main content starts hereBudget, board candidates focus of district forum

| May 10, 2016

Residents had an opportunity to learn more about the proposed 2016-17 budget and candidates running for the Board of Education during the district’s annual Budget Hearing and Meet the Candidates forum on Monday, May 9.

Mohonasen voters will decide on a $48,365,409 budget for the 2016-17 school year when they head to the polls on Tuesday, May 17.

Assistant Superintendent for Business Chris Ruberti provided an overview of the district’s spending plan. View video from the annual budget presentation below.

Under the proposal, spending would increase $362,985, or 0.76 percent. This represents a tax levy increase of 2.21 percent, which is within the district’s tax levy limit that is calculated through a prescribed state formula.

The proposed spending plan includes the addition of 20.8 positions, a combination of instructional staff, support staff and administration. Some of the positions address enrollment increases or additional special education needs, while others are staff for the new Center for Advanced Technology, slated to open in September 2016. (View a rundown of where positions would be added if the budget is approved.)

Ruberti said that, in developing the budget, the Board of Education chose to allocate $200,000 from the district’s debt service account to offset the cost of the capital project approved by voters in 2013. Ruberti noted this strategic move enables the district to keep the tax levy increase lower than it would have been otherwise, which in turn reduces the financial impact on taxpayers.

A copy of the complete budget proposal is available in the district office at 2070 Curry Road, Schenectady, NY 12303.

Bus proposition would expand fleet to address enrollment increases

Mohonasen residents will be asked to vote on a proposition to purchase five full-size, 66-passenger buses at a total cost of $560,000. Of this amount, 68.4 percent ($383,040) would be reimbursed through state aid, leaving the district responsible to pay for $176,960, or $35,392 a year for five years.

Mohonasen has been following a regular bus replacement schedule based on mileage, age of vehicles, repair history and condition. Ruberti said the district typically retires the same number of buses it purchases each year. For 2016-17, however, the district will only retire three buses. “We will keep two additional buses to address expected increases in enrollment in the district,” he said.

According to Ruberti, the purchase of these vehicles would have no impact on next year’s budget. Since the district is always retiring debt, the new purchase would result in a minimal increase on overall debt levels.

Two to be elected to Board of Education

Two of seven seats on Mohonasen’s Board of Education are up for election on May 17. Running for these seats are, in ballot order, newcomer Heather C. Quinn, former board member Gary Spadaro, newcomer Deborah Escobar, and current Board President Robert Piccirillo.

Watch the video below from the May 9 Meet the Candidates forum to learn more or read the candidates’ bios online.

Voter eligibility

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. – 9 p.m. on May 17 in the Mohonasen High School gym (use the pool entrance).

You are eligible to vote if you are a U.S. citizen, 18 years old or older and a resident of the school district for at least 30 days prior to the vote.

Absentee ballots are available to residents who will be out of town or unable to vote in person because of illness or disability. Ballots are available in the district office at 2072 Curry Road. Call 356-8210 for more information.

You can also download a copy of the Absentee Ballot Application for May 17, 2016 vote on the district website’s Forms page.