About 60 percent of voters on Tuesday rejected Fort Edward’s $11.575 million school budget, which appeared to be the only defeat among area districts.
Results for Salem were not immediately available. Elsewhere, two Lake George Board of Education members who were seeking re-election were ousted.
Fort Edward Superintendent of Schools Daniel Ward said he was disappointed that the budget was rejected by a vote of 154-102.
Turnout was strong, according to the district.
“I’m glad we had that number of voters come out and vote so we have a good feel for what the voters are thinking about the budget we proposed,” Ward said Tuesday night.
Fort Edward school officials were proposing to increase the tax levy by 6.14 percent to its cap of $3.184 million. However, the reduction in the property assessment of the former General Electric Co. dewatering plant property, now owned by WCC, was likely to drop the assessed value of the entire district from $139 million to $112 million.
Voters took to the polls on Tuesday to decide school budgets, board members and propositions on the ballots across the region.
If that becomes the final assessment, the district’s tax rate could increase from $21.53 per $1,000 to $28.34, according to a presentation from the district.
That weighed heavily on voters’ minds, according to Ward.
“We all work two jobs already,” said voter Lynne Ives. “Our village taxes are going up. Our water rents are going up. I’m going to have to get a job at Dunkin’ Donuts or something.”
Others said school officials should have prepared for the day that the General Electric dewatering plant finished its work. The change in assessment for that property has led to a serious tax shift for the rest of the property owners.
“Poor planning,” said voter Stan Maziejka Sr. “It could have been better thought out.”
Some residents said they would support the school district, no matter what the cost.
“I always vote yes on the school budget, because I support the school,” said voter Morgan Clark.
But it’s getting harder, said voter Mary Joy Mosher.
“You know, we’re a small district. We want the best for the district, but it’s scary for the taxpayers,” she said.
Ward said the district did increase spending this year, but not by an exponential amount. School officials were planning to add programs to improve academic achievement, including purchasing a new writing curriculum and a reading and math assessment program.
Ward said the board would have to get together to discuss the issue and decide whether to make cuts and put the budget out again for a vote in June, or go directly to a contingency budget.
When budgets are defeated, districts have the option to put a revised budget or same budget out again for another vote on the third Tuesday in June, which is June 19. Or the school board could choose to adopt a contingency budget, which does not increase spending.
Christopher Miles was the only candidate running for the Fort Edward board. He won the five-year seat. There were write-in candidates. James Donahue received the next most votes to win the five-year seat. James Swanson and Daniel Boucher were tied for a three-year seat, and Jennifer Holden won a 48-day seat that just lasts through the end of June.
Ward said he has to reach out to the people who received write-in votes to see if they would accept the job. If they all do, the district would have to schedule a run-off election.
In Lake George, newcomers Katie Bruening and Tricia Connor Biles won two three-year seats. Bruening was the top vote-getter with 521 votes, followed by Biles with 497. Incumbents James McCabe and Kim Heunemann received 362 and 355 votes, respectively.
The defeat comes on the heels of the board’s decision in March to eliminate the job of Lake George Junior-Senior High School Vice Principal Cody Conley and add an interim director of curriculum, instruction and support services. Residents had spoken out at meetings to retain Conley and questioned how the decision was made.
Biles said she believes voters responded to her positive message and her desire for open communication between the board and the community.
Biles said her intention is not to reverse the decision on the job cut.
“I’m looking for clarity in staffing roles with the restructure. I haven’t seen a transition plan,” she said.
Elsewhere, Schroon Lake incumbent Susan Repko lost a bid for re-election to another three-year term. Jacob DesLauriers was the top vote-getter with 232 votes, and he will be joined by former member Bruce Murdock, who got 175 votes. Repko finished third with 156 votes.
