The Times
  • O-ECS voters defeat budget proposition

  • Voters in the Oppenheim-Ephratah School District defeated the budget proposition Tuesday night by more than a two to one margin, sending district officials back to the drawing board.

    Results showed 275 people voted no on the $8.5 million budget while 104 voted yes.

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  • Voters in the Oppenheim-Ephratah School District defeated the budget proposition Tuesday night by more than a two to one margin, sending district officials back to the drawing board.
    Results showed 275 people voted no on the $8.5 million budget while 104 voted yes.
    “When the board set out and established a 5.4 percent tax increase, they knew it was going to be a very difficult sell,” said District Superintendent Dan Russom during a telephone interview on Wednesday afternoon. “They felt it was what we needed to balance the budget. They hoped the voters would give that strong consideration.”
    The 5.4 tax levy increase was more than the 2.8 percent that was allowed by the state and would have needed a supermajority of 60 percent to have passed.
    “The board didn’t want to cut any further academic programs or take any more money out of the reserves,” said Russom, which was $450,000 in the defeated budget.
    Russom said the district needs to look at its options which includes bringing the same budget back to voters, presenting a budget with a 2.8 percent tax levy increase or opting for a contingency budget. If the budget fails a second time in June, then the district will have to adopt a contingency budget with a zero percent tax levy increase, he said.
    The defeated spending plan included two lay-offs of custodial bus drivers, one of which was vacant.
    Also in Oppenheim-Ephratah, Cheryl Lynch was elected to a three-year term on the school board with 225 votes; Cindy Breh to a three-year term with 201 votes and Ben Conte was elected to a two-year term with 187 votes. Conte will take office on May 17 to fill an unexpired position.
    Tallies for the other candidates included Bruce Carpenter with 175, David Rackmyre, Jr. with 165 and Jennifer Frasier with 137.
    The state School Board Association reported a 99 percent passage rate for school district within the tax cap and 60 percent passage rate for districts exceeding the cap.
    Overall, 96 percent of the school budgets passed.
    Voters in the rest of the surrounding school districts passed their budget propositions.
    •In Little Falls, the $21.1 million budget was passed with 409 yes votes and 177 no votes. Also, the bus proposition passed with 383 yes votes and 188 no votes, and the library proposition passed with 371 yes votes and 197 no votes.
    Elected to the school board for three-year terms were Christine Shepardson with 484 votes and Anthony Giaquinto with 422 votes. Elected to a one-year term was incumbent William Dodge with 380 votes. Michael Weiner received 175 votes.
    •In Dolgeville, the $18.2 million spending plan, with a projected two percent tax levy increase, was passed 245 to 90. The transportation proposition also passed, 221 to 87. This allows for the school district to bus kindergarten through second-grade students within a one-mile radius of the school. Incumbent Robert Maxwell was re-elected with 139 votes.
    Page 2 of 3 - •In St. Johnsville, voters passed the $8.7 million budget with 279 yes votes and 47 no votes. The plans calls for a 7.11 percent spending decrease from the current year’s budget and a tax levy increase of two percent.
    “We appreciate the confidence the community has in the school district and the board of education,” said interim Superintendent Ralph Acquaro in a news release.  “The budget maintains a quality education at an affordable cost.”
    Voters also approved a minivan purchase with 238 yes votes and 70 no votes. The amount of the authorization is not to exceed $18,500.
    Chad Eggleston was elected to a five-year term on the school board with 161 votes over incumbent Nan DeNinno, who received 143 votes. Ed Smith, a write-in candidate, received seven votes.
    •In Fort Plain, district residents voted in favor of the $18.6 million plan, which includes a 0.99 percent tax levy increase, with 306 votes in favor and 144 against.
    “I’d like to thank all of our residents who came to the polls and voted,” said Superintendent Douglas Burton in a news release. “With this budget, we don’t have to make any significant changes to the district’s academic programs. Keeping programs intact and keeping the budget under the tax levy limit was two goals the board set and achieved.”
    Mary Beth Hudyncia and Jami Stevens were elected to three-year terms on the board, garnering 359 and 324 votes, respectively, and Louis R. Capece was elected to a one-year term, with 242 votes. Dolores Hayes garnered 206 votes and write-in candidate James Petty, Jr. received one vote.
    •In the West Canada Valley school district, a 60 percent supermajority vote was needed because the tax levy increase was higher than allowed by the state. Voters passed the budget with 305 yes votes and 126 no votes, which is a 71 percent majority. 
    •In the Frankfort-Schuyler school district, the $17.4 million budget passed with 367 yes votes and 98 no votes. School board incumbent Lisa LoRe received 275 votes to keep her seat on the board.
    • In Herkimer, the $20.2 million budget passed with 469 yes votes to 161 no votes. Voters  also passed the library proposition with 371 yes votes to 254 no votes. Incumbents for the school board ran unopposed. Anthony Brindisi received 485 votes and John Cipriano received 457 votes.
    •In Ilion, voters passed the $27.5 million spending plan with 304 yes votes and 164 no votes.
    “I’m very appreciative to the folks that came out to vote and were supportive of our students,” said Ilion Central School District Superintendent Cosimo Tangorra, Jr.
    The two open board of education seats in Ilion went to Stephen Coupe with 360 votes and Deanna Stubley with 331 votes. Both were unopposed.
    • In Mohawk, voters passed the $15 million budget with 356 yes votes to 142 no votes. It includes a 4.99 tax levy increase.
     “The board of education worked diligently to create a budget that would provide students with educational opportunities and extracurricular activities within the limits of the school district’s financial means,” said Mohawk Central School Superintendent Joyce Caputo in an e-mail. “Our teachers and our staff work very hard to continue the Mohawk tradition of educational excellence that is the expectation of our community.”
    Page 3 of 3 - Jeffrey Sperl was elected to the school board with 270 votes over John LiBritz’s 182 votes.
    •In the Owen D. Young school district, the $5.4 million budget was adopted with 88 voting yes and 41 voting no. The budget includes a 1.99 percent tax levy increase.
    Voters also passed the three other propositions the school district put forward. The bus proposition passed with 86 yes votes to 40 no votes; the reserve repair fund proposition passed with 95 yes votes to 32 no votes and the voting-at-large proposition received 87 yes votes to 39 no votes.
    The candidate with the most write-in votes for the school board was Linda Tharp with 25 votes.
    Stephanie Perkins received 110 votes to be a Jordanville Library trustee.
    •In Poland, the $13.2 million budget was passed with 291 voting yes and 96 voting no. The 2012 - 2013 budget includes a two percent tax levy increase. School board seats went to Pamela Ahles with 192 votes and Michael Chauvin with 195 votes.
    •In Richfield Springs, the $11 million budget was passed with 304 yes votes to 164 no votes. The budget was a 0.53 percent increase from the current budget and includes a one percent tax levy increase. The two school board seats went to Scot Mondore with 335 votes and Bruce Watson with 325 votes. The library proposition also passed with 351 yes votes to 100 no votes.
    •In Mount Markham, the $24.7 million budget passed with 274 yes votes to 90 no votes. Thomas Huxtable and Jack Kilty were voted to serve on the school board. The library proposition passed with 282 yes votes and 83 no votes.