Watervliet voters pass 2012-13 school budget proposal
May 15, 2012
Watervliet City School District residents
Tuesday approved the proposed $23.1 million budget for the 2012-13
school year by a margin of 234 to 95.
Voters also passed a bus lease proposition, 242 to 75. The bus proposition asked voters to authorize a five-year lease for three new 66-passenger buses for a total annual cost of $47,772. The district’s lease on its current fleet of three buses comes to an end this year.
For the two open seats on the Board of Education, residents re-elected incumbent board member Jennifer Donovan to her second three-year term and selected newcomer Matthew Ethier to replace longtime board member Frank McGrouty, who did not seek re-election this year. Donovan garnered 297 votes and Ethier received 309. Both candidates ran unopposed.
“In these difficult financial times, the board is extremely grateful for the support of the community, and we thank everyone who came out to vote,” Board of Education President Mark Scully said. “This is the first time in my tenure on the board that we’ve had layoffs. I thank the administration for minimizing the effects on our educational programs.”
The district began the budget development process with a $2.3 million gap between revenues and expenses. The budget approved by voters included savings negotiated this year in employee labor contracts, a 6 percent reduction in staff and other cuts.
“In the face of this year's challenges, the administration and the Board of Education worked to craft a budget that left all of our major programs intact. Clearly some difficult decisions were made, but I am confident the district will continue to offer a high-quality education for our students,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Lori S. Caplan said.
The budget reflects a 0.5 percent spending increase from this year and calls for a tax levy increase of 2.69 percent, which keeps the district within its tax levy limit under New York’s tax levy cap. A simple majority of voters was needed to approve the budget. If the proposed budget had exceeded the district’s tax levy cap, it would have required a supermajority (60 percent) for approval.