2018 school election results
|District||Budget||Yes||No||Ballot proposition||Yes||No||School board||Votes|
|Abraham Wing||$4.78 million (3.9 percent increase)||56||5|
|Argyle||$12.749 million (5.67 percent spending increase)||165||44||Argyle Free Library budget||149||59|
|Bolton||$9.423 million (1.98 percent spending increase)||192||91|
|Cambridge||$21.636 million (4.05 percent spending increase)||336||79||Purchase of one 20-passenger bus, four minivans||329||85|
|Cambridge Public Library budget||357||57|
|Corinth||$21.846 million (3.53 percent spending increase)||251||57||Bus purchases||256||60||Andrew Kelley||199|
|Establish bus purchase reserve||253||54||Arthur Lozier III (i)||237|
|Corinth Free Library budget||254||54||Cheri Sullivan||204|
|(two five-year seats; one two-year seat)|
|Fort Ann||$11.174 million (6.79 percent spending decrease)||108||15||Purchase one 21-passenger school bus||100||22|
|Fund repair reserve||103||17|
|Create capital reserve||97||25|
|Fort Edward||$11.575 million (6.62 percent spending increase)||102||154||Change election of board seats to at-large||179||68||Christopher Miles (i)||217|
|James Donahue (five-year seat)||8|
|James Swanson, Daniel Boucher (three-year)||6 each (tie)|
|Jennifer Holden (48-day seat)||3|
|Glens Falls||$44.3 million (2.93 percent spending increase)||453||94||Lease two 66-passenger buses||455||90|
|Granville||$25.91 million (3 percent spending decrease)||244||36|
|Greenwich||$21.663 million (3.5 percent spending increase)||256||90||Purchase two school buses||255||91|
|Greenwich Library and Easton library budgets||261||85|
|Hartford||$12.394 million (1.32 percent spending increase)||121||13||Purchase one 66-passenger bus, one van||118||16|
|Hudson Falls||$44.32 million (1.62 percent spending decrease)||382||59||Purchase buses at a cost not to exceed $360,000||364||75||Timothy Keenan (winner)||239|
|Indian Lake||$6.448 million (2 percent spending increase)||157||30||Spend $30,000 of bus purchase reserve to buy van||164||22|
|Establish capital reserve fund||160||25|
|Hadley-Luzerne||$21.484 million (2.81 percent spending increase)||259||77||Purchase two school buses||259||77||Mary Visscher (i) (winner)||250|
|Purchase three mini-vans||238||98||Lia Braico (winner)||190|
|Duane Moulton - write-in||66|
|(two full-term seats)|
|Johnsburg||$10.822 million (2.36 percent spending increase)||144||23|
|Lake George||$23.35 million (1.89 percent spending increase)||669||224||Purchase one 65-passenger bus||698||193||Tricia Connor Biles (winner)||497|
|Katie Bruening (winner)||521|
|Kim Heunemann (i)||355|
|James McCabe (i)||362|
|(two three-year seats)|
|Long Lake||$4.068 million (1.95 percent spending increase)||102||23||Use $115,000 from reserve fund to purchase bus||110||17|
|Minerva||5.439 million (3.07 percent spending increase)||112||33|
|Newcomb||$6.77 million (2.86 percent spending increase)||55||3|
|North Warren||$13.417 million (0.88 percent spending increase)||283||27||Daniel Freebern (i)||227|
|Jason Willette (i)||220|
|(two three-year seats; one one-year seat)|
|Putnam||$2.5 million (0.95 percent spending decrease)||82||21||99|
|Queensbury||$63.31 million (0.76 percent spending increase)||779||241||Purchase 72-passenger and three 42-passenger buses||814||205|
|Salem||$13.327 million (3.68 percent spending increase)||290||77||Bancroft Public Library budget||324||41||Elaine Davis (i)||138|
|(two three-year seats)|
|Saratoga Springs||$125.98 million (2.67 percent spending increase)||2,327||479||Spend $1.04 million to purchase school buses||2,362||534||John Ellis (i) (winner)||1,800|
|Capital project to upgrade buildings||2,344||475||Joanne Kiernan (i) (winner)||1,719|
|Land purchase to expand Greenfield Elementary||2,362||426||Patricia Morrison (winner)||1,432|
|Steve Grandin (i)||1,307|
|(three three-year seats)|
|Schroon Lake||$8.008 million (2.77 percent spending increase)||250||73||School bus purchases at a cost not to exceed $200,000||241||82||Jacob DesLauriers (winner)||232|
|Bruce Murdock (winner)||175|
|Susan Repko (i)||156|
|(two three-year seats)|
|Schuylerville||$35.54 million (1.98 percent increase)||469||166||Matthias Donnelly (winner)||344|
|Louis Maggiore (i)||333|
|Robert Thivierge (i) (winner)||423|
|(two five-year seats)|
|South Glens Falls||$56.646 million (2.07 percent decrease)||579||144||Bus purchases||565||159|
|Establish capital reserve fund||568||149|
|Change term of one board seat to two years||640||77|
|Ticonderoga||$22.417 million (8 percent spending increase)||316||136||John Bartlett (winner)||289|
|Erik Leerkes (i) (winner)||371|
|James Wells (i) (winner)||341|
|(three three-year seats)|
|Warrensburg||$19.534 million (0.17 percent spending decrease)||235||29||Establish equipment/vehicle purchase reserve||231||32||Diane Angell (i) (winner)||167|
|Nicole Winchell (i) (winner)||156|
|(two four-year seats)|
|Whitehall||$16.519 million (3.52 percent spending increase)||196||35||Lift capital reserve fund cap to $5 million||196||31||Frank Barber (i)||194|
|Purchase a 65-passenger school bus||197||33||Carrianne Arquette||185|
|(one five-year seat; one one-year seat)|