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New Leb school budget passes with tax levy hike

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By DOUG LAROCQUE

NEW LEBANON–Looking at a nearly 9% hike in the property tax levy and needing a super majority of the votes cast on Tuesday, May 21, the voters in the New Lebanon Central School District overwhelming supported the final budget proposal put forth by the school board. The vote was 310 Yes to 133 against.

When the school board first started to work on their 2024-25 spending plan, there was lots of angst over the state aid numbers put forth by Governor Kathy Hochul in her initial budget proposal. These figures showed the New Lebanon school district actually losing state aid as compared to the current year. That loss combined with a 10% increase in expenses, many contractual and unable to be reduced, had the district looking at massive program and personnel cuts.

The legislature restored the so called “save harmless” part of the education aid formula, which meant the district would receive the same amount of aid as this year, but not a penny more. After a lengthy “do the math” session, the board put forth a proposal that would raise the tax levy by 6.5% and cut four positions – an office secretary, two teacher aides and the IT instructor’s position. Those cuts did not go over well with the public that attended the April school board meeting. They were opposed to the plan, but not because it was too expensive but because they wanted the positions restored. Of primary concern was the loss of the part-time teacher aides, as it would have eliminated any outside recess at the elementary school, and the IT position. The board listened and did some quick figuring to determine what the tax levy would be with these positions back in the budget.

The figure ended up being an 8.9% increase. The board had concerns about that but went along with the public’s request. That tax levy figure would mean the budget would need a “super majority” of the votes cast (60%) to be considered approved. In the end, the board and the district were able to “leave their worries on the doorstep” as the Yes votes far exceeded that number.

The bus purchase proposal also passed by a margin of 322-118. Incumbents William Buckenroth and Michael Brutsch were re-elected to the school board without opposition.

School budget votes pass in all districts

By EMILIA TEASDALE

GHENT—Results from the May 21 school budget votes in the county are in. All budget proposal passed, along with bus purchasing propositions in Ichabod Crane, New Lebanon and Taconic Hills.

There were also school board elections in all districts. In Hudson, two new board members were elected – Amanda Grubler and Matthew Mackerer. And at Ichabod Crane, a write-in candidate, Max DiOrio, will join the board for a 2-year term after a board member Megan Pelizza resigned in early May.

School budget 2024-25 results:

Chatham

Budget: $35,428,551 — 391 yes* to 159 no

Percent increase: 3.07%

Proposed levy: $25,061,334

Levy increase: 2.89%

Board open seats/term length: 2, 3-years

Board candidates:

*Lina Collett – 323

Beth Hover – 234

*Nikki Lundy – 382

Proposition 2: $9.5 million capital reserve — 384 yes* to 161 no

Germantown

Budget: $16,760,146 – 162 yes* to 95 no

Percent increase: -3.05%

Proposed levy: $10,471,675

Levy increase: 1.27%

Board open seats/term length: 2, 4-years

Board candidates:

*Lori Marchisio Crawford – 133

*Michael Pudney – 135

Hudson

Budget: $55,602,026 – 464 yes* to 231 no

Percent increase: 2%

Proposed levy: $25,458,028

Levy increase: 2%

Board open seats/term length: 2, 3-years

Board candidates:

Micaela McClinton – 91

*Amanda Grubler – 382

Daryl Blanks – 300

Selha Graham – 96

*Matthew Mackerer – 430

Write-in – 3

Ichabod Crane

Budget: $50,187,013 – 609 yes* to 307 no

Percent increase: 3.29%

Proposed levy: $27,477,201

Levy increase: 2.95%

Board open seats/term length: 4, 3-years (3), 2-years (1)

Board candidates:
Valerie Spensieri – 630*

Cal Waits – 536*

Anne Schaefer – 616*

Write-in: Max DiOrio – 112* (2 year term)

Prop 2: Vote on bus referendum to purchase 5 buses for a total cost of $665,654. – 601 yes* to 315 no

Prop 3: Student Representative on the Board of Education. 772 yes* to 141 no

New Lebanon

Budget: $14,707,074 – 310 yes* to 133 no

Percent increase: 6.51%

Proposed levy: $9,846,484

Levy increase: 8.91%

Board open seats/term length: 2, 3-years

Board candidates:
*Michael Brutsch

*William Buckenroth

Prop 2: Bus purchase proposition for a total of $284,451. – 322 yes* to 118 no

Taconic Hills

Budget: $40,284,996 – 278 yes* to 87 no

Percent increase: 4.93%

Proposed levy: $25,867,186

Levy increase: 2.99%

Board open seats/term length: 2, 5-years

Board candidates:
Joseph Costa – 244*

Jeanine Earnhart – 291*

Write-in – 11

Prop 2: Funding of Capital Reserve. – 267 yes* to 96 no

Prop 3: Capital Improvement Project – Building & Site Improvements. – 285 yes* to 79 no

Prop 4: Purchase of School Vehicles and Buses. – 273 yes* to 91 no

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