Voters will have say Tuesday on school budgets, candidates for BOE

Photo by Tom Rivers: School busses are lined up last week at the middle school parking lot in Albion.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 May 2017 at 1:51 pm

Voters will go to the polls on Tuesday in Orleans County’s five public school districts to decide the fate of budgets, propositions and who will serve on the Board of Education.

The propositions up for vote in the school districts include:

ALBION – The district is proposing a $34,796,676 budget that increases spending by 2.7 percent. The budget also calls for a tax increase for only the second time in 11 years. Albion is proposing the 1.4 percent increase to reduce the risk of a bigger tax swing in the future, said Margy Brown, the Board of Education president.

She said the budget remains fiscally conservative, while ensuring opportunities for students.

The districts proposed tax levy for 2017-18 is $253,000 less than a decade ago.

The district would collect $8,474,939 in taxes as part of the budget, which is up $119,000 from the $8,355,939 in 2016-17. The tax rate would increase from $15.43 per $1,000 of assessed property in 2016-17 to a projected $15.57 in 2017-18.

• The budget includes propositions for $460,000 for bus purchases; $687,211 for Hoag Library (the same as in 2016-17); and two positions on the Board of Education.

• There are three candidates running for two five-year seats on the board. Wayne Wadhams, Kathy Harling and incumbent Marlene Seielstad are all running.

Polls are open from noon to 8 p.m. in the Elementary School, Conference Room A.

• HOLLEY – The proposed $24,500,000 budget is up by $100,000 or 0.4 percent. The budget would increase the tax levy – $6,968,766 – by 1.35 percent, or about $92,000, which is below the tax cap of 1.381 percent, she said.

• Proposition No. 2 – authorizing the purchase of school buses (two large and two small), a pickup truck, grounds maintenance equipment and choral risers – at a total cost not to exceed $496,600.

• Proposition No. 3 – support of the Holley Community Free Library. The proposed library budget for the 2017-2018 school year is $125,247.

Library Director Sandra Shaw said the budget is up from 2016-17.  She said the library must pay its staff minimum wage, which is up 7.69 percent. The cost of supplies such as paper, toner, toilet paper and books is also rising. Shaw noted the library has been able to expand programming significantly for both adults and children and has added Saturday hours.

• There are three candidates on the ballot for two open seats (3-year terms) on the Board of Education. Incumbents Robin Silvis and Salvatore DeLuca Jr. are running for re-election. Andrea Newman is making her first run for the BOE.

Voting is from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the foyer of the Middle School/High School.

• KENDALL – The proposed school budget of $17,415,783 is up 0.1 percent or by $23,549.  The budget would increase taxes by 1 percent, from $4,669,245 to $4,715,842.

• Voters will see a proposition to spend up to $250,000 from the School Bus Reserve Fund to buy motor vehicles for the district, including passenger buses.

• Lisa Levett and Jason ReQua are running for two spots on the board. There is one five-year term and another to fill about a year on the board, from May 17, 2017 to June 30, 2018.

Voting will be from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the Kendall Elementary School Gymnasium.

• LYNDONVILLE – The school district is proposing a $13,532,000 budget which increases spending by $278,000, a 2.1 percent increase.

However, the budget won’t increase taxes. The tax levy remains the same at $4,266,578. Lyndonville was able to keep taxes in check partly due to a boost in state aid by $296,080.

Besides the budget, other propositions include:

• Authorization to increases taxes for Yates Community Library by 6.4 percent or $5,854, from $91,589 to $97,443.

• Permission to establish a capital reserve fund with a goal to have up to $4 million in the fund for construction, reconstruction, and other improvements to the district’s facilities, buildings and grounds.

• Authorization to buy one 66-seat passenger school bus for up to $112,000 and one 22-seat passenger, wheel-chair lift equipped van at an estimated a maximum cost of $68,000.

• Two people – Penny Barry and Darren Wilson – are on the ballot for two open seats. Incumbent Susan Hrovat is also running a write-in campaign. One of the open seats is for three years and the other is to fill the remainder of Michelle Dillenbeck’s term, which runs to June 30, 2018.

Voting is from noon to 8 p.m. in the Stroyan Auditorium foyer

• MEDINA – The proposed $36,620,793 budget represents a 2.4 percent spending increase or $866,961 more than the $35,753,832 in 2016-17.

However, the district is proposing a 0.22 percent tax decrease, down from $8,660,915 to $8,641,861, or $19,054 less in taxes.

The district has steadily been reducing taxes in recent years. The 2013-14 budget had a $9,135,636 tax levy. Medina has now reduced school taxes by $493,775 in four years, a 5.4 percent decrease.

Mark Kruzynski, the district superintendent, said Medina hasn’t sacrificed programs or its fund balances to chip away at the tax levy.

The 2017-18 budget includes about $550,000 more in Foundation Aid from the state. The proposed district budget includes staffing cuts through attrition – 2 elementary teachers, a special education teacher, one classroom aide and one clerical position.

• Medina is seeking to reduce the number of positions on its Board of Education from nine to seven. If the proposition passes, the board would remain at nine seats in the 2017-18 school year, with the reduction taking effect beginning July 1, 2018.

• Four people are running for three open seats, including incumbents Dave Sevenski and Bill Keppler. Mary Hare and Arlene Pawlaczyk are also running. Chris Keller isn’t seeking re-election.

The vote will be from noon to 8 p.m. at the district office.

(Editor’s Note: This story was updated to say Susan Hrovat is running as a write-in candidate in Lyndonville.)

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