Onteora has no tax increase and no contested seats

(Photo by Dion Ogust)

(Photo by Dion Ogust)

Voters in the Onteora School district will go to the polls 2 p.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday, May 21, at the four elementary schools, Woodstock, West Hurley, Bennett, and Phoenicia, to consider a proposed budget of $51,609,440 for the 2013-2014 school year. This is a spending increase of $1,847,004 or 3.71 percent, however district officials released $3,462,334 from a healthy fund balance that will allow for no increase to the tax levy.

If voters were to reject the levy, according to new State laws, the district would no longer have the latitude for a second vote if it desired. Instead, a contingency budget would be put into place based on the previous year’s budget, which, in this case, would also carry no increase of taxes. Contingency rules would still apply, though, and, if the budget were rejected, purchase restrictions would be placed on equipment such as technology, musical and athletic equipment, and field trips.

Two three-year positions on the school board are also up for a vote, but neither is contested. Incumbents Tom Hickey and Rob Kurnit names appear on the ballot with no other candidates. They have both served one three-year term and each was previously selected by the Board of Education for one year when two other trustees resigned. Hickey lives in Big Indian and has two children. Kurnit is a Woodstock resident and married to an Onteora teacher.

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Board meets at 9 p.m.

A copy of the school budget is now on file at the district’s schools including the Central Office in Boiceville, and available to be viewed from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. It is also available at local town libraries in Hurley, Olive, Phoenicia, West Hurley and Woodstock during regular library business hours, or by going to the district’s website at Onteora.k12.ny.us.

Kindergarten-through-grade six students will have an early dismissal at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, May 21, because of the vote.

A special meeting of the board of education will follow the election at approximately 9 p.m. at the Onteora Middle-High School in Boiceville, to accept the votes cast.

Board trustees have instructed administration officials to conduct an exit survey during voting hours. Voters will be directed to and asked to fill out a survey once casting their vote. Questions asked focus on the budget, demographic information, and the district as a whole. It is completely voluntary and anonymous.

There is one comment

  1. Sierra Smith

    Where does the $3,462,334 come from? OUR overpaid taxpayer money, (reserves). It amazes me that, if forced to make cost-saving cuts, district officials would sooner cut equipment for student’s technology, music and sports than realize the savings through consolidation as surrounding districts are doing. Of course the incumbents are uncontested. Who would want to face the consequences of poor decisions they have made? The BOE and superintendent love to tote the motto “Save our Schools.” It’s really “Save our School.” OCSD reserves are quickly being depleted…all in the name of saving a building…reserves intended for capital projects that would have earned grant funding to benefit the entire district.

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