By Kassie Parisi
CLIFTON PARK — Voters in the Shenendehowa Central School District approved a $169 million budget Tuesday night.
The budget passed 2,453 to 746. This year’s budget includes around $47 million in state aid, and will also allow the district to hire more faculty, including elementary school teachers at buildings that have higher enrollment numbers as well as a high school math teacher.
On Tuesday night, district superintendent Oliver Robinson said that the budget vote serves a few different purposes. One, he said, it provides a chance to evaluate, how the district is doing in the eyes of voters. The budget, he said, obviously also gives the district the capacity to implement new programs, and said Tuesday’s vote is proof that the community believes in the path that the district is on.
“We never take that for granted,” he said. “We work hard to do a good job, we work hard to inform the community about what we’re doing, and I think that reflected in the budget so, as we look down the road, the challenges of increased academic rigor is on the horizon for us, the challenges of the changing demographics of our community is on the horizon for us, and in spite of all of those things, we still have to look at, how do we ensure each child, and their respective needs are understood and appreciated in our system.”
In addition to the budget, Bill Casey and Naomi Hoffman were elected to the school board. Casey received the majority of the votes, with 2,301 and Hoffman received 1,466. Candidates Alex Blais and Jennyfer Gleason received
This will be Hoffman’s first term on the board, and Casey will be serving his 10th, non-consecutive term. Casey and Hoffman have both voiced their desire to see the 32 acres of undeveloped land owned by the district sold to the Town of Clifton Park and used for a public park.
“I’m feeling incredibly honored,” Hoffman said Tuesday night. Hoffman said that there are many things at the top of her agenda, the first one being the land sale.
“That’s important. We need to get that resolved so that we can move past it. We really need to move past it.”
Casey is looking forward to serving on the board as a mentor for new board members. He said that he’s looking forward to dealing with issues such as the land sale, talking about a full day kindergarten program, and the possible purchase of land in Halfmoon for a new school.
“We need to be agile, and we need to stay on top of our game,” Casey said after the vote.
The budget vote also secured approval for the purchase of 22 of new school buses at a cost not to exceed $2.25 million. The district, which has 206 buses that provide transportation to 13,000 students per year to public, private, and parochial schools, typically replaces at least 20 buses each year.