Voters approve 2020-21 budget and bus proposition; Jennifer Zhao and Sarah Rogerson elected to the Board of Education

Niskayuna Central School District voters have approved the 2020-21 school budget in this year’s absentee ballot-only vote, with 3,618 in support of the $90.8 million spending plan and 2,255 opposed.

In the Board of Education election, Jennifer Zhao was elected to a second term and Sarah Rogerson was elected to a first term. Voters also approved the bus purchase proposition by a vote of 3,416 to 2,451.

Due to COVID-19, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order in May that delayed the school budget vote until June and stipulated that it would be conducted by absentee ballot alone. The district mailed ballots to approximately 18,000 qualified voters. The results were available shortly before midnight after pollworkers finished scanning the ballots.

The budget was approved by a margin of 62% yes votes to 38% no votes.

“This was an extraordinary process that took place during an extraordinary time,” Superintendent Cosimo Tangorra, Jr., said. “I would like to thank everyone who took the time to vote. We are grateful for the support of our community and are focused on providing the very best education we can for students. We are moving forward and will get through this time together. This result is an important step in the process.”

The budget calls for a tax levy increase of 2.15 percent, which means the district did not exceed its tax cap, as was considered earlier in the budget process. The budget maintains all elementary and middle school classroom teacher positions, high school teaching positions based on student course requests, and all current student support services. A series of reductions, including positions in administrative and operational areas, were made during the budget process and the use of fund balance was increased to avoid exceeding the cap while maintaining student programs.

Board of Education Results

The two seats up for election this year were those currently held by Zhao and Rosemarie Perez Jaquith, who did not seek re-election. Board of Education candidate vote totals are below.

  • Jennifer Zhao – 3,588
  • Sarah Rogerson – 3,130
  • Timothy Brennan – 2,817

The three-year terms that  Zhao and Rogerson were elected to begin on July 1 this year and go through June 30, 2023.