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School budgets, candidates on ballot today

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 May 2018 at 7:43 am

Photo by Tom Rivers: Medina High School is pictured on Friday.

Voters in five school districts in Orleans County will go to the polls today to decide the fate of budgets, propositions and candidates for the Board of Education.

In Kendall, residents will also vote on a proposed $14.5 million capital project.

Voters need to be at least 18 and a legal resident of their school district for at least 30 days.

Here is a breakdown on what’s on the ballot at the five school districts:

ALBION – The district is proposing a $35,225,625 budget for 2018-19, a spending plan that reduces taxes by 0.3 percent.

The budget reduces the tax levy by $25,845, from $8,474,939 to $8,449,094. The projected tax rate would decrease from $15.52 to $15.47 per $1,000 of assessed property. The budget represents the 10th time in the past 12 years the district has either held the line in taxes or reduced them.

Other propositions:

• Authorization to spend $490,000 from the Bus Purchase Reserve Fund to buy buses for the 2019-2020 school year. State aid covers about 90 percent of the costs for new buses.

• Authorization to create a Capital Reserve Fund with up to $7,195,000 with the funds going to school repairs and improvements.

“The proposition is permission to save, not permission to spend,” said Shawn Liddle, Albion’s assistant superintendent for business.

• Authorization to collect $714,920 for Hoag Library, which is up 4.0 percent from the $687,211 in 2017-18.

• There are also two seats open on the nine-member Board of Education, with Elissa Nesbitt joining incumbents Margy Brown and Linda Weller on the ballot.

Voting is from noon to 8 p.m. at the elementary school conference room A.

HOLLEY – The district is proposing a $25,210,000 school budget that represents a 2.0 percent tax increase, with the tax levy going from $6,968,766 to $7,108,141.

The budget maintains the current programs in the district, said Sharon Zacher, the assistant superintendent for business. Holley is reducing overall staff by 2.5 full-time equivalent positions, with two of those positions to be abolished through attrition.

Other propositions include:

• Authorization to spend up to $222,914 for two school buses and a sport utility vehicle.

• Approval of $153,713 in funding for Community Free Library.

• There are five candidates running for three positions, including incumbents – Mark Porter, Anne Winkley and Melissa Ierlan. Nancy Manard MacPhee and Anne Smith also are running for three-year terms on the board.

Voting is from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Holley Middle School/High School Foyer.

KENDALL – In addition to the school budget, Kendall is proposing a $14.5 million capital project. Kendall school leaders say they already have the local share for the work in a capital reserve fund so there wouldn’t be a local tax increase if the project is approved.

The project follows a series of other improvements at the district campus in recent years.

The scope of the capital project includes:

• Proposed improvements to the Elementary School include improving ventilation on the second floor of the quad and auditorium; renovation of the multi-purpose room for technology, agriculture and consumer science programs; replacement of the original gym bleachers and the gym floor, renovation of locker rooms, and a re-design of the cafeteria and serving line.

• Improvements proposed for the Jr./Sr. High School include renovation of the art, technology and music rooms which would address accessibility, storage and ventilation; replacement of gym floors and bleachers; renovation of the girls’ locker room; renovation of music practice rooms; renovation o the lavatory in the arts hall; update of the public access system; ventilation in the office and gym; improving light and sound and providing fly space for set productions in the auditorium; addition of a vestibule at the entrance to the art and music wing.

• Site improvements could include lighting and traffic flow at the Elementary School front loop; improvement of traffic flow at the Jr./Sr. High School bus loop; drainage in the athletic fields, addition of bathrooms and storage by the track and sidewalks from the High School cafe to the tennis courts.

• The bus garage is in need of roof repairs, an update to the fuel system and outside lighting as well as improvements to the water line. The old bus garage behind the Elementary School is in need of replacement windows and doors, Julie Christensen, district superintendent, said at a January community meeting about the project.

If approved by district voters, the construction could begin in 2019 and be completed by 2020.

• The district is proposing a $17,367,477 school budget that reduces spending and doesn’t increase taxes. It also includes $100,000 for a school resource officer. Kendall will keep its security staff and wants to have a deputy from the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office devoted to the school.

Overall spending in the Kendall budget is down from $17,415,783 in 2017-18. The tax levy, what the district collects in taxes, will remain the same at $4,715,842. However, the tax rate will decrease from $17.04 to $17.02 per $1,000 of assessed property due to a boost in the tax base.

• Authorization to spend up to $250,000 from the School Bus Reserve Fund for transportation vehicles.

• Jason ReQua is the lone candidate running for a five-year term on the Board of Education.

Voting is from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the elementary school gym.

LYNDONVILLE – The proposed $14,006,982 budget includes $100,000 for a full-time school resource officer. The district had a school resource officer the last two months of the 2016-17 school year, but didn’t include the position this past school year due to budget concerns.

The district has received a boost in state aid and school leaders want to have the officer working out of the district next school year. Lyndonville would contract with the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office to have a deputy assigned to the district throughout the school year.

The budget represents a 3 percent spending increase. Taxes, however, would increase by 1 percent.

The vote today also includes:

• A proposition to collect $100,888 for Yates Community Free Library.

• Authorization to build the transportation reserve fund up to $700,000 over eight years.

• Authorization to purchase two 64-seat passenger buses to replace ones from 2007, not to exceed $250,000. The money is already in transportation reserve.

• The community will elect four school board members, three for 3-year terms and one for a 2-year term.

There are seven candidates including three incumbents – Ted Lewis (board president), Kelly Cousins and Susan Hrovat. Other candidates include Stephanie Hargrave, Bill Jurinich, Tara Neace and Steven Vann.

(Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this article said that Russ Martino, who was appointed to fill a vacancy on the board, was also running as a candidate. Martino has recently resigned from the board and isn’t seeking election.)

The vote will be from noon to 8 p.m. at Stroyan Auditorium.

MEDINA – The district is proposing a $37,565,842 school budget that doesn’t include a tax increase in 2018-19. The budget increases spending by $945,049 or 2.6 percent from the $36,620,793 budget for 2017-18.

The tax levy, however, will remain the same at $8,641,861. This is the seventh straight year Medina has either reduced taxes or held them in check, and the 10th out of the past 11 years, said Mark Kruzynski, the district superintendent.

Medina is proposing to eliminate 6.5 teaching positions and 2 buildings and grounds staff, due to retirement or resignation, he said. The district will maintain all of its existing programs with the budget proposed for 2018-19, he said.

Other propositions include:

• Approval to allow high school senior to be a student ex-officio non-voting member.

• There are two candidates running for one open seat on the Board of Education. Brian Koch and Ann Webster Bunch, both incumbents, are seeking a three-year term.

The vote is from noon to 8 p.m. in the board room of the district office.

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