Voorheesville School Board to send $26M budget to voters for approval 

NEW SCOTLAND — At a special meeting on April 20, the Voorheesville School Board unanimously approved a $26 million budget for next year, which will now have to be approved by residents of the Voorheesville Central School District no earlier than June 1. 

The proposed $26 million spending plan is up about 2.43 percent over this year, and, if approved by voters, would trigger a 3.14-percent increase in the property-tax levy.

For the current school year, New Scotland residents pay the Voorheesville School District taxes of about $19.45 per $1,000 assessed value of property; Guilderland residents pay about $17.90 per $1,000; and Berne residents pay about $30.33 per $1,000 assessed value of property in taxes to the district.

Guilderland and New Scotland have revalued properties more recently than Berne and so the values are closer to full-market values — Guilderland’s homes are valued at 100-percent full-market value; New Scotland homes at 92 percent of full-market value; and Berne homes are valued at 59 percent of full-market value.

In normal times, budget votes and school board elections take place on the third Tuesday in May, but Governor Andrew Cuomo postponed those votes by executive order until at least June 1 in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The executive order also postpones the collection and filing of nominating petitions for the school board election. Three spots on the Voorheesville board are up for grabs whenever an election does take place.

Up for re-election are board Vice President Jeannie McDonnell and Trustee Diana Straut. 

Also available is the seat once occupied by Michael Canfora, who resigned from the board in October 2019.  Timothy Kremer, who was appointed to fill Canfora’s expiring term in December 2019, will seek a full four-year term.

Superintendent Frank Macri said that about five nomination petitions had been picked up so far, adding that, if others still want to run for the board, they can; they just have to contact the district clerk, Jessica Tabakian, for a petition.

“Due to the state’s economic losses resulting from the coronavirus,” schools could see a 20-percent drop in state aid, according to the New York State School Boards Association.

But Voorheesville, at least in the short-term, is unlikely to be subjected to state-budget vicissitudes — the district is far more reliant on property taxes (75 percent of revenues) that it is state money (25 percent) to fund its budget. For comparison, nearly 70 percent of the revenue in this year’s $202 million Schenectady City School District’s budget was state money.

With no budget gap, Macri said, there will be no job cuts but the district will have to look at whether or not it will be able to fill a future maintenance position, depending on what the state budget brings. A new social worker position was also added to next year’s budget, Macri said, but, if times get bad, that’s a job that could go unfilled.

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