School votes are next Tuesday, May 16

May 12, 2023 at 10:00 am by Observer-Review

FINGER LAKES--Residents in five districts will give a thumbs up or down to school budgets next week. All seek an increase in the tax levy and all districts cite inflation and increased costs as driving factors.
In Dundee, the district is asking voters to approve a nearly $21.2 million budget. This represents a 4.65 percent increase from the current budget.
In addition, several propositions are up for consideration.
Proposition two involves the purchase of two transportation vehicles not to exceed the cost of $330,000. There is no tax levy impact.
The district would like to establish a 10-year capital reserve fund that is capped at $5 million and can be used for construction reconstructions, renovations, improvements and additions to district facilities. Authorizing this proposition gives the district the ability to use the fund for a wide range of purchases, including, but not limited to, vehicles, athletic fields, equipment, and infrastructure.
The district would also like to enter into a “Contract for Educational Services” with the Dundee Library in the amount of $173,000, which is $5,000 more than the current annual library appropriation.
There are three candidates running for three, three-year seats. They include Casey Busch, Robert Neu and Jared Webster.
Voting is scheduled for Tuesday, May 16 from noon to 8 p.m. in the School’s Public Meeting Room.
In Penn Yan, the school has proposed a $40.8 million budget that would require a 2.79 percent tax increase. Several other propositions seek voters’ support to purchase two buses and a smaller vehicle not to exceed $415,000; launch a capital project to replace leaking and aging roofs on school buildings (this capital project does not result in any new or additional tax increases); and create a capital reserve fund, which would permit the district to save unplanned revenue and unspent funds at year’s end.
Finally, two three-year seats and one four-year seat are open on the board of education. Running for the open seats are Sharon Sweet, Robin Johnson and David Willson. The person registering the most votes will fill the four-year term.
To cast your ballot in Penn Yan, go to the Penn Yan Academy gymnasium on Tuesday, May 16 from noon to 8 p.m.
In Hammondsport, the proposed budget – coming in at just over $15.7 million – reflects an increase of 1.75 percent.
Carre Doyle is running for the board of education. There is one open seat with a five-year term. Finally, voters will be asked to authorize the purchase of two 70-passenger diesel buses, using resources from a capital reserve and fund balance. This results in no impact on the levy.
Hammondsport district residents can vote on the annual budget on Tuesday, May 16 from noon to 8 p.m. in the high school gym.
In Watkins Glen, the district has proposed a $29.4 million budget that would represent a 2.99% increase over last year. In context, this means a home assessed at $150,000 will see a $57 per year increase in taxes; a home assessed at $200,000 will absorb an $81 per year increase; and homeowners with property assessed at $350,000 will pay an additional $151 per year. Nearly 70 percent of the budget is earmarked for program initiatives.
Voters will also be asked to consider a proposition that would authorize leasing six Thomas C2 66-passenger buses, with an annual cap of $195,000 for five years.
Finally, three three-year seats are open on the board of education. Running for the open seats are Jessica Saks, Theresa Butler and Tracey VanSkiver.
To cast your ballot in Watkins Glen, go to the Watkins Glen high school Board of Education room from noon to 8 p.m., Tuesday, May 16.
In Odessa-Montour, the proposed budget stands at nearly $20 million, which is an increase from the 2022-2023 budget by $1.5 million or 8.3 percent. According to the school board President Robert Halpin in the district newsletter, 60 percent of the budget increase comes from staff salaries. Interim Superintendent of Schools, Tracy Marchionda, explained the increase in professional salaries is due to the loss of federal funding the district received through the American Rescue Plan during the COVID pandemic. However, state aid has helped to offset that loss and the tax levy increase is 1.5 percent.
For context, homeowners with property valued at $100,000 can expect to pay between $19.34 and $22.75 more per year if the proposed budget is approved.
Included in the proposed budget is a capital outlay project at B.C. Cate that will replace old lights with energy-efficient lighting. Project costs cannot exceed $100,000, and the district expects to receive approximately $90,000 in building aid from the state during the next academic year as compensation for completing this project.
There are also two propositions on the ballot. They include the purchase of two 66-passenger school buses and a transit van at a maximum cost of $380,000; and the approval of funds for the Dutton S. Peterson Memorial Library ($78,827) and the Montour Falls Memorial Library ($171,373).
There are two, three-year school board positions up for vote this year, with four candidates: Kyle VanGalder, Jason Dechow, Jennifer Mosher and Erica Lohmeyer.
Odessa-Montour residents can vote on the annual budget Tuesday, May 16, from noon to 8 p.m. in Room 12 at the Hanlon Elementary School.
This story was updated on Friday, May 12 to add comments from Odessa-Montour Interim Superintendent Tracy Marchionda.
BY Stephanie Specchio
Sections: NEWS 1