Residents of the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake school district will be voting on the next school budget, two seats on the Board of Education and a proposition to replace seven aging school buses on Tuesday, May 21, 2013.
The polls will be open from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm in the high school gym, 88 Lakehill Road, Burnt Hills. The gym is located at the back of the school next to a large parking lot. There will be a large "VOTING" sign to show the way.
Things will look a little different when voters enter the gym because this is the first time that BH-BL is using the new optical scan voting machines and paper ballots.
Although NY school districts are still permitted to use the old-fashioned lever-style machines, people who can program those machines are getting harder to find. "We have switched to new, more professional voter sign-in books with names and sample signatures pulled directly from the Saratoga and Schenectady County Board of Election records," says clerk of the board Chris Abdoo, "so we felt this was also the year to use the new voting machines that everyone has gotten used to at the general elections in November."
Voters are also invited to complete an exit poll after they vote. School board members are hoping for a high response rate on the exit poll particularly because two questions on it are designed to collect people's opinions about a renovations referendum expected this fall.
Voters should also allow time in their schedule to check out Arts Fest 2013 next door in the portion of the high school gym not being used for the vote.
On Tuesday, May 21, Arts Fest will be open to the public during the entire vote (7:00 am to 9:00 pm), plus on Wednesday, May 22 from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm.
In addition to displays of every type of student artwork on both days, the Wednesday schedule includes music performances at 8:30 am by the High School Strings, at 10:00 am by the High School Jazz Ensemble, and at 11:00 am by the High School Select Choir.
Please see the Arts Fest program for more information on the variety of award winning artwork that will be on display.
Here is a summary of what the voters will be considering on May 21.
The proposed budget of $59.0 million was developed through four months of public discussion by the Board of Education, residents and staff. It will result in an overall tax levy increase of 2.47 percent, which is below the district's tax levy limit of 3.61 percent under the state tax cap law.m For the first time in 4 years, the proposed budget includes no reductions in programs or services for children. This is possible because after years of reductions, state aid to BH-BL will next fall be returning to the same level it was in 2009-10. The proposed budget should allow the district to continue being ranked among the highest performing districts in the Capital Region. For more information, see the 2013-14 Budget Newsletter.
Voter approval of this proposition would allow the district to replace seven of the oldest buses in our 73-bus fleet during 2013-14 for up to $450,000. Debt on the new buses would be phased in as debt on previous buses is paid off. Replacing a few of the oldest buses this way each year results in no tax increase.
Three candidates are running at large for two seats. The candidates are William Farmer, Jennifer Longtin, and Lee-Ann Mertzlufft. You can read their statements on our Board Candidates page.