Kingston voters approve school budget with 72 percent of the vote

Voters in the Kingston City School District approved by a margin of 4,278-1,690 a $187,420,013 budget that maintains programs and extracurricular activities and doesn’t include reductions in staff. The spending plan represents an increase of 3.65 percent over the 2019-20 budget and includes a tax levy increase of $1.83 million, a 1.73 percent increase that is at the state cap for the district. 

The spending plan is based on state aid totaling $64.92 million, an increase of 2.3 percent over the current school year’s aid total. That figure may be reduced periodically during the 2020-21 school year depending upon pandemic-related revenue shortfalls. According to Kingston school district superintendent Paul Padalino, the district has factored in three potential levels of cuts depending upon the severity of aid reductions from the state.

As in other districts, the KCSD experienced a significant increase in voter participation compared to last year, when 1,681 votes were cast compared to 5,968 this year. The 2019-20 budget passed 1,180-501. The 2020-21 budget earned 72 percent approval from voters, compared to 70 percent approval for the 2019-20 spending plan. 

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Also on this year’s ballot were three uncontested seats on the Board of Education. Incumbents Nora Scherer earned 4,829 votes, and Board Vice-President Priscilla Lowe earned 4,672 votes. Newcomer Cathy Collins picked up 4,651 votes to replace the Rev. James Childs, who decided not to seek reelection.