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School budget votes are Tuesday: propositions and hours for Genesee County

By Joanne Beck
Jason Smith pointing
Batavia City Schools Superintendent Jason Smith during a past budget meeting. School boards have put in the work for the 2023-24 budgets, now it's time for district residents to cast your votes. File Photo by Howard Owens.

Millions of dollars are on the line in all eight Genesee County public school districts this week as district residents will be asked to vote for 2023-24 budgets, related tax levies, school board member candidates, and other propositions for capital or other designated reserves and purchases of equipment, school buses, security systems, or additional personnel.

Each district’s budget and propositions are listed below, per each district's website, along with hours for the vote on Tuesday.

Alexander Central School:
District residents will be asked to vote on:

Proposition 1 of the total budget, $20,847,995.

Proposition 2 of bus purchases for two 64-passenger buses $338,425, and one traverse (small vehicle) $37,700.

Proposition 3 of equipment purchases of a mower-ventrac $63,800; a truck (plow blade - dump body) $67,9l9; and two wide view printers $8,900.

Proposition 4 seeks to establish a capital reserve of $975,000.

Proposition 5 seeks to establish a bus reserve of $5OO,OOO.

Other parts of the budget include selling a Suburban, plow truck, lawn mower, and two buses; a capital outlay of $100,000; and a security/warning system for $350,000.

Hours: 1 to 8 p.m. in Room 112 of the Middle-High School

Batavia City School District
This year's budget is about $4 million more than this past year, with a correlating 1 percent tax levy increase. Superintendent Jason Smith previously gave his rationale for shoring up now in anticipation of what's down the road.

“For context, our allowable tax cap is 8.42 percent, and the preliminary budget presented last week had just over a 3 percent levy increase.  Based on Board feedback, the proposed levy has now been reduced to just over 1 percent.  There were a few factors driving this decision.  First, this budget calls for the addition of three school buses from our transportation contractor, which, if drivers can be hired, will reduce the time for our students (to be) on buses, which has been a source of community and family concerns and one which we have listened to,” Smith said.  “Second, our transportation contract will not be renewed at the end of next year, which means the entire contract is up for renewal and is subject to price increases.  We also fully expect the state mandate of electric buses and the related costs with this requirement to be passed down to districts by our future transportation contractor, further increasing costs. The District needs to plan carefully both now and for the future for these increased costs.”

“Additionally, we expect our tax cap for the 2024-25 budget to be negative, which would yield a tax decrease and reduced revenue, and the Board and I are not interested in asking our voters to override the tax cap, which would require a 60 percent approval of voters, as opposed to a simple majority,” he said. “Seeking a just over 1 percent levy increase for the 23-24 budget will provide revenue for both the current and future needs of the district.

District residents will be asked to vote on:

Proposition 1 of the total budget of $58.9 million. 

Proposition 2 seeks to establish a new capital reserve of $10 million for 10 years.

Proposition 3 seeks to  continue having a student ex-officio member on the board.

Election of two Board of Education members to fill two seats, with incumbents Alice Benedict and Barbara Bowman running.

Hours: Voting will be from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. at residents’ designated polling site

Byron Bergen Central School
District residents are asked to vote on:

Proposition 1 2023-24 Proposed Budget For the purpose of adopting a budget of $25,972,402 for the 2023-24 school year, which includes a 1.76 percent increase in expenditures and a 0.44 percent increase in the 2023-24 tax levy. 

The budget was balanced utilizing a 2.5 percent increase in State Aid, a 0.44% increase in the tax levy, and interest income as a result of increased interest rates, school reserves and fund balance.

Proposition 2 Bus Purchase Proposition to authorize the purchase of two minibusses and three minivans at a total cost not to exceed $283,421. The estimated average cost for the bus proposition is less than $2.00 per year on a house valued at $100,000.

Proposition 3 To authorize the creation of a new Capital Reserve Fund 2023 and to dissolve the old Capital Reserve2019. All monies in the old Capital Reserve-2019 will be transferred into the new Capital Reserve Fund-2023.

In October 2021, District voters authorized the 2021 Capital Project and the use of $2 million in the Capital Reserve-2019 to be used towards the cost of the 2021 Capital Project. With this approval, going forward, the Capital Reserve-2019 can no longer be funded with any excess monies remaining at the end of each school year for future capital projects.

