Shen budget voted through, write-ins still being counted for third board seat

Voters turned out to the Gowana Middle School Gymnasium to vote on the budget on May 15.

KASSIE PARISI/GAZETTE REPORTERVoters turned out to the Gowana Middle School Gymnasium to vote on the budget on May 15. KASSIE PARISI/GAZETTE REPORTER

By Kassie Parisi

Gazette Reporter

CLIFTON PARK — Voters turned out to, ultimately, approve a $174 million budget for the Shenendehowa Central School District for the upcoming school year and re-elect two board members to the Shen Board of Education.

The $173,682,956 budget passed at a final vote of 1,575 to 543.

This budget is a 2.1 percent increase from the current year’s budget.

The budget has estimated tax levy impact of 2.9 percent. That is within the state-mandated tax cap for the district.

Residents of a typical Clifton Park home are expected to see an increase of about $54 in their tax bills.The board approved the budget at its April 10 meeting.

Last year’s budget totaled $169,957,065.

For the 2018-19 school year, Shen is projected to receive $47,207,010 in funding from the state, a slight increase from last year.

Current board members Bob Pressly and Christina Rajotte were both reelected to serve three-year terms. However, the winner of a third seat on the board, for which no candidates officially filed paperwork but at least four write-in candidates ran for, was not announced Tuesday night.

There were 983 write-in votes, and those results are projected to be finalized later this week.

Voters also approved a proposal that will allow the district to purchase 22 new school buses of varying sizes.

District Superintendent L. Oliver Robinson said that the influx of write-in candidates was a surprise to the board.

“This is pretty unique for us. We were all surprised at the end of the petition period that we only had the two incumbents,” he said. During his 13 years as superintendent, people had always expressed interested in officially running for the board.

Ultimately though, he believes that the large number of write-in votes could be an indication that more people want to become involved with the school board process.

“From my perspective as superintendent, I hope that people realize and appreciate the sig role that the board of education plays in helping to define and shape the quality of education that we provide to our students.”

On Tuesday night, Rajotte said that she is looking forward to continuing to work with the board towards long-term goals, including increasing school safety, expanding mental health care services offered to students.

She added that the Shen board was a “good team” and is fully equipped to tackle such issues.

“I’m excited to be able to continue with my board service,” she said. “It’s something I’ve been passionate about, not only through my first term but prior to my involvement with the district.”