While Saia mulls decision, two may challenge her for her VCSD board seat

VOORHEESVILLE — In a year of deep budget deficits and a potentially ugly lawsuit, Doreen Saia, the president of the Voorheesville School Board, told The Enterprise this week that she has yet to make a decision about running for another four-year term as a board member.

Meanwhile, Rachel Gilker, a mainstay of school board meetings and parent to three children in the district, has told The Enterprise she will run for a seat on the board. A third potential candidate, Sean Fell, also picked up a petition but could not be reached for comment.

No petitions had been returned to the school district as of Wednesday morning. Petitions with at least 25 signatures are due back to the district office by April 22.

Gilker moved to the area in 2011. She has a doctoral degree in soil science from the University of Maryland. In 2013, she founded an online magazine for pasture-based farmers; she left the magazine last year, but continues to work with dairy farmers.

Saia, an attorney, was appointed to the board in November 2014 to serve out the term of Kristine Gravino, who had resigned in September of that year. In May 2015, she won retiring board member Gary Hubert’s seat for a full four-year term. She was unanimously chosen as the board’s president in 2017; she has two sons in the district.

On May 21, residents will also vote on a $25.4 million budget for the 2019-20 school year, which would increase property taxes by 2.96 percent.

Library

At the Voorheesville Public Library, Trustee Lance Moore will stand for re-election, said Sarah Clark, the library’s director, adding that two other petitions had been picked up but have yet to be returned; petitions are due back by Monday, April 15, and require at least 25 signatures.

The library board has five members who serve at large; the posts are unpaid.

The plan, Clark said, is to keep the budget relatively flat and “well below the tax cap.” The preliminary budget for next year is estimated to be about $1.2 million, Clark said. This year, the library has a $1.18 million budget.

The state allows the library to levy about $1.19 million in property taxes; however, Clark said, she expects to ask voters to approve about $1.15 million for next year.

New Scotland and Guilderland residents served by the public library will see a penny increase in their tax rates, she said, while Berne residents will have a two-cent increase. This year, New Scotland residents have a tax rate of $1.26 per $1,000 of assessed value; in Guilderland, it’s $1.63 per $1,000; and in Berne, residents have tax rate of $1.92  per $1,000 of assessed value of their home.

The school and library elections as well as budgets votes will take place on May 21, from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m., in the foyer of Voorheesville Middle School.

More New Scotland News