Voters go to polls today for school budgets, BOE candidates

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 May 2021 at 9:19 am

Stacey Jurs took this photo of her 5-year-old daughter, Gracelynn, waiting for her brother to come home on the Kendall school bus on Sept. 8, 2020. Gracelynn is dressed as Lego Batgirl. Her brother Connor Jurs, 8, had his first day of third grade that day at Kendall.

Voters in the five public school districts in Orleans County go to the polls today to vote for or against the school budgets, transportation positions, funding for libraries and also who will serve on the Board of Education.

The election is back on the typical schedule of the third Tuesday and votes will be cast in-person. Last year’s election was pushed into June and was done through mail-in ballots due to the Covid-19 pandemic concerns.

(Eligible voters need to be at least 18, a citizen of the U.S., and a district resident for at least 30 days prior to the vote.)

ALBION –  The district is presenting a $37,801,291 budget for 2021-22 that doesn’t increase taxes for the 13th time in the past 15 years.

The budget keeps the tax levy at $8,449,094 in property taxes, the same for at least the past three years.

The budget increases spending up 2.61 percent from $36,841,032 to $37,801,299. The district is able to stave off a tax increase mainly due to more state aid. The state funding is budgeted to increase by $669,603 from $27,543,861 to $28,213,464. The state aid accounts for 74.6 percent of the district’s budget.

Eligible voters can cast ballots from noon to 8 p.m. in the elementary school gymnasium. That is a change from where the election is usually held in the district office conference room. Having the vote in the gym will spread people out, said Mickey Edwards, the district superintendent.

The proposed budget maintains all existing programs and also allows for a $100,000 elevator rehab project in the middle school.

• Bus Purchase – The district wants to take $550,000 from a bus reserve fund to purchase buses.

• Hoag Library – This proposition authorizes the district to collect $724,260 for Hoag Library, which is up 1.6 percent from $713,000 in 2020-21.

• Board of Education – There will also be two members elected to the Board of Education to five-year terms. Those seats are currently filled by Kurt Schmitt and Marlene Seielstad. Schmitt and Seielstad are running for the positions, and so is Trellis Pore and Ben Narburgh.

HOLLEY – School officials are proposing a $26,150,000 budget, which increases spending by 1.44 percent or $370,000 from $25,780,000, the amount the past two school years. The budget would increase taxes by 1.95 percent to $7,572,763, which is under the tax cap.

Holley district residents will vote on the budget, candidates for the board, and two other propositions from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. today at middle/high school foyer.

The budget for 2021-22 includes a $100,000 capital project that would be 91 percent funded by state aid. The project at the middle-high school would replace several interior and exterior doors, add card reader access controls to main office entrance door, replace auditorium orchestra pit lighting and replace the auditorium projection screen.

• Proposition No. 2 – Authorize up to $318,000 to purchase two 72-seat passenger school buses and one 22-seat bus.

• Proposition No. 3 – $189,287 for Community Free Library in Holley, which is up from the $183,773 in 2020-21.

• Board of Education – Seven candidates are running for four positions on the Board of Education. They include Brian McKeon, Jennifer L. Verhagen, Nancy M. MacPhee, Tracy Van Ameron, Michelle Hodge, Anne Smith and Salvatore DeLuca Jr.

There are four open positions on the board including the seats of current board members Melissa Ierlan, Mark Porter and Anne Smith. (Smith is the only one seeking re-election.) Those spots are for three-year terms. Holley will also be filling the final year of a vacant seat from the late John Heise.

KENDALL – The Kendall school district is proposing a $19,980,729 budget for 2021-22 that would increase taxes by 1 percent.

The budget represents a 13.5 percent increase in spending or by $2,377,133, up from $17,603,596 in 2020-21. Of that increase, $1,550,762 is due to the debt service for a capital project and that payment is covered with state building aid, Julie Christensen, the district superintendent, stated in Kendall’s school newsletter.

The other $751,371 is an increase in operational funding for a district with 200 employees.

Voting is today from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Kendall Elementary School Gym.

Kendall’s budget would raise taxes by $49,155, from $4,915,501 to $4,964,656.

“We anticipate all programs and services, extracurricular activities, funds for 1:1 devices and staffing ratios will remain consistent with pre-COVID-19 patterns,” Christensen wrote in the district newsletter. “We are very pleased to provide the opportunity for five days of instruction and no budgetary reductions during such uncertain times.”

Kendall’s budget is 74 percent funded through state aid. The district is receiving a $237,034 boost from the state in operating aid or Foundation Aid, which Christensen said is the first increase in that category in several years.

• Proposition No. 2 – Transportation Bus Reserve Fund. Kendall is asking for permission to purchase transportation vehicles at a sum not to exceed $250,000. The district said there will be no additional taxes with this proposal.

• Board of Education – Residents will elect one member to a five-year term. There are three candidates, including incumbent Charles Patt, David Warren and Bob McGregor.

Photo by Tom Rivers: Lyndonville’s L.A. Webber Middle-High School was able to have students for five days a week of in-person learning this school year.

LYNDONVILLE – The district is proposing a $15,266,797 budget, which is 3.9 percent or $568,579 from the $14,698,217 in 2020-21.

The tax levy, what the district collects in taxes, would increase 2.0 percent, from $4,439,388 to $4,528,176.

The budget maintains all current programs, including extracurriculars, athletics, advanced placement and GCC classes, music and arts, counseling services, academic support and a school resource officer.

Voting today is from noon to 8 p.m. in the Stroyan Auditorium Foyer on Housel Avenue.

• Yates Community Library – This proposition authorizes the district to collect $116,718 for the local public library, which is up $7,845 or 7.2 percent from $108,873 in 2020-21.

• Bus proposition – authorizes Lyndonville to spend up to $135,000 for a new 64-passenger bus.

• Board of Education – There are three 3-year seats up for election and the incumbents – Ted Lewis, Susan Hrovat and Steven Vann – are all seeking re-election with no opposition.

MEDINA – The district is presenting a $39,323,374 school budget for 2021-22 that doesn’t increase taxes for the 10th straight year.

The budget is down more than $1 million from the $40,491,733 in 2020-21. The proposed spending plan eliminates one clerical and three teaching positions through attrition. The budget maintains all existing programs and will help students catch up in learning during the Covid-19 pandemic, district officials said.

The tax levy, what the district collects in taxes, remains at $8,641,861. Medina now has not increases taxes in 13 of the last 14 years.

The budget vote will be May 18 from noon to 8 p.m. in the District Office Board Room, which is next to the high school.

Medina’s overall state aid is up $1,265,391 or by 4.6 percent from $27,494,499 to $28,759,890. The district’s Foundation Aid is up $539,981 or by 3.0 percent from $17,999,389 to $18,539,370.

The budget includes the purchase of two large buses. It eliminates one contract bus run and returns it to the district, resulting in $74,800 savings.

The budget also includes a new Bobcat vehicle for the Buildings and Grounds department. The district superintendent also said a 2010 capital bond has been paid off.

• Board of Education – There are also three seats up for election in Medina this year. There are two 3-year terms and 1-year term that will assume duties on May 19.

Two people – Corrine Ryan and Alissa Bruce – submitted petitions and will be on the ballot. This means at least one of the three vacant seats will be filled by write-in candidates. At least three people are mounting write-in campaigns — incumbent Ann Webster-Bunch, Debbie Tompkins and Jennifer Buondonno.