VCSD Board sends $25.4M budget to voters for approval

VOORHEESVILLE — At a special meeting on Tuesday night, the Voorheesville School Board voted, 6 to 1, to put up a $25.4 million budget for voters to decide on, on May 21.

Michael Canfora cast the sole dissenting vote.

If approved, the 2019-20 budget will trigger a 2.96-percent increase in the property-tax levy and $477,000 in spending cuts.

Among the $477,000 in cuts are the elimination of a kindergarten teacher position, the school resource officer program, three full-time teaching assistants, and one full-time aid. The district’s French program will also die a slow death as the board voted to eliminate seventh-grade French, meaning this year’s seventh-graders will be the last class eligible to take the language as French will be phased out over the next five years.

Only last month, it was announced that the district had been facing a half-million dollar shortfall, primarily due to a spike in prescription-drug costs. By the beginning of this month, that number had swelled to $622,000. The tax increase and spending cuts are the direct result of these dramatic increases in drug costs, which Superintendent Brian Hunt on Tuesday said continue to go up.

If the budget is voted down, the district has one more chance to present it to the voters or to present a revised version. If the budget is not approved on the second vote, the levy increase would be 0 percent.

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