2012-05-09 / Front Page

TODAY is School Election Day

By Eric Gross with Annie Chesnut

School Election Day across New York State is Tuesday, May 15, as voters will choose the board members who make decisions on millions of dollars in public spending.

Officials throughout Putnam’s six school districts are encouraging residents to get out and vote.

Area Boards of Education have experienced perhaps their most difficult budget preparation ever, as they sought to keep tax levy hikes within the 2-percent tax levy cap mandated by Albany (some exceptions allowed the cap in a few districts to be slightly higher than 2 percent). Many political experts regard the law as a back-door way by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to impose at least some spending discipline on municipal governments and schools, though taxpayer advocates note that any increase, even at 2 percent, is still a burden on taxpayers.

In addition to deciding the fate of school budgets for the 2012-13 school year, voters will have an opportunity to elect members to various Boards of Education.

On the budget front, all three area districts are looking at budget increases: Garrison is offering a $9,475,913 total budget, representing a 1.66-percent budget-to-budget increase and a 2.23-percent tax levy increase; Haldane a $21,927,476 total budget, representing a 1.38-percent budget-to-budget increase and a 2.44-percent tax levy increase; and Putnam Valley a $45,270,917 total budget, representing a 0.83-percent budget-to-budget increase and a 1.97-percent tax levy increase. According to the state’s calculations, all three districts are within the allowed cap plus exemptions.

The Haldane School District has three seats up for grabs including those held by retiring Board of Education President Joe Curto and trustees Evan Schwartz and Peter Henderson. Henderson and Schwartz are seeking reelection and new candidates Jon Champlin and Evelyn Carr-White are also in the race.

In Putnam Valley, school trustees positions held by Guy Cohen and David Spittal are open. Both men are seeking reelection with a third candidate—

Ralph Smith—also in the running.

Three school board seats will also be decided in Garrison. The positions are currently held by Carol Mc- Cullough, Christine Foertsch and Raymond O’Rourke. Foertsch and O’Rourke are seeking reelection. Newcomer Theresa Orlandi is also on the ballot.

Serving on a school board is strictly voluntary as trustees receive no remuneration for their community service.

The polls are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. in all three districts, and are located at the Garrison School Library; the Haldane Elementary/Middle School Building, Room 105 (use Bell Parking Lot); and the Putnam Valley Elementary School, at 171 Oscawana Lake Road.

District     Total Budget   Budget to Budget Tax Levy
Haldane   $ 21,927,476 total 1.38% increase 2.44% increase
Garrison   $ 9,475,913   1.66% increase 2.23% increase
Putnam Valley $ 45,270,917 total 0.83% increase 1.97% increase

 

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