By Cady Kuzmich
Clifton Park –Voters in the Shenendehowa School District approved a $166 million school budget for the 2016-2017 school year Tuesday night, May 17 by a vote of 2,027-531.
The 2016-2017 school budget is up 2.1 percent from the 2015-2016 $162.9 million budget, which carried a 1.72 percent increase over the previous year and was approved by voters 2,430-981.
The district will receive $45,960,827 in state aid this year up from $42,783,912 in 2015.
The budget includes $35,000 for art programs in the high school, $60,000 for athletic field maintenance and $4,000 to maintain microscopes. The district has allocated $80,000 to expand counseling support for “growing mental health needs.”
In addition to the budget, community members considered four other propositions Tuesday evening.
- By a vote of 2,109-490 voters approved spending an additional $2.16 million on 21 new buses. According to information on the school’s website, state aid will cover about 60 percent of this cost. The school estimates the impact on the tax rate to be about .17 percent over the course of five years.
- With a vote of 2,046-542 voters approved a $16.6 million capital improvement program for an assortment of projects including upgrading the high school library. The district said this project will “address priorities identified in the five-year facilities study as well as modernization of the High School Library, campus signage and playground improvements. This project isn’t expected to impact the tax levy.
- Voters approved the creation of a $12 million capital reserve fund by a vote of 2,044-530; the money for the fund will come from the district’s fund balance, budgetary appropriations and state aid.
- Voters considered four candidates for three seats on the school board. Each seat carries a three-year term. The three seats up for election on Shenendehowa’s Board of Education were James Trainor’s seat, Todd Gilbert’s seat and Gary DiLallo’s seat. Trainor announced earlier this year he wouldn’t seek reelection due to family and business responsibilities. DiLallo and Gilbert sought re-election while two community members, Deanna Stephenson and Kathleen Khemili ran for the first time. Deanna Stephenson brought in the highest number of votes for the night with 1,976. Stephenson was followed closely behind by Gilbert with 1,912 votes and DiLallo with 1,817 votes. Khemili wrapped up the night with 1,032 votes. A statement on Khemili’s campaign facebook page read, “Thank you to those of you who voted for me. I didn’t get a seat on the board but I will still be advocating for students with special needs in every way that I can. I am blessed to have had this journey either way.”