Voters approve school budget

V oters in the Whitehall Central School district approved the district’s proposed $14.77 million budget Tuesday.
The spending plan was approved by a margin of 206 to 122.
The plan, which includes a 7.56 percent increase in spending, will raise the tax levy by 1.88 percent. Although the tax rate per thousand won’t be finalized until later this summer, Joe Karas, business manager said it will increase approximately $.12 from $10.27 per $1,000 of assessed value to $10.38.
The district will receive a $941,000 in state aid and will use $363,000 from its appropriated fund balance and $300,000 from its fund balance to keep the tax levy increase in check.
Of the $14.77 million, 48 percent of the budget covers expenses related to instruction, 33 percent is for benefits and 12 percent is for support staff which includes custodial staff, transportation and administrative costs.
The bump in aid, and savings realized by leaving a number of non-instructional positions unfilled, will enable the district to hire or restore 10.1 full-time equivalent teaching positions. It is the first year since 2008-09 that the district has been able to add staff.
Those hires will allow the district to implement a new block schedule beginning next fall. Officials said in order for the schedule to work, the district would need to increase staffing.
Voters also approved a proposition to reestablish a capital reserve account. The measure was approved 146 to 60.

Huntington reelected
James Huntington, vice president of the board of education, was reelected to serve another term, receiving 240 votes. Amy Austin led all candidates with 257 votes. Both were elected to serve five-year terms.
Jeremy Putorti received 205 votes and will serve a truncated two-year term caused by the resignation of Joyce Corcoran.
Pat Rushia received 139 votes and failed to gain election to the board.
Huntington and Austin will be sworn into office at the district’s organizational meeting at the end of the fiscal year. Putorti will begin serving his term immediately.




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