District closes gap on new school's budget

Elise Amendola  AP

In the Yorktown School District, voters approved the $98.17 million budget, 568-125, along with the establishment of a capital reserve fund, 585-107.

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.

On a final note, Pude said the last day of school for students is June 1 with the following dismissal times: 11 a.m., middle school; 11:15 a.m. high school; and 12:30 p.m., elementary schools.

The School Board voted 6-1 to adopt the budget following Monday's meeting of the Charlottesville Albemarle Technical Education Center board.

The idea of the cap was to control the amount of the tax hike, not to eliminate increases completely. Not only are deep cuts being discussed, but these districts will need a super majority, or 60 percent, of the vote for their budgets to pass, because the proposals exceed the tax cap. The approval comes with a 0.7 percent tax increase.

In April, school leaders announced that Bedden was leaving the district two years before the end of his current contract.

The fund was set up in 2011 as a repository for surplus money that would be used for building renovations. The capital improvement project was approved 454-154, and the energy performance proposition got 488 yes votes to 121 no. Any new construction project would still require a separate vote, even if covered by these reserve funds. The district was able to cut $200,000 through employee attrition, but faces annual health insurance and pension cost increases.

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Another factor behind the increase is the $9.3 million the district must borrow for the new public library to be built at Salesian Park. "All the propositions will benefit the school district". Ben Vitale (263), Paul Ryan (273) and Peter Svitavsky (235) were elected to three-year terms on the school board.

Board members present approved the preliminary budget unanimously, with three board members, Pat Vigliotta, Helen Schuster and Dave Feely, absent. Gaining three-year seats were: board vice president Evamarie Mraz (392 votes) and newcomer Beverly Alves of the town of Ephratah (371).

CHESTERIn Chester, the good news is the return to the tax rolls of Amscan, the party products manufacturer located in the industrial park, now that its PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) has expired. The budget is an increase of about $1.7 million over this year's $55.6 million figure. Board member Josh Gould said he wasn't satisfied with a 1.89 percent tax hike.

There are challenges as well. Pension costs are projected to increase by $381,000. The estimated cost is about $1.3 million, and state aid would cover 70 percent of that cost. Only two candidates ran for three open positions on the Board of Education, which necessitated write-ins. Their budget is a 2.1 percent increase from a year ago to $13,532,000.

"I am truly grateful to this community for supporting this budget which holds true to our commitment to provide the very best education for our students while remaining fiscally responsible", added Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian Osborne.

Chester also plans to partner with local businesses to give students a view into the real-world of work, through internships and job shadowing.

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