Voters approve budget, elect board members

Fonda-Fultonville Central School District residents approved a $29.8 million budget by a vote of 1,168-283. The vote was conducted by absentee ballot only because of the COVID-19 public health crisis. Votes were tallied on June 16. 

The budget continues existing academic programs but decreases year-to-year spending by -1.62 percent. It calls for $875,000 in cuts, uses $925,000 in fund balance/reserves and a 3.5% tax levy increase. The calculated “tax levy cap” for FFCS is 6.2%. The tax levy cap law only applies to the tax levy (the amount of taxes collected by the district), not to tax rates or individual tax bills.

“The pandemic and its economic impacts have created a lot of uncertainty for everyone. We appreciate that even during these difficult times, our community has come together to show support for their school district,” Superintendent of Schools Thomas Ciaccio said. “Everyone is doing their part to preserve the outstanding programs at FFCS and we are incredibly grateful for that.”

Voters elected three candidates to serve on the Board of Education — incumbents Dennis Egelston (1,133 votes) and Mike Lewis (1,177 votes) and newcomer John Wiltey (1,153 votes).

As the top two vote getters, Lewis and Wiltey will serve three year-terms that begin July 1. Egelston’s term will begin immediately upon being sworn in. His election fulfills a one-year vacancy created by the resignation of a former board member. His term will expire June 30, 2021.

The district received 18 write-in ballots with no more than two votes for each candidate. 

In addition to the budget, voters also approved a pair of propositions to allocate $18,675 to the Frothingham Free Library in Fonda, and $16,000 to the Fort Hunter Free Library. Under State Education Law, funding for the libraries is collected by the school district and then forwarded to the respective libraries. The vote for the Frothingham Free Library was 1,147-296, and the vote for the Fort Hunter Free Library was 1,054-398.