Chenango votes today on school budgets, board races

Voters in Chenango County head to the polls today to decide on budgets, school board candidates and propositions in each of the county’s school districts. Here’s a roundup:

Afton

Afton residents will vote on the district’s 2011-12 proposed budget, totaling $14,724,301. That figure represents an increase in spending of $273,362, or 1.89 percent, over last year’s budget. The impact on taxpayers will be an estimated tax levy increase of 1.99 percent.

Voters will also vote on a proposition to authorize the purchase of one 22-passenger wheelchair accessible school bus for an amount not to exceed $58,525 and one minivan for an amount not to exceed $25,000.

District residents will also decide who will fill two vacancies on the board of education. One of the vacancies is for a 5-year term; the other a 2-year term. Two candidates will appear on the ballot: Duane Phillips, who was appointed to the board last year, and newcomer Ted King. The candidate with the most votes will be elected to the longer term.

Polls will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday in the Afton Central School lobby.

Bainbridge-Guilford

Bainbridge-Guilford’s proposed budget for the 2011-12 academic year totals $$16,756,946; a 2.2 percent, or $353,750, increase in spending from the current year’s spending plan. The impact on taxpayers will be an estimated increase in the tax levy of 1.8 percent.

Residents will also vote on a proposition to authorize the district to borrow $94,000 to purchase two vehicles to replace two school busses in the B-G fleet.

District residents will also decide on two board of education seats, each of which carries a three year term. The seats are currently held by Howard Lockhart and Jeanne Shields. Both are running for re-election. A third name will also appear on the ballot, that of challenger Patrick McElligott.

Polls will be open from Noon to 9 p.m. on Tuesday at the Bainbridge Town Hall and Guilford Town Hall.

Gilbertsville-Mt. Upton

The Gilbertsville-Mt. Upton Board of Education has proposed a 1.75 percent increase in the tax levy for the next school year. G-MU cut spending by 2.29 percent and is looking at a $576,234 shortfall in aid.

The proposed $8,664,705 budget is $203,139 less than last year’s $8,867,844.

Voters will cast their ballots Tuesday from noon to 8 p.m. in the school’s main lobby.

Superintendent Glenn Hamilton said the district expected federal stimulus aid to “drop off the cliff” as the one-time funds ran out. The school revised its three-year financial plan as Albany cut aid by 3.28 percent more than expected for the 2011-2012 school year.



Hamilton said the school would bridge the remaining shortfall by eliminating nine positions, including four and a half instruction positions and four and a half support staff. Hamilton said two of the positions were currently on extended leaves of absence and at least two others would be eliminated by attrition. The rest of the employees will be laid off at the end of the current year.

There are four candidates seeking three open seats on the school’s board of education. Current board members Zachary Proskine, Harold “Manny” Button and Gerald Theis are again seeking their seats. Nancy Bakhuizen is also seeking election to the board.

Greene

Greene voters will cast their ballots for or against the district’s 2011-12 proposed budget, which totals $23,960,520. That figure represents an increase in spending of $49,952, or .21 percent, over the current year’s budget. The impact on taxpayers will be an estimated increase in the tax levy of 2.0 percent.

District residents will also decide who will fill two vacancies on Greene’s board of education seats. Incumbents William Cline and Timothy Crumb are both seeking re-election without opposition.

Polls will be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, May 17 in the Middle/High School Auditorium Lobby.

Norwich

Residents of the Norwich City School district will vote yes or no on the district’s proposed spending plan for the 2011-12 academic year. The tentative budget, which totals $37,090,193, represents no increase in spending over the current year. The impact on taxpayers will be an estimated tax levy increase of 1.87 percent.

Voters will also weigh-in on the portion of the Guernsey Library’s proposed budget which will be raised by taxes, totaling $963,542. In addition, city residents will vote on three library Board of Trustees positions of one, three and five years. Incumbent Barb Collins is the sole petitioner for a Board of Trustee position and the remaining two seats will be filled by write-in or appointment.

District residents will also decide who will fill two vacancies on the Norwich board of education. Incumbent school board members Tom Morrone and Priscilla Johnson will appear on the ballot, as will challengers Joseph McBride, Erica Barrows and Bob Patterson.

Polls will be open from noon to 9 p.m. on Tuesday in the district’s three polling locations. All residents of the City of Norwich and the towns of Norwich, North Norwich, New Berlin, Guilford and Oxford will cast their ballots at St. Bartholomew’s Parish & Community Center, 73 East Main St. in Norwich.

District residents living in the towns of Plymouth and Smyrna will vote at the Plymouth Fire Station, State Hwy. 23 in Plymouth. Residents of Preston, Pharsalia and McDonough will vote at the Preston Fire Station.

