By Dan Hust
SULLIVAN COUNTY Voters in all but one Sullivan County public school district gave majority assent on Tuesday to budgets for the 2011-2012 school year, and a mix of familiar and new faces will soon appear on boards of education.
Eldred’s $18 million budget didn’t muster enough approval from voters to pass, failing 265-247.
As a result, the board opted to not hold a revote but to enact a $16,531,000 contingency budget for the coming school year.
According to Supt. Bob Dufour, that means the $1.2 million in repairs for the Mackenzie Elementary School in Glen Spey won’t be undertaken, summer professional development for faculty and staff will be curtailed, and no new buses or miscellaneous equipment will be purchased.
However, Dufour remains confident that the district’s programs will be unaffected.
“The board of education is committed to providing a sound and fiscally responsible education to the children,” he remarked on Wednesday.
The 2012-2013 school year, however, may make this coming year of sacrifice look easy.
“We have grave concerns for the 2012-2013 budget,” Dufour acknowledged mostly because of the ongoing recession and state fiscal crisis.
The district, he added, already has a hiring freeze in effect but will have tough choices to make this time next year.
One budget in Eldred, the Sunshine Free Library’s $12,000 proposal (which was $1,000 higher than last year’s), did win approval, 298-210.
And school board member Amador Laput’s re-election bid was unopposed, thus garnering him 317 votes.
Fallsburg’s relatively large budget of $35.5 million was readily accepted by voters 227-133, likely due to the small tax increase and lack of layoffs.
Four board seats were open, with incumbents Joe Collura (219 votes) and Ann Benson (213) winning back their seats and Robert Leventoff (222) earning his first elected term.
Board member Robert Hunter is retiring, but he still garnered three write-in votes for his seat. That race featured no official competitors, so write-in candidate Kathy Rappaport’s 87 votes won out over fellow write-ins Lynda Levine (63) and Heidi Stack (2).
Despite deep cuts, Liberty’s $40 million budget won support by a 2-1 margin: 362-174.
A proposition to establish a capital reserve fund of up to $5 million didn’t fare quite as well but still passed 285-246.
The board race was uncontested, with three candidates running for three seats. Christine Schiff earned 387 votes, Anthony Covington got 381, and Cindy L. Conklin garnered 368.
The $14.7 million budget Livingston Manor proposed got the nod from voters, 261-182, while the Livingston Manor Free Library’s $77,500 budget also earned approval, 247-196.
A hotly contested board race saw incumbent Dan Smith retain his seat with 306 votes but incumbent Debra Miller lose hers with 107 votes.
The race was at-large, meaning the top three vote-getters secured spots on the board. Thus joining Smith on Manor’s board this coming school year will be Elliott Madison (372 votes) and Claire Taggart (253).
Candidates Sandra Frattarelli (243) and Tom Kelly Sr. (70) didn’t garner enough votes to win.
Monticello voters were almost evenly split on the district’s $77.4 million budget, passing the measure by a razor-thin vote of 662-646.
Five board seats were up for grabs. Unopposed incumbents were Susan Purcell (885 votes) and Alyce Van Etten (829). Robert Bellamy (618) was also unopposed in his bid to replace the retiring Liza Glick.
In one of the two contested races, the board-appointed replacement for the resigned Jo-Ann Peabody, Cathleen Crumley-Doherty, earned 711 votes, handily beating challengers John Langseder (265) and Tasha Butler (261).
The other contested race was for the seat of the retiring Tara Buckstad-Russo, with June Havas-Lombardi (623) prevailing over Barbara O’Rourke (555).
Roscoe’s $7.2 million budget was passed Tuesday, 163-82, as was the Roscoe Free Library’s $40,000 budget, 133-108.
Both incumbent board members were running unopposed. Lynn Wachter earned 182 votes, while Tasse Niforatos garnered 190.
Sullivan West’s $32.5 million budget earned 622 “yes” votes compared to 347 “nos,” thus passing by a sizable margin.
Incumbents Mary Scheutzow (637 votes), Angela Daley (574) and Joan Glase (552) won their seats, while Kathleen Meckle (514) beat out Alfred Steppich (435) to fill a vacant spot on the board.
With a tiny tax increase to fund its $29.6 million budget, Tri-Valley earned 439 approvals compared to 190 denials.
Six candidates were vying for three board seats, with incumbents Scott Mickelson (370 votes) and Joyce Hartman (404) handily being re-elected.
Terry James’ 319 votes means he’ll replace retiring board member Kathy Denman.
Candidates who did not win included Michael Ryan (257), Nelson Donovan (193), and Curtis Brock III (237).