School Board Budgets Pass

Vote results

New trustees elected in Haldane, Garrison

Voters on Tuesday (May 18) approved by wide margins the 2021-22 budgets proposed for the Garrison, Haldane and Beacon school districts and re-elected every incumbent board member who ran, along with two newcomers.

Garrison

Kent Schacht

Schacht

Three incumbents on the seven-member board — Madeline Julian (191 votes), David Gelber (178) and Courtney McCarthy (178) — retained their seats and will serve 3-year terms, while Kent Schacht received 161 votes and was elected to a fourth open seat for a year to complete the term of Jill Lake, who resigned. (He was sworn in on Wednesday and will serve until June 2022.) The fifth candidate, Ned Rauch, received 117 votes but was not elected.

The 2021-22 budget, approved 185-61 by voters, includes $11.69 million in spending, or about $322,000 more than this year, an increase of 2.83 percent. The district plans to raise $9.7 million through property taxes, receive $976,000 in state aid and use $894,000 from its fund balance. The budget includes funding for two new positions: an environmental education/science teacher and a director of technology and instructional support, and eliminates three of eight full-time teacher aide positions.

Haldane

Valentine

Valentine

Three candidates ran for two open seats on the five-member Haldane school board. John Hedlund, an incumbent, held his seat with 368 votes. Maggie Valentine received 355 votes and won the seat vacated by Margaret Parr, who did not seek a third term. Valentine will join the board on July 1. Mark Daisley received 253 votes and was not elected.

The 2021-22 budget, approved by a 423-120 vote, includes $25.95 million in spending, or about $685,000 more than this year, an increase of 2.71 percent. The district plans to raise $21 million through property taxes, $3.1 million from state aid, and $721,000 from non-resident tuition, and use $645,000 from its fund balance and $410,000 from reserves.

Voters also approved, by a 410-131 vote, spending $175,000 on buses.

“Each year’s budget development brings unique challenges and this year was no different,” said Superintendent Philip Benante in a statement. “We tried to strike the right balance in supporting our programs while being wary of increased costs. While the passing of the budget is great news, it comes with the reduction of several support staff positions and impacts our colleagues.”

School votes

Beacon

Four incumbents on the nine-member board ran for four open seats. The top three vote-getters — John Galloway Jr. (733 votes), Jasmine Johnson (696) and Flora Stadler (688) — will serve three-year terms and the fourth-place finisher, Elissa Betterbid (658), will complete the final year of the term of Michael Rutkoske, who resigned in July. Galloway and Johnson were appointed last year to fill open seats.

The 2021-22 budget, which passed 701-184, includes $76.9 million in spending. The district’s state-mandated tax cap for 2021 is 2.35 percent, which translates to a $42.6 million tax levy, or $980,000 more than last year. It estimates a $97 property tax increase on a $300,000 home in Beacon that participates in the STAR tax-relief program. (The estimated increase will be $121 in Fishkill and $120 in Wappinger.)

Voters also approved, by a 703-180 vote, spending $395,000 on buses and, by a 738-148 margin, selling 33 acres owned by the district underneath and around Dutchess Stadium. Proceeds from the $627,000 sale to Dutchess County will go toward a $22 million-plus capital project that the district plans to present to voters this fall.

4 thoughts on “School Board Budgets Pass

  1. School board elections should be combined with city elections so more people will vote. Fewer than 900 residents of the Beacon City School District decided on May 18 to approve the sale of 33 acres of district-owned land beneath and around Dutchess Stadium to the county for well below its market value. [via Facebook]

  2. That’s a really great idea, Terry! Is the only obstacle preventing it the fact that school district terms and budgets are based on the upcoming scholastic year, and not the calendar year? Would a November election require all that work to occur six months earlier? I’d be curious is any other districts in New York State are pinned to November elections. It would save money on running separate elections.

    • In addition to the state law that Chip cites, the state constitution requires the state to pass its budget by April 1. Without knowing the level of state aid a school district will receive in advance, it’s impossible to prepare a school district budget to present to voters by May. All these elements work together, so that the school district has a voter-approved budget in place by the beginning of the school district’s fiscal year, which I think is around July 1.

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