In order to start saving excess monies for a capital project in future years, we are asking the voters to approve the creation of a new Capital Reserve fund titled Capital Reserve Fund-2023. The life of this reserve is 15 years and the reserve cannot be funded more than $4 million over that same time frame. One future potential use of such a capital reserve may be to purchase and install infrastructure to meet the NYS-mandated zero-emission vehicle requirement.

Proposition 4 To authorize the creation of a Technology and Equipment Reserve–2023

A few years ago, the District received and used SMART Bond monies from NYS to purchase and install mass notification, and security cameras and enhance secure entryways at both the Elementary and Jr/Sr High Schools for safety and security. It is anticipated that this technology may need updating or replacing within the next 7 to 10 years. The creation and ability to fund a Technology and Equipment reserve fund over the same time period, would provide the District with a savings account that could be used to replace and upgrade this technology when needed.

Selection of three (3) Board of Education candidates. The two (2) candidates with the highest number of votes will serve a three (3) year term beginning July 1, 2023. The third candidate with the third highest number of votes will fill the vacant seat of William Forsyth, whose term will end on June 30, 2024.

We have four (4) candidates running for three open seats this year, they are: Lisa Forsyth, Amy Phillips, Lynn Smith and Cindy Matthews.

Hours: Noon to 9 p.m. at the Senior High School gym (This is a new location). Absentee Ballot voting Ballot must be received in the District Office by 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Elba Central School
Proposition 1 is the Annual School budget in the amount of $11,708,369.

Proposition 2 is to Authorize an Energy Performance Contract project to improve the utility efficiency of the buildings and maximize cost savings; this is funded entirely through utility companies. The Board of Education may authorize this project without voter approval. However, we are seeking voter approval for this proposal which will increase the State aid to the school by 10% and will allow us to improve and repair the facilities without an impact to the taxpayers.

Proposition 3 is to authorize to appropriate and expend for the purchase of one 65-passenger bus to maintain a well-running fleet and maximize State aid funding.

Election for one 5-year term on the School Board. Incumbent Dean Norton is running for the one open seat.

Hours: Voting will be from 12 until 8 p.m. in the school auditorium lobby. A secure entryway vestibule has been designed to allow limited access to our buildings. This improvement will provide a convenient drop-off location in the current bus loop for students and their belongings, as well as streamline our attendance protocols and early dismissal procedures.

Le Roy Central School
The total budget for the 2023-2024 school year will be $30,227,508, which is an increase of 9.1 percent or $2,518,520.

A good portion of this increase is due to the addition of 2.5 FTE positions (2 FTE special education positions and a 0.5 FTE instructional support position (at the Wolcott Street School), rising costs associated with contractual requirements, student programming, and healthcare.

District residents will be voting for:

Proposition 1 That the Board of Education of the Le Roy Central School District in the Counties of Genesee and Livingston be authorized to expend the sum of $30,227,508.00 for the 2023-24 school year and to accumulate no planned balance and levy the necessary tax therefor. 

Proposition 2 That the Trustees of the Woodward Memorial Library in the Counties of Genesee and Livingston be authorized to expend the sum of $360,000.00 to support the Woodward Memorial Library for the 2023-24 school year. 

Election of Board of Education candidates TWO THREE (3) YEAR TERMS (7/1/23 - 6/30/26) Vote for Any Two (2) Jacalyn Whiting Denise Duthe WOODWARD MEMORIAL LIBRARY Vote for One (1) Lynda Lowe Laura Williams

Hours: The vote is set for 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the Library Media Center at the Wolcott Street School. The Trigon Gym and triple doors by Memorial Auditorium will be open for entry/exit to vote. Parking will be available on Main Street, in Trigon Park, and in the Lapp parking lot.

Oakfield-Alabama Central School
Proposed Budget: $24,094,600 Proposed Increase: $504,994 (2.14 percent) Tax Levy Increase: 0 percent

District residents will be voting for:

Proposition 1 Shall the budget for the school year 2023‐2024, as submitted by the Board of Education of the Oakfield‐Alabama Central School District #1, be approved in the amount of $24,094,600 and shall taxes be levied on the taxable property of the District to meet the requirements of such budget?

