Voters passed a 2014-15 budget Tuesday, May 20, for a financially strained South Colonie School District, with the spending plan including cuts to transportation and a well-liked physical education teacher.
The South Colonie budget for next school year totals $95.2 million and holds a property tax levy increase of 2.64 percent. There were 1,693 votes supporting the budget and 755 against, according to unofficial results. The budget was within the district’s state-mandated property tax levy limit.
“I want to thank the community for supporting the vote. I feel like it was a sound budget,” said Superintendent Jonathan Buhner. “We had to make some difficult decisions, but they were focused on a well-rounded program and academic targets for our kids.”
The district estimates the average Colonie homeowner with a house assessed at $200,000 will see taxes increase nearly $98 next year. That figure could change slightly in August once the Town of Colonie finalizes assessment and equalization rates.
Buhner said community members made school district administrators aware of their concerns with the proposed budget, and he was pleased it received support.
“As superintendent, I think you’re always concerned that you were thorough and shared all the information with the public, so they have a sound understanding of the budget, so they can make an informed decision. That’s what I always hope for. I know that we worked very hard at that this year,” said Buhner.
In Board of Education elections, James T. Ryan, who ran uncontested, received 1,867 votes. David Kiehle ran for reelection and kept his seat on the school board receiving 1,389 votes while opponents Patricia Jarvis received 556 and Andre Ellman received 493 votes.