School budget vote to be held this Tuesday

by Nicole Reitz

Residents of the Fulton school district will have the opportunity to vote Tuesday on the school district’s budget proposal.

The Fulton Board of Education approved a $62.39 million tentative budget April 10. The budget is $2.15 million increase from the current year budget.

The budget is supported by an increase of $1.2 million in state aid and a 1.9-percent increase in the local tax levy, which is below the two-percent tax cap. The board will also use $2 million from its reserve fund.

Over the past three years, the district has faced significant reductions to programs and supports, including the elimination of over 50 staff positions.

The goal of the board of education in this year’s budget was to maintain student instructional programs, services and opportunities for children.

If the budget is approved by voters, Fulton will not need to make layoffs or cut programs for next year.

If voters defeat the school district budget, the district must either resubmit the same proposal or a revised one for a re-vote June 19 or adopt a contingent budget.

In addition to the budget, voters will also be presented with a vehicle proposition to finance up to $110,000 for the purchase of two transportation vans and one 16-passenger wheel chair bus.

The vehicles would replace three vehicles with high mileage and increasing maintenance costs.

Voters will also cast ballots on a proposed new capital reserve fund that would allow the accumulation of funds to be used towards the cost of future renovations and upgrades to district facilities.

The reserve would be used to help pay for improvements to grounds and facilities as well as roof replacements, electrical and data wiring.

The capital reserve could be funded, if resources are available, for up to 12 years with a maximum amount of $5.5 million.

The Fulton Public Library has requested to be on the district ballot to receive a sum of $170,000 to pay for operating expenses. Over the past few years, the library has lost $110,000 in funding from the City of Fulton.

Voters will also have the opportunity to cast ballots for two open seats on the school board. The elected candidates will serve three-year terms and will begin their term of office July 1.

President Robbin Griffin, Vice President Rosemary Occhino and former board member Daniel Pawlewicz are running for the two available spots.

Registered voters may cast their ballots Tuesday, May 15 from 9 a.m to 9 p.m. Residents who live inside Fulton on the west side of the Oswego River will vote at Lanigan Elementary School. West side voters who live outside Fulton, will vote at Granby Elementary School.

East side residents who live within Fulton’s boundaries vote at Fairgrieve Elementary School, and residents who live outside Fulton on the east side vote at Volney Elementary.

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