiency. It is projected to increase the tax rate by 53 cents per $1,000 of assessed value starting in the 2016-17 school year. Building aid will cover 83 percent to 90 percent of the cost. It requires a super-majority (greater than 60 percent) because part of the district's property is in the city of Johnstown.

* Voting day: Election will take place from noon to 9 p.m. Tuesday, in the auditorium lobby at Fonda-Fultonville High School.

Fort Plain Central School District

* Total plan: $18,800,000

* Decrease in spending: 2.59 percent

* Tax levy (amount to be raised by taxes): $5,473,489

* Tax levy decrease: 3 percent

* School board vacancies: Three, three-year terms. The top three vote getters will be elected to terms that will start July 1.

* School board candidates on the ballot: Incumbents Todd McFee and Jeffrey L. Jones, along with David Przestrzelski.

* Estimated tax rate changes (per $1,000 of assessed value): Officials did not release estimates; they said final tax rates have not been set. The state won't finalize equalization rates until this summer after which the district will be able to set the tax rates.

* Summary of employee cuts/additions: The addition of a social studies teacher, a special education teacher, and a library media specialist that would be shared with the Canajoharie Central School District and work at Harry Hoag Elementary School.

* Educational impact: Adds electives in social studies for the students in the high school. Additionally, students will be able to take courses necessary to earn a career development and occupational studies diploma. More remedial services in elementary school and expanded co-teaching grades K-12. Schedule changes that allow students to take more art electives in the high school, maintenance of field trips, maintenance of 9-12 regional summer school, continuation of a summer driver education program, offering all junior varsity and 7th and 8th grade interscholastic sports teams, providing late buses two evenings each week.

* Notable items: The proposed spending plan is decreasing because the district paid off a 1996 building project a year early, paid off its debt service on school buses, and received a restoration of $320,560 to the Gap Elimination Adjustment.

The budget calls for the use 11.58 percent less in fund balance compared to 2013-14.

While the district's proposed budget is decreasing, the largest increase in the budget comes from employee benefits, which went up 4.48 percent, or $240,807. The cost of instruction (which includes the salaries and benefits of all teachers and staff delivering pupil services, textbooks, instructional materials and more) also increased 4.2 percent.

* Propositions: Village of Fort Plain and town of Minden voters will be asked to approve a $25,000 annual tax increase for the Fort Plain Free Library.

If voters approve the request, through a proposition listed on the school district ballot, the funding will help support the library's operational budget.

Voters will also be asked to allow the district to purchase two buses (one full-size and one half-size) at a total cost not to exceed $200,000. The money would come from the district's transportation reserve fund approved by voters in 2013 and would have no effect on taxes.

Another includes a request from the Fort Plain Free Library Board of Trustees to increase its tax levy from $50,000 to $75,000.

The last proposition asks voters to authorize the district to increase the Board of Education terms from three to five years.

* Voting day: May 20 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the Harry Hoag Elementary School. By law, voters must be U.S. citizens 18 or older, and residents of the district for at least 30 days prior to the vote. Advance registration is not required.

Galway Central School District

* Total plan: $18,704,120

* Increase in spending: $759,187, or 4.23 percent.

* Tax levy (amount to be raised by taxes): $9,750,258* Tax levy increase: 1.72 percent

* School board vacancies: Two. One is a full four year term, the other is a one-year term to complete a four-year term of office previously held by Nancy Lisicki, who resigned in 2013. Anita Crawford was then appointed until the next election on May 20, 2014 which results in a one year vacancy. All seats are at-large, which means that each nominee for a seat on the Board is eligible for every vacancy, rather than only for a specific seat. The candidates with the most votes will get the four-year term of office followed by the one-year term of office.

* School board candidates on the ballot: Crawford, Incumbent Joan Slagle, Andrew McPherson and Cathryn Hunt.

* Estimated tax rate (per $1,000 of assessed value): $14.33

* Summary of additions and educational impact: 0.15 speech services; 0.2 occupational therapy services; 0.5 assistive technology services; 1.5 reading/literacy/special ed teachers; 1 grade-level set of iPads; 3 sets of chromebooks; technology infrastructure upgrades; 40 teacher desktop/laptops; photo copier; early elementary summer school (literacy focus); aide support for elementary school recess; enrichment support; art tables and stools; backhoe attachment for Kubota tractor; yard vacuum; zero-turn mower; exterior doors; new soccer uniforms; 0.5 business administrator; sustainable farms project support; Junior States of America Club; 0.33 English language arts teacher; 1.5 math teachers; athletic director stipend; extended school day; increase in funding for summer curriculum work, professional development, and common core learning standards materials.

* Propositions: Bus bond proposition on the ballot to restore the total number of vehicles in the fleet to the 2011-12 level and to replace "end of safe life" buses. There are 11 vehicles in the proposition overall. Superintendent Shannon Shine said the large number is due to a bus proposition being defeated a couple of years ago. When buses are not replaced regularly there is a greater need to replace more buses all at one time. One of the buses is to replace the one recently totaled in a head-on accident and another is to replace a bus lost to a fire in 2011-12. This also includes buying out four buses that are coming off of leases in order to save money, she said.

* Voting day: Election will take place between the hours of 10 a.m. and 9 p.m. in the Galway High School Auditorium Lobby.

Mayfield Central School District:

* Total plan: $17,424,260

* Increase in spending: 3.9 percent

* Tax levy (amount to be raised by taxes): $7,002,161

* Tax levy increase: 1.3 percent

* School board vacancies: One five year term, which will start July 1.

