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School budgets, resolutions pass

Rob Maeske
The Chronicle Express

Absentee ballots bring in strong returns and support for education

The budget votes for both the Penn Yan Central and Dundee Central school districts took place over the last two weeks, with the results of those votes announced last week. 

Due to regulations placed by Governor Cuomo pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic, both votes were held completely through absentee ballots. All ballots were sent to qualified voters by mail, with completed ballots either returned through the mail or dropped off at locations designated by each district. Despite the change in procedure and an unusually tight window for ballots to be turned in, voter turnout seemed to be affected only slightly.

Said Penn Yan Superintendent Howard Dennis of the recent vote, “We very much appreciate the support that the community gives us each year when they approve our budgets.  Even with the increased number of voters, it continues to confirm the support for our programming,  We work very hard to be fiscally responsible.”

For Penn Yan, the new budget passed 1,597 to 720. 

Measure 2, regarding the district’s desire to purchase five new transportation vehicles, passed 1,505 to 811.

Four seats on the Board of Education were also on the ballot. Three 3-year terms were open as well as one 1-year term. Ann Bush, Robin Johnson, and David Willson won the 3-year terms, while Leslie Elliot took the 1-year term.

For Dundee, four measures were on the table for the 2020–21 budget vote. Dundee’s overall budget proposal passed 508 to 234.

Measure 2, regarding the establishment of a capital reserve fund slated for a future improvement project, passed 556 to 195.

Measure 3, regarding the district’s desire to purchase four new transportation vehicles, passed 574 to 170. 

Measure 4, regarding an increase in the tax levy to support the Dundee Public Library, passed 541 to 196. 

Three seats on Dundee’s Board of Education were open. Kevin Crofoot, Robert Neu, and Jared Webster were elected.

Yates County’s results reflected a strong statewide display of support for public schools; 99% of school budgets are on track to win approval by voters, according to a preliminary analysis by New York State United Teachers. Voters also elected 20 NYSUT members to school board seats in districts across the state, according to returns available Wednesday afternoon.

“Even in challenging times, voters resoundingly made clear that funding public schools at the local level is a top priority,” NYSUT President Andy Pallotta said. “Especially in times of crisis, public schools serve as cornerstones of our communities, providing not just an education but also meals, mental health services and other critical services. Students need our support, and voters overwhelmingly delivered.”

More than 95% of school budgets in N.Y. have been passed each year since 2013.