Otselic Valley

The Otselic Valley Central School District has proposed a budget of $8,905,121 for the 2011-2012, a .21 percent – or $18,366 – reduction as compared to this year’s spending plan. The proposed budget calls for a 1.53 percent tax levy increase.

District residents will also vote on the proposed purchase of two vehicles, a Ford F-350 –with attached plow – for use at the Otselic Valley Elementary School – and an SUV passenger vehicle for the transport of students to out-of-district placements.

A final proposition would establish a second Capital Reserve Fund, used to help the school district offset necessary costs for building repairs or capital improvements.

District residents will also vote on one board of education vacancy, with newcomer Marcia Marshall as the only candidate on the ballot.

Polls will be open from noon to 9 p.m. District one – Madison County voters – will vote at the Otselic Valley Elementary School in Georgetown, while district two – Chenango County voters – will vote in the multi-purpose room at the Otselic Valley Junior-Senior High School.

Oxford

Oxford residents will vote on the district’s 2011-12 proposed budget, which totals $16,935,666. That figure represents a decrease in spending of $152,310, or .89 percent, from the current year’s budget. The impact on taxpayers will be an estimated increase in the tax levy of 1.99 percent.

Residents will also be voting on two propositions, the first of which concerns the Oxford Memorial Library’s proposed budget totaling $129,521, an increase of $1,219 over the current year. The second proposition concerns the authorization to purchase two 72-passenger school bus and one 22-passenger bus for an amount not to exceed $280,000.

District residents will also decide who will fill two vacancies on the board of education. Incumbents Gene Rood and Mary Branham, as well as challenger Julie Gates, will both appear on the ballot.

One position on the library’s board of trustees will also be filled. Incumbent Fred Lanfear will be the sole name on the ballot.

Polls will be open from 1 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday in the Oxford Academy High School Media Center.

Sherburne-Earlville

A public hearing of the Sherburne-Earlville Central School District Board of Education tentative 2011-2012 budget last week drew out about 35 district residents and questions from only a small handful.

Next year’s budget keeps the tax levy increase under 2 percent. The proposed spending plan, estimated at $29.5 million, would be an increase of 1.66 percent over the present school year’s. It calls for $1 million from set aside reserves.

Thirteen jobs would be eliminated, including one administrator, and the superintendent and assistant superintendent wouldn’t get raises.

Only two residents in the district questioned the budget Monday, and mostly about teacher’s union contracts and salary increases. S-E Board of Education President Doug Shattuck said the board attempted to renegotiate benefits and increases, if not freeze teachers’ salaries. However, union representatives refused to consider the concessions, he said.

Six candidates are on the ballot for three open seats on the board: Incumbent Susan Osborne of Sherburne; Brian Lane of Earlville; Michael Khoury, of Smyrna; David Jemzura from Sherburne; Chad Bohnert of Earlville; and Michael Ulrich of Sherburne.

Two propositions also appear on the ballot, one each for tax collections for the Earlville Free Library ($3,000) and the Sherburne Public Library ($5,000).

Residents may cast their votes in the foyers of the elementary school or middle/high school auditorium from noon to 9 p.m. tomorrow.

Unadilla Valley

In order to close an approximate $655,000 shortfall in the 2011-2012 budget, the Unadilla Valley School District announced it will cut 11 positions at the end of the current year.

With just over $700,000 in state aid reductions combined with the disappearance of federal stimulus funds and increasing costs, the district reported about a $1.3 million funding shortfall in planning the 2011-2012 budget.

The UV Board of Education decided to use $909,676 from the school’s $6.1 million reserve fund to help fill the gap. The school had already factored the savings of not replacing eight positions being lost to attrition at the end of the current school year.

The proposed $19,419,244 is 1 percent lower than the current budget and calls for no increase in taxes. The 11 effected employees including: Two part-time elementary teachers, two licensed teacher assistants, a business teacher, who also teachers drivers’ education, a social studies teacher, four special education teacher aides and a custodian.

Voters can cast their ballot on the budget and for school board Tuesday from noon to 8 p.m. at the District Office.

There are five candidates and three open seats on the board. Current Board President Bill Lyons, who has served as a member since the school merged in 1996, will not be seeking reelection.

Current board members Victoria L. Gregory and John D. Elliot are again seeking their open seats. Sandra M. Cooper, who was appointed last year to temporary fill former board member Stan Foulds’ vacancy, will be seeking a seat. Kristin L. Rumovicz and Clifton J. Frink are also seeking election to the board.

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