Proposition 2 Shall the Haxton Public Library be permanently established as a school public library for the benefit and free use of all residents of the Oakfield‐Alabama Central School District and be authorized to raise $156,280 to support and maintain such library?

BOARD OF EDUCATION ELECTIONS: There are 3 open Board Seats each for a 3-year term. Qualified voters will select from the following candidates on the Ballot: Kyle O’Connor, Jackie Yunker‐Davis, Pete Zeliff, and Natalie Emerson

Pavilion Central School
District residents will be voting on:

Proposition 1 Annual Budget Referendum 2023 - 2024 The Board of Education has approved, for your consideration, a budget for the 2023-2024 school year in the amount of $18,869,393. Overall, this reflects a year-to-year spending increase of $582,042 or 3.18 percent. The tax levy will increase by $85,396 or 1.5 percent to $5,778,383.

Proposition 2 School Board Member Election. We are asking voters to vote for a Board of Education candidate. We have one seat open on the Board this year. The seat is for a five-year term. We have three candidates running for the position. Our first candidate, Chris Jeffres, currently holds the position and is seeking re-election. Also running are Lana Flint and Roxanne Holthaus. To learn more about each candidate, please visit our website

Proposition 3 Hollwedel Memorial Public Library Trustees. The Hollwedel Memorial Library is asking the public to vote for two trustees. The candidates are Kelly Harris and Joan Gray. Joan Gray is currently a trustee and is seeking re-election.

Additional Items of Note: Included in this budget are funds for another $100,000 capital outlay project. This project will include improvements to the front entrance access, restoration and improvements to flooring, and replacement of the electronic message board at the Middle/High School building. Capital outlay projects qualify for building aid the following year which is approximately 87.6 percent for our district.

Pembroke Central School
For the 2023-2024 school year, the Board of Education proposes a budget of $26,732,685, which includes a cap compliant tax levy and other revenue funds

Projected State Aid = $15,534,910 

Appropriation of $1,500,000 of fund balance 

Use of $466,000 from reserve funds 

Tax levy increase of $264,721 (Under the tax cap for the 12th year in a row.)

Based on current assessed values, the full-value tax rate is projected to be $17.29. For a home assessed at $150,000, this projected tax rate represents a total increase of $28.80 for the year, assuming the basic STAR and excluding special tax exemptions to our honored veterans.

District residents will be voting on:

Proposition 1  “Shall the Board of Education of the Pembroke Central School District be authorized to expend the amount of $26,732,685 for general fund appropriations during the 2023-2024 school year and to levy the necessary tax upon real property in said district?

Proposition 2 “Shall the Board of Education of the Pembroke Central School District, Genesee County, New York, be authorized to purchase school buses, including incidental equipment and expenses in connection therewith, at a maximum estimated cost of $438,776.38, and said amount (less any trade-in allowance) or so much thereof as may be necessary, shall be raised by the levy of a tax upon the taxable property of said School District and collected in annual installments as provided by Section 416 of the Educational Law; and, in anticipation of such tax, obligations of said School District shall be issued?”

Proposition 3 “Shall the sum of $96,900 be raised by annual levy of a tax upon the taxable real property within the Pembroke Central School District for the purpose of funding the operating budget of the Corfu Public Library?”

Elect one (1) member of the Board of Education for a five-year term, commencing July 1, 2023 and expiring June 30, 2028. (Vote for ONE): John Cima 

Elect up to three (3) members of the Board of Trustees of the Corfu Public Library, for three-year terms, commencing July 1, 2023 and expiring on June 30, 2026. (Vote for THREE): Michael Plitt ___________ (Write In) ___________ (Write In) 

Elect one (1) member of the Board of Education for a two-year unexpired term, commencing July 1, 2023 and expiring June 30, 2025. (Vote for ONE): ___________ (Write In)

Elect one (1) member of the Board of Trustees of the Corfu Public Library, for a two-year unexpired term, commencing July 1, 2023 and expiring on June 30, 2025. (Vote for ONE): ___________ (Write In)

Hours: 12 to 8 p.m. at the Jr./Sr. High School gymnasium.

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