School board approves 2017-18 calendar, preliminary budget

Residents at the polls on Tuesday approved the $9.8 million budget for School Administrative District 59 in a budget validation referendum vote.

In Gilboa-Conesville, the budget vote was 114-26 in favor.

The average tax levy increase of 30 school districts in the region is 1.5 percent, according to a Post-Star analysis.

Bodamer said an anticipated shortfall in revenue is expected to come largely from lower state and federal subsidies and grants.

The tax levy is up but within the budget cap.

District Superintendent Edward Zelich said the district did a fantastic job of keeping to budget or under budget past year.

Dr. Michael Hynes, superintendent of the Patchogue-Medford School District on Long Island, says this is a real opportunity for residents to decide how their school tax dollars will be spent as the budget affects staffing, purchases, and capital improvements. A second, revised capital project vote, which the district's Board of Education is still mulling over, is completely separate from the annual budget vote and would not take place until at least late summer or early fall. At that point they could release us from control and put us back in control of our own schools.

The State Board of Education has given no indication on when they would consider allowing a new school board to be elected.

One agenda item, addressing the open board member position, was however postponed until after two separate closed door Executive Sessions which were held at the end of the board meeting. It was noted that the stage curtains at all three campuses are old and in need of replacement.

NBC5 News is continuing to receive results from districts across the region.

And although Gov. Wolf's proposed budget calls for a 2.2 percent increase in the state's basic education funding for the coming year, Adams reports the $242,000 increase is unlikely given that the district is facing a $174,000 decrease in the current year's subsidy. In the 2015-16 school year, the district had a 0 percent tax increase.

Several service contracts were approved, including ones for Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, School Psychologist, Speech Therapy and Technology. The bus proposition also passed 124-39, as did the library, 122-42. Of the three candidates vying for the school board's only vacancy, Steven Smith was declared the victor, with 227 votes.

The board voted unanimously to approve a field trip to Living Treasures Wild Animal Park for 60 first-grade students, their three teachers and five parent chaperones. She will be accompanied by teacher Judy Abbey.

Jarod Piccioli, student council representative, also spoke to the board during his last meeting of the year. He said it's unfortunate that there's not more public participation in the board's meetings. The school board winners were Glenn Nealis and Marrk Schneider, with 207 and 293 votes.

The meeting starts tonight at 5:15 the school board office on Chaplin Drive.