B y Derek Liebig

Residents of the Granville Central School District will enter the polls Tuesday to determine the future make-up of the Board of Education and the fate of the district’s $26.6 million budget.

Polling will be from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, May 19, inside the high school gymnasium. Voters are asked to park and access the gym from the Church Street entrance.

This year’s ballot features nine candidates for four open seats.

Incumbents John McDermott, Dan Nelson and Nekia Torres are all seeking reelection and will be challenged by Jo-Lynn Bartholomew, Phil Berke, Shirley Kunen and former board members Molly Celani and John Shaw.

Those candidates are vying for one of three three-year terms on the board. A fourth spot, created last November by the resignation of board member Kevin Ely, will also be determined. Bartholomew was appointed last December to fill that seat through Tuesday’s elections.

The three candidates who receive the most votes will begin serving a three-year term, effective July 1. The candidate with the fourth-highest vote total will serve the remaining year of Ely’s vacated term and will take office immediately.

The district’s proposed $26.6 million budget, which was approved by the board last month, calls for a spending increase of $705,863, or 2.72 percent, from last year’s $25.9 million budget.

The budget would increase the tax levy by 1.1 percent and would raise the levy to $7.08 million. Officials will use $561,971 from the district’s fund balance, more than $372,000 less than the district used last year, to cover the gap between expenses and revenues.

The plan includes the restoration of one instructional position.

District officials said enrollment is up enough to warrant hiring an additional teacher at the fifth grade level. The position had previously been eliminated because enrollment didn’t justify staffing levels at the time.

Officials have also allocated between $100,000 and $120,000 to improve the district’s technology, including the replacement of computers, some of which are several years old. Superintendent Mark Bessen said the district is implementing a five-year computer replacement program to spread out the cost of replacing the machines.

The proposed budget also includes monies for increased security measures and the establishment of a late bus that would transport students who stay after school for extra help, sports and other school clubs and activities. Students have cited transportation as a barrier to participation in extracurricular activities.

Tuesday’s ballot also includes a separate proposition to purchase three 65-passenger buses at a cost not to exceed $318,000. About 90 percent of that cost will be reimbursed by the state.



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