Highland school voters approve budget and bus proposition, re-elected incumbent board members

Posted May 17, 2017

In Carmel, voters approved the district's budget by a margin of 917-635 while in Mahopac voters overwhelmingly approved the 2017-18 budget by a tally of 1,251-584 as well as supplemental propositions for new buses and energy improvement initiatives.

The budget vote also secured approval for the purchase of 22 of new school buses at a cost not to exceed $2.25 million.

"You do have a lot to say".

In personnel matters, the board approved the retirements of Edith VanGorder, secretary, after 32 years of service; Frederick Proper, high school drafting teacher, after 17 years of service; Dennis Thiel, high school computer fix teacher, after 18 years of service; and Nancy Bridge, high school health professions teacher, after 27 years of service. That means the owner of a house assessed at $80,000 would pay $1,245.60 in school taxes next year.

Taxpayers approved budgets in Marcellus and all of the school districts in the Cayuga-Onondaga BOCES as spending plans were put up to vote statewide Tuesday.

Special education costs are also increasing at what the district describes as an "unsustainable" rate.

When he presented the budget proposal to the school board last month, Superintendent Larry Spring called the budget a "watershed" moment in his tenure, representing the first major expansion of student services and substantive tax cut after a few years of cutting the budget and advocating for increased state aid. A proposition concerning funding for the Aurora Free Library and Hazard Library passed 378-130. The bus proposition also passed 124-39, as did the library, 122-42. Of the five candidates vying for the school board's three vacant seats, Mary Lee Talbot, Travis Bensink and Jay Baker were declared the winners.

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Residents also voted to fill two seats on the board of education. Of the three candidates vying for the school board's only vacancy, Steven Smith was declared the victor, with 227 votes. "In addition to maintaining all academic programs, the budget adds positions to accommodate for enrollment increases, maintains favorable class sizes and meets pressing student needs".

The Marcellus Central School District budget passed 527-213.

The proposed new millage rate would be 25.35 mills a boost of 0.4-mill or 1.6 percent over the current 24.95 mills.

City residents overwhelmingly supported the Jamestown Public Schools District's 2017-18 budget Tuesday, with 504 voting in favor and 106 voting against.

The tax levy is up but within the budget cap.

During the current school year, students and teachers were out of school over Christmas break from December 16 through January 1, for a total of 17 days.

Todd McFee (179 votes), Jeffrey L. Jones (173) and David Przestrzelski (161) were all re-elected to three-year school board terms. As of May 8, the district anticipates collecting approximately $89.5 million in revenue, leaving the budget still unbalanced by $500,000 due to use of reserve funding for the Public School Employees Retirement System, said Gehris. Health insurance costs will increase 10 percent at cost of $200,000. David Locastro (504) and Margaret Vensel (612) were elected to three-year terms on the school board.