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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.

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

The following are school budget and board results. Polls close at 8 p.m. and will be updated as results are finalized.

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
Joan Tarantino 173
(one-year seat)
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
Joseph Hanlon 80
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
Tammie LaGuerre 231
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
Heidi Kirchner 217
Jaclyn Nolan 276
Naomi Jarvis 74
(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
Eric Rich 210
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
Sarah Gebbie-Measeck 154
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
Stiling Knight 25
(one five-year seat; one one-year seat)

Michael Goot covers politics, the city of Glens Falls, the town and village of Lake George and other northern Warren County communities and education. Reach him at 518-742-3320 or mgoot@poststar.com and follow his blog at http://poststar.com/blogs/michael_goot/.

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reporter

Reporter for The Post-Star, covering the city of Glens Falls, town and village of Lake George and northern Warren County communities.

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