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Northville only local school budget to fail

Wednesday, May 21, 2014 - Updated: 10:26 AM

Staff report

School budgets were approved across Fulton and Montgomery counties Tuesday, except in Northville, where the plan failed.

Voters in Canajoharie also rejected a proposition to levy an annual $100,000 tax for the library at the Arkell Museum.

The Northville Central School District plan exceeded the state-imposed property tax cap, and needed a super-majority of 60 percent to pass. The tally reported by district officials was 225 yes, 179 no.

The $10,557,162 spending plan included a 3.2 percent increase in spending and 3.88 percent increase in the levy, which exceeded the district's state-imposed property tax cap by 1.2 percent.

Northville was one of 23 school districts that proposed a property tax override, compared to 28 last year, according to the state Association of School Business Officials.

Business manager Bruce Ellsworth said with the budget failing, the board of education has three options: It can either put forth the same budget, adopt a contingency budget, or put a revised budget before the voters.

Outgoing board of education president Sheldon Ginter said the board will most likely choose the latter, but will hold a special meeting to discuss its options.

Ginter said interim Superintendent Deborah Lynker and Ellsworth would need to reconfigure the budget in order to fall below the tax cap.

Ginter said many of the programs the board wanted to add this year will most likely be cut from their next draft.

"I am sorry about that for the kids' sake," Ginter said.

The rejected budget included additional staff: a part-time Spanish teacher, a computer information officer, a secondary teacher's assistant and a part-time custodial worker.

The budget also called for restoration of stipends for extra-curricular classes, clubs and athletic programs. It also included junior varsity softball and baseball teams.

A new school bus proposition had majority support in a vote of 263-157, but Ellsworth is going to see if the proposition requires a super majority vote now that the budget failed.

A village library proposition appears to have narrowly passed by a vote of 224-208.

Voters also elected Dean Shepard to the board of education with 308 votes to replace Ginter, who opted against re-election.

Ginter said he is torn about leaving the board. After Northville rejected a merger proposal with Mayfield, he thought residents would be more apt to help pay for a better educational system.

"We thought people would change for us," an emotional Ginter said. "The district is just gong to die -- our only alternative is to cut services and programs."

Other school budget results:

* Canajoharie Central School District residents approved their budget by a vote of 559-388, but voters rejected a proposal to provide the Canajoharie Library with $100,000 in annual tax-based funding. For the proposition, 356 voted yes, while 595 voted no.

Library director Leah LaFera was disappointed with the results of the vote, but appreciative of those who have continued to support the library. "I'd like to thank you for coming out and voting," she said.

LaFera said, "We'll have to end up cutting more," and the library may have to close an additional day of the week.

She said the board of trustees will review the library's endowment, investments and contributions when the 2015 budget process begins this fall.

As for the approved $20.4 million school budget, it calls for a spending increase of 3.25 percent over the current budget, and carries a tax levy increase of 1.6 percent.

Cheryl Vroman was elected to a five-year term on the board of education with 481 total votes. Jesse Quackenbush lost; he received 363 votes.

* Voters in the Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville Central School District approved the proposed budget by a 572-187 vote.

The approved $18,510,847 plan carries a 1 percent tax levy decrease and includes funding for the continued expansion of opportunities for students.

Voters elected Mary Weaver (452 votes), Stephanie Dye (431 votes) and Jason Romeyn (386) to the board of education. Five other candidates were also on the ballot, including incumbents Cindy Breh and William Lints, who received 285 and 281 votes, respectively; Ty Stowell received 267 votes, and Michael Yezierski received 131 votes.

As the top two vote getters, Weaver and Dye will both receive full terms of three years. Romeyn will receive a two-year term and will fill the vacancy created by the passing of Benedict Conte this summer. In July, the board appointed Lints to fill that vacancy for the remainder of the year. Lints' appointment will expire June 30.

* By a vote of 464-223, residents of the Broadalbin-Perth Central School District approved the proposed $31,501,242 budget. The plan calls for a 4.8 percent increase in spending from the 2013-14 school year, and a 2.14 percent tax levy increase.

District residents also approved a proposition that will allow Broadalbin-Perth to purchase six vehicles.

Residents also voted to fill one seat on the board of education. Current board president Edward Szumowski was the only candidate on the ballot; he was re-elected to a second five-year term with 561 votes.

* Fort Plain Central School District residents approved the budget by a vote of 235-52. The $18.8 million plan calls for a year-to-year spending decrease of 2.59 percent and decreases taxes by 3 percent.

Voters elected three board members: Jeffrey Jones received 231 votes, Todd McFee received 242, and David Przestrzelski received 212.

A proposition to increase the Fort Plain Library's tax levy from $50,000 to $75,000 in annual funding was successful by a vote of 186-101.

Residents also approved a school bus proposition by a vote of 219-67. The proposition allows the district to purchase two buses (one full-size and one half-size).

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

Voters rejected a proposal to allow the district to increase board of education terms from three to five years by a margin of 108-171.

* Voters approved the Mayfield Central School District budget by a margin of 199-53.

The $17,424,260 spending plan includes a 3.9 percent increase in spending and 1.3 tax levy increase.

In an uncontested race, incumbent Ernie Clapper was elected to the board of education to serve another five-year term starting July 1.

* The Galway Central School District budget passed by a vote of 393-157. The bus bond purchase passed by a vote of 377-160. The vacancies on the board of education will be filled by Joan Slagle and Anita Crawford. Slagle received 309 votes and was re-elected to a 4-year term of office. Crawford received 304 votes and was elected to a 1-year term of office. Andrew McPherson received 187 votes and Cathryn Hunt received 131 votes.


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