VCSD: Budget passes, uncontested races fill boards

Voorheesville results

The Enterprise — Saranac Hale Spencer
Gathering the numbers after polls closed in Voorheesville, Jessica Tabakian, left, and Mary Flansburg, right, get the results from the voting machine.

VOORHEESVILLE — Everything on the ballot passed easily on Tuesday night and the three candidates for uncontested seats on the school and library boards slid to victory.

Just about eight percent of eligible voters came to the polls to return C. James Coffin to the school board for his seventh term and seat newcomer Robert Samson for his first four-year term. Janna Shillinglaw, president of the library’s board of trustees, was given another term. All those posts are unpaid.

Voters also approved the district’s $24 million budget, the purchase of two new school buses, and a $2 million reserve fund to go toward building maintenance and potential future projects.

“We’ll have some great additions and we’ll have some great programs for our students,” said the district’s superintendent, Brian Hunt, after the unofficial numbers came in about half an hour after polls closed at 9 a.m. on Tuesday.

The district is planning to do repairs and upgrades on its two schools — including work on the windows, roofs, and furnaces — and it is considering future projects that might include a new bus garage and upgrades to its science and technology labs.

When state aid to schools was made final last month, the district found that it would have more than it had expected and added two part-time teachers for English and social studies so that it can lower class size. It also announced earlier this month that it will be offering more courses geared toward job training, called CTE, which is short for career and technical education.

Students will be able to graduate with a technical endorsement as early as next year.

That’s the kind of program that Coffin is eager to advance, he said.


The Enterprise — Saranac Hale Spencer
Longtime school board member C. James Coffin, who was up for re-election on Tuesday, talks with Dan Coons, left, as the votes were counted.


There are a lot of students who aren’t headed to college, he said, and the district should offer courses that will prepare them for jobs.

“We need to stimulate children not tuned into a college education as their way of moving forward,” Coffin said on Tuesday night.

He hopes to do more work on programs like CTE in his next four years and increase the offerings in science, technology, engineering, and math.

Samson, who graduated from Voorheesville’s high school and recently moved back to the district largely so that his three young children can go to the Voorheesville schools, is focused primarily on improving communication between the district and parents.


The Enterprise — Saranac Hale Spencer
A round of applause followed the announcement of the vote tallies at Voorheesville's middle school on Tuesday night. Here, the district's superintendent, Brian Hunt, right, claps, and school board member C. James Coffin, left, takes notes.


He’d like to see the district start using social media to communicate — “That’s how we consume information,” he said of his generation.

The library’s $1.17 million budget passed with 77 percent of the vote and the school’s budget passed with 78 percent.

That puts Voorheesville — along with Guilderland and Berne-Knox-Westerlo — in line with districts across the state, which had more than 99 percent of their budgets pass, according to the New York State School Boards Association.


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