* School board candidates on the ballot: Incumbent Ernest Clapper

* Estimated tax rate changes (per $1,000 of assessed value): Interim Superintendent Joseph Natale provided a range of rates that depend on equalization rates finalized this summer. Town of Mayfield's rate could range between an increase between 28 cents and 41 cents (1.2 percent to 1.8 percent); Town of Northampton's rate ranges between an $1.54 decrease or 31 cent increase (-6.3 percent to 1.3 percent); Town of Johnstown's rate ranges between a 22 cent decrease or 27 cent increase (-1 percent to 1.3 percent); and Town of Broadalbin's rate ranges between an 65 cent decrease to an 23 cent increase (- 3.6 percent to 1.3 percent).

* Summary of employee cuts/additions: Staff cuts and additions are included. Staff cuts are due to a projected decrease in enrollment and include one part-time pre-kindergarten teacher, one elementary teacher, one part-time business teacher, and a part-time librarian. Additions include one full-time remedial reading teacher, a part-time remedial math teacher, and additional speech therapy services from Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery Board of Cooperative Educational Services.

* Educational impact: No elimination of existing programs, and the district will continue to fund Project Lead the Way, a pre-engineering program in its second year at the junior/senior high school.

* Notable items: The restoration of a full athletic program, including two modified teams, and a junior varsity and varsity program.

* Voting day: Election will take place from noon to 8 p.m. at the junior/senior high school.

Northville Central School District:

* Total plan: $10,557,162

* Increase in spending: 3.24 percent

* Tax levy (amount to be raised by taxes): $5,619,560

* Tax levy increase: 3.88 percent which exceeds the district's 1.2 percent tax cap.

* School board vacancies: One five year term, which will start July 1.

* School board candidates on the ballot: Incumbent Dean Shepard

* Estimated tax rate changes (per $1,000 of assessed value): Town of Benson 5.73 percent, Town of Hope +5.73 percent, Town of Bleeker +5.81 percent, Town of Edinburgh +3.90 percent, Town of Mayfield +11.73 percent and Town of Northampton +2.73 percent. Final tax rates depend on equalization rates that will be finalized this summer.

* Summary of employee cuts/additions: Additional staff includes a part-time Spanish teacher for seventh- and eighth-graders, a computer information officer who will assist the current computer technician, a secondary teacher's assistant and a part-time custodial worker.

The budget also appropriates a salary for a full-time superintendent. According to a press release, the district has been able to save substantially in the past two years by having Interim Superintendent Debra Lynker lead the district. She will retire at the end of the year. A full salary with benefits was restored to the budget as a result of a new hire.

* Educational impact: An increase in funds restores stipends for extra-curricular classes, clubs and athletic programs. It also includes junior varsity softball and baseball teams.

* Notable items: Based on a decrease in enrollment and program cuts the district made last year, the district will not receive as much aid as the state budgeted.

The district expects to receive $3,629,260, or a 5.85 percent increase, in state aid instead of the $3,670,50, or a 7.04 percent increase, the state's budget indicates.

* Voting day: Election will take place from noon to 8 p.m. at the junior/senior high school.

Oppenheim Ephratah St. Johnsville Central School District

* Total plan: $18,510,847

* Increase in spending: $422,728

* Tax levy (amount to be raised by taxes): $4,781,849 (decreased from last year's tax levy figure of $4,830,151)

* Tax levy decrease: 1 percent

* School board vacancies: Two seats carry full, three-year terms. A third seat, currently held by William Lints, will fill out the remaining two years of the term won by Benedict Conte, who passed away last summer. In July, the board appointed Lints to fill that vacancy for the remainder of the year. His appointment will expire June 30. The winners will begin their terms July 1. Keith Handy is vacating a seat and will not seek another term.

* School board candidates on the ballot: Incumbents Cynthia Breh and William J. Lints and newcomers Michael Yezierski, Jason Romeyn, Mary Weaver, Stephanie Dye and Ty Stowell.

* Estimated tax rate changes (per $1,000 of assessed value): Officials did not release estimated rates. OESJ has nine towns in the district and the tax rates for these towns are dependent on the state issued equalization rates for each town. The state won't finalize equalization rates until this summer after which the district will be able to set the tax rates.

* Summary of employee cuts/additions: The addition of a full-time school psychologist

* Educational impact: Included in the proposed budget are funds to establish a "Freshmen Academy," or a "school within a school" to ease the transition for ninth graders entering OESJ High School; increase reading and math instruction for elementary students; maintain current class sizes and provide an in-house alternative high school education program for students who need a different approach from what the traditional school setting offers. The budget also included funds to establish a six-week elementary summer school program and a four-week middle school summer program.

* Notable items: The proposed budget carries a year-to-year spending increase of 2.3 percent, which is the result of one-time expenditures that will not need to be repeated in the 2015-16 budget.

One-time spending increases in the proposed budget include technology purchases for the OESJ High School Freshmen Academy; the purchase of one truck and two buses; painting and new scoreboard for the OESJ Elementary/Middle School gymnasium, the establishment of a high school weight room; heating control upgrades at the high school and equipment for the maintenance department.

The proposed budget also sets aside money for future tax relief by shifting $500,000 merger incentive aid to the district's Tax Relief Reserve Fund, an allocation the board also made in the 2013-14 budget. For the 2015-16 budget year, the board again anticipates allocating $500,000 to bring the fund's total to $1.5 million.

* Voting day: Polls will be open from noon to 8 p.m. St. Johnsville residents will vote at the D.H. Robbins Elementary School and Oppenheim-Ephratah residents will vote at the OESJ Elementary/Middle School.

     

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