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F-FCS budget OK,bond proposal fails

Wednesday, May 21, 2014 - Updated: 10:25 AM


FONDA -- While the Fonda-Fultonville Central School District's budget passed with strong voter approval Tuesday, the $19.8 million bond proposal for a capital project failed by 11 votes.

Voters also ousted incumbent school board member John Wiltey, instead electing two newcomers.

The project garnered 58 percent of the vote by a margin of 462-327; it needed a super majority, or 60 percent, of the vote to pass.

Superintendent Raymond Colucciello said the district will review the exit polls to determine how to proceed.

"The people have spoken. I am disappointed but that is what voting is all about," Colucciello said. "The project got some support but not enough. We will have to go back to look at the exit polls to see what the board wants to do."

The proposed capital project addressed health, safety and maintenance needs, program enhancements, and energy efficiency. It involved repairs, replacements or upgrades to almost every area of the district from ceilings and floors to various rooms including the locker rooms, auditorium, cafeteria and pool.

It also included upgrades and repairs to the boilers, air-handling units, electrical panels, drinking fountains and the track fields.

Colucciello said the board is expected to meet next week and will discuss whether to present the same proposal a second time or present a modified version.

Despite his disappointment regarding the capital project, Colucciello thanked the voters for passing the 2014-15 budget.

The spending plan totals $24,993,663, a 2.4 spending increase compared to the current budget, and a 1.75 percent tax levy increase.

"We appreciate the solid vote for the budget. We needed that support and we got it," Colucciello said.

The budget includes an additional $634,439 in state aid this year, which helped to put back into current programs and add some restoration projects.

Newcomers Michael Lewis and Dennis Egelston won the two three-year seats on the board.

Lewis garnered 487 votes followed by Egelston with 433. Incumbent John Wiltey trailed with 406 votes. Board president Timothy Wendell did not seek re-election.

Lewis ran for the board to "get new blood into the school district." He said previously that he plans to use his experience working for the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office to increase school security among other objectives.

Egelston is a Fultonville native and a fourth generation owner of Glen Meadows Farm in the town of Glen. Egelston didn't run on a specific issue but rather that he planned to work with the rest of the board in making decisions.

The new board of education member will start in July.

Other propositions on the ballot that passed included allocating $15,716 to the Frothingham Free Library in Fonda and $7,000 to the Fort Hunter Free Library.


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