New York School Districts Brace for Budget Votes

Voters head to the polls Tuesday to approve or reject school budgets and elect school board members. Here poll workers help or wait for voters in the West Genesee Central School District in 2009

New York School Districts Brace for Budget Votes

State financial aid of $17.04 million is the budget's biggest source of revenue.

More help is being made available for Waterloo Community Schools' students who don't have access to the internet at home.

According to East St. Louis School Board President Kinnis Williams Sr., whenever there is a disagreement between the district superintendent and the school board, the IL state superintendent typically has the final say. This significant shortfall required budget cuts throughout the district.

Spending plans for 669 districts across the state are up to vote and have to comply with the rules for the state's cap on property taxes for the eighth consecutive year.

The Board will recognize Student Representative Juliet Stephenson, an Alhambra High School senior who is one of two students, along with Alan Kobylik, who has been named a Citizen of the Year by the Martinez Chamber of Commerce. It would increase local tax revenue for the budget by $209,769, to a new total of $10.488 million. The tax levy, or amount to be raised by taxes, is $15,362,467, an increase of $286,166, or 1.90 percent.

One noticeable development can be seen in the surprisingly high number of candidates running for school board seats.

Tuckahoe residents can cast their votes from 7 a.m.to 8 p.m.in the Tuckahoe School library.

Although some very small schools escape state ratings, Muncie would become the only district exempt from state grading, Indiana Department of Education's spokesman Adam Baker said.

Lilley has worked for the school district for nine years.

District finances will receive higher scrutiny, but much of that will be in private.

The 2017-18 county budget totaled $633.1 million, an 8 percent increase over the previous year. Heather Soroka, now serves as vice president of the school board and is seeking a second term on the Board of Education.

Residents of Cohoes will also vote on the establishment of a capital reserve fund and elect two members to the Board of Education. The district projects that its 2018-19 tax levy - that is, total revenues raised through property taxes - will rise 2.72 percent, rather than the maximum under the cap of almost 4.22 percent.

A school board could also decide to simply adopt what is called a contingency budget, which limits certain spending. The proposed overall budget is $12,232,212.

The district's cost is the one-time purchase of 300 hotspot devices to enable the internet connections.

Ficarra and Downey emphasized that the $91 million in facilities renovations included no "like to haves" or "wish we hads" but was a very basic plan to fix facilities for the "health and safety" of the children. At the same time, voters will be asked to approve the district's proposed $19.8 million budget.

The school district is also seeking of four 66-passenger vehicles, including two diesel-powered buses and two gasoline-powered buses.

The local taxpayer share of that tab is $1.33 billion. Additionally, the district has forecast a decrease in the tax rate from $11.50 per $1,000 of assessed value to $11.15 per $1,000.

Voting will be held Tuesday between noon and 9 p.m.at the Vernon Town Offices, Verona Fire Station, and Sherrill Court Facility.

Board member T.J. Mertz said the proposed policy change implied there's a current problem with board members' requests for information - including, he said, inquiries that have uncovered changes to special education staffing levels that the board was not notified about and an increase in the number of bilingual and special education staff not being fully licensed.

There are also five candidates vying for three vacant seats on the Board of Education. Mitchell Lemaire, who had been a former board member, was appointed to fill a vacancy left by Kelly Flint in September.

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