Fonda-Fultonville set to vote on school budget

FONDA — Fonda-Fultonville Central School District residents will take to the polls May 15 to vote on the proposed $29.3 million budget for the 2018-19 school year.

Since the proposed budget has a zero tax levy increase, which is below the district’s state calculated tax levy cap, only a simply majority vote is required for budget approval.

The proposed budget maintains all current programs and services, and reflects a $1.1 million/3.96 percent year-to-year spending increase.

The district generates revenue from property taxes at $10.3 million; state aid at $18.2 million; other local revenue at $765,000; and none from the fund balance and reserves.

Expenditures include general support at $3.3 million; instruction at $13.4 million; pupil transportation at $2.3 million; employee benefits at $7.2 million; debt service at $2.9 million; and interfund tranfers at $5,000.

The proposed budget includes a full-time special education teacher who would serve as a work-based learning coordinator for the Career Development and Occupational Studies program.

The school-based counseling support for students will work through additional partnerships with agencies such as Berkshire Farms and St. Mary’s.

The district would create a sensory room with a variety of equipment that helps children calm and focus to be better prepared to learn and interact with other students.

The district would also contract with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office for a school resource officer, and an increase in technology equipment in classrooms, including Google Chromebooks and interactive flat panels.

To fund additional programs and services in the budget, there was a $240,000 increase in state aid and savings from eight retirements.

Fonda-Fultonville will save approximately $50,000 by utilizing district-leased buses to reduce costs and provide more opportunities. About $230,000 was saved by reorganizing the transportation budget and joining a health insurance consortium. The district can also save approximately $40,000 by ending part-time occupational therapy services with an outside provider, and will provide students with full-time occupational therapy through in-house services at a reduced cost.

Voters will also elect three candidates to serve a three-year term on the Board of Education. The three candidates are Michelle Isabella, Domenic DiNatale and incumbent Frederick Hidde. Isabella was appointed to fill a vacant seat after the resignation of a former board member. Hidde is seeking re-election and there is an open seat as Kelley O’Kosky’s — who is not seeking re-election — seat expires July 1. There will be a “meet the candidates” event in the middle school multi-purpose room on Monday.

Residents will also be voting to allocate $16,547 to the Frothingham Free Library, and $14,000 to the Fort Hunter Free Library. Under the state education law, funding for the libraries is collected by the school district then forwarded to the respective libraries.

By Josh Bovee

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