Education

School Budget Passes Easily; Two Newcomers Elected to Board

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District Clerk Jennifer Bisaccia and Superintendent Creedon record the results of the election, while board President Brian Mahoney calls for a vote to approve the results. Credits: Bob Dumas
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MAHOPAC, N.Y. - Mahopac School District voters overwhelmingly passed the 2017-18 budget Tuesday and elected two newcomers to the Board of Education while ousting two incumbents.

The budget passed easily with 68 percent of the voters saying “yes”—a 1,251 to 584 margin.

Voters seemed to appreciate that the budget called for no increase in taxes without cutting any programs or positions.

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The $120.7 million spending package calls for the same tax levy and tax rate as last year. It’s spending is up just half a percent ($629,732) from last year. The tax levy is $84,000,268, essentially the same amount that was collected for the 2016-17 budget.

In the race for School Board, where six candidates competed for three seats, newcomers Mike Simone, who is the Carmel highway superintendent, and Mark O’Connor were the top two vote-getters receiving 1,174 and 1,102 votes respectively. Incumbent Leslie Mancuso garnered 1,102 votes, making her the lone incumbent to retain a seat.

Incumbents Mike Sclafani, a former board president, and Carolann Lacoparra were voted out. Sclafani received 611 votes and Lacoparra received 413. Challenger Peter Maccio garnered 442.

Voters also overwhelmingly approved a proposition that will allow the district to repair three school roofs and undertake an energy-performance improvement project. That referendum received 1,252 yes votes, while 573 voted no. Voters turned down that same project during a vote last November by a 140-125 margin.

Together, the roof and energy projects call for nearly $8 million in capital improvements.

The energy-performance improvement projects will take place in several school buildings throughout the district, and includes the addition of solar energy. Other energy-performance improvements include:

  • Lighting fixtures upgraded to LED technology (every space throughout the district)
  • Replacement of pneumatic temperature controls at Lakeview Elementary
  • Replacement of exterior doors at Lakeview, Fulmar and Mahopac Falls schools (to reduce the amount of cold air that infiltrates the buildings)

School official said the energy project won’t cost the district any additional money or increase taxes as the energy savings will negate the cost over time. The contractor that designed the plan has guaranteed the savings.

Voters also approved a proposition that will allow the district to float a million-dollar bond for the purchase of new school buses and other vehicles. It passed by a 1,261-573 margin.

School Superintendent Dr. Dennis Creedon said he felt the overwhelming support for the budget and the propositions shows that district residents and parents appreciate what the School Board and administration is trying to do.

“After bringing [a budget with] a flat tax, as well as being able to offer additional programming support, not only for students who are gifted but for technology in both the middle school and high school, I think the public is excited about the advancements we are making,” he said. “The teachers are doing a phenomenal job; our administrators are doing a phenomenal job and the parents came out to support the school district.”

Creedon acknowledged it was somewhat of a relief that the capital improvement referendum was approved the second time around.

"Now that it’s passed we can get a move on with restoring the roofs of our buildings and actually have an energy-performance contract where we should save $1.3 million over 18 years,” he said.

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