Voters head to polls in school board elections May 18

New Paltz

Voters in the New Paltz Central School District will be choosing from among six candidates to fill four available school board seats in the election on May 18. The three candidates with the most votes will each serve for three years, beginning on July 1, and the fourth-place finisher will finish up the remainder of the term for which Sophia Skiles was elected, a seat which was vacated by early resignation. Voters will also be asked to decide on the $70,013,600 school budget, which thanks to last-minute changes at the state level would result in a tax levy decrease of $560,000. Incumbents Glenn LaPolt and Diana Armstead, along with newcomers Jessica Decker Guerrero, Stephanie Lyons, Johanna Herget and Heather O’Donnell will all be on the ballot.

The election and budget vote will take place on Tuesday, May 18 from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at New Paltz High School.

Onteora

Onteora School District residents will choose among four candidates to fill two school board seats in the May 18 election and budget vote. Candidates will appear on the ballot in the following order: Joseph-Daniel Letendre, David ‘Dave’ Alterio, Valerie Storey (incumbent) and Cynthia ‘Cindy’ Bishop.

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At a May 4 public hearing, assistant superintendent for business Monica LaClair detailed the budget, which calls for a levy increase of $798,588, or 1.78 percent.

Spending is up $847,601 or 1.46%.

The budget assumes school will be in session as it was before the Covid-19 pandemic, but will include support for students who will need to readjust after spending the last year and a half either fully remote or in a hybrid situation.

“We are looking to expand active learning space initiative. We’ve increased summer school funding to allow us to address academic supports that we’ll be following this year of Covid,” LaClair said.

“And also we’re increasing after school homework and supervision lines, again, allowing staff to work with students after school in addition to the summer. It will also allocate additional funds for mental health support, which we also believe will be needed once we get all of our kids back.”

LaClair put the tax levy increase in perspective so that the average taxpayer understands what it means for them. The levy is the total amount collected in taxes.

“What that means to a taxpayer, however, can be very different because the taxpayer will pay a tax rate per $1,000 assessment on their homes,” she said.

“So depending on whether there’s growth, which there has been, you can kind of compare it to, if you have ten homes paying a million dollars, they’re going to be paying more than if you have 12 homes paying that same million dollars.”

Voters will also be asked to approve the establishment of a capital reserve fund not to exceed $10 million over the next ten years that will be used for future improvements throughout the district. Surplus funds from prior years can then be used to grow the reserve.

Voting is May 18 from 2 to 9 p.m. at Bennet, Woodstock and Phoenicia elementary schools.

Absentee ballot applications are available on the School Board section of the district website onteora.k12.ny.us or by contacting district clerk Fern Amster at (845) 657-6383, ext 1010 or districtclerk@onteora.k12.ny.us.

Kingston

The Kingston City School District will see three incumbents and two challengers vie for three open seats on the board of education when voters head to the polls on Tuesday, May 18. Board President James Shaughnessy Jr. and fellow trustees Robin Jacobowitz and Herbert Lamb will face challenges from Michele Milgrim and Matthew Branford. 

The roughly $196 million draft budget represents a spending increase of around 4.57 percent over the 2020-21 plan. With $21.6 million in federal aid and a surprising increase of 9.4 percent in state aid, the tax levy would remain $107.42 million.

The Kingston School District budget vote and Board of Education election will take place on Tuesday, May 18 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at district elementary schools.

Saugerties

Three incumbents on the Saugerties Central School District’s Board of Education will run unopposed in their reelection. School board president Robert Thomann, vice-president James Mooney and fellow trustee Raymond Maclary will seek reelection on Tuesday, May 18.

School officials in the Saugerties Central School District are presenting a $66,536,965 proposed budget for the 2021-22 school year, an increase of 0.098 percent over the 2020-21 plan. The proposal includes a property tax levy of $41,522,330, an increase of 2.19 percent, the maximum allowed under the state cap for the district.

The annual budget vote and election will be held on Tuesday, May 18 from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at all four elementary schools.

To learn more about the candidates running in this year’s election, visit hudsonvalleyone.com.