KINDERHOOK – At a special meeting Tuesday, April 17, the Ichabod Crane Board of Education approved a $40,190,782 proposed budget for the 2018-19 school year. This budget will be put in front of the voters May 15 at the annual budget vote and school board election held in the high school gym from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Also on the ballot will be Proposition #2, a school bus purchasing proposal allowing the district to acquire four buses at a cost of approximately $476,020. The district has had proposals like this one on all but one of the last eight annual budget votes.
This year there will also be a third proposition asking voters to allow the district to establish a Capital Reserve Fund “in an amount not to exceed $5,000,000 with a probable term of ten years.”
“In this proposal we are not asking tax payers for $5 million,” said Board President Anthony Welcome, at the meeting. The district needs approval to open the account. Funds can be put in the account by a board vote over the next 10 years.
“It’s a planning tool,” said Business Manager Michael Brennan. Funds in that account can only be used on capital projects. There would need to be a special election to do any major capital improvement project to the facilities and residents would also have to vote on using the funds for the project.
School Superintendent Michael Vanyo said there is “no set amount that will go in” to the account if it is approved by voters this year. And that the “board has to vote to put it in there.” He said the board would decided how much money to put in the fund this summer after the financial accounts are closed for this school year.
Also at the budget vote there will be three open board seats on the ballot. Regina Rose, John Antalek, Brendan Caluneo and Jessica Berner are running for those seats. Mr. Antalek, Mr. Caluneo and Ms. Rose are all seeking reelection. Elected candidates will serve 3 year terms beginning July 1, and continuing through June 30, 2021.
As for the total proposed school budget, board member Jeff Ouellette pointed out at the meeting, “Our budget is now over $40 million.” He said that was a big number and the tax levy increase, which is 2.59%, is also higher than it has been. “This number affects” property owners in the district he said.
Mr. Vanyo said that this budget has no major cuts.
“About six weeks ago, we were $1 million in the hole,” Mr. Vanyo said about the budget. “We were really looking at making cuts.” But after the board approved over a dozen retirements and the district cut the Transportation Department down from two bus runs to one, that made up the deficit. Also, the state aid amounts were announced earlier this month and the district received a $408,000 increase.
Board member Matthew Nelson said that though he supported the budget he wanted to see the district “push forward” on the academic front. “A lot of ideas were kicked around late” in the budget discussion that could have been added to the budget, he said. “I hope that we will redouble our efforts” to create a list of things that the district wants.
Ms. Rose also stressed that point, saying board members should have conversations about what they want to see in the budget before the budget discussion even starts.
Mr. Vanyo said he and board would start planning this summer. He talked about having a list of things that might include more Advance Placement classes, more STEM (science, technology, engineering and math education) and foreign language programs. He also told the board that the administration was working on a long-term plan for the district.
The board will host a budget hearing Tuesday, May 1 at 7 p.m. in high school library.
The annual school budget vote and board member election will be held on Tuesday, May 15, with polls open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the high school gymnasium on Route 9. In order to be eligible to vote, voters’ names must appear on the county Voter Registration List or the School District Listing.
Questions about voting can be directed to the Ichabod Crane District Clerk Mindy Potts at 518 758-7575 ext. 3001 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email email@example.com