Tupper Lake voters reject school budget

TUPPER LAKE – For the first time in more than a decade, Tupper Lake Central School District residents voted down the district’s proposed school budget.

Since the 2013-14 budget exceeded the state’s tax cap, increasing the tax levy by 8.35 percent, at least 60 percent of voters would have needed to vote yes. But it didn’t even get a simple majority of voters approving it, with 685 people voting against it and 512 voting in favor.

School board President Dan Mansfield was also voted off the board. He will be replaced by challenger Trish Anrig, a former employee of the district. Anrig gained 652 votes, Mansfield garnered 567 and board member Dawn Hughes retained her seat with 735 votes.

Voters also rejected, 750-426, a proposition that would have allowed the district to buy two new buses at a maximum cost of up to $230,500. The proposition was part of an annual bus replacement program that had the district replacing its transportation on a cycle that district officials said saved on maintenance costs.

District Superintendent Seth McGowan said the district will have to go through the budget process again. The board will have to approve another version of the budget, then hold a hearing, then hold another vote, which McGowan said he believes would be in mid-June.

McGowan said the budget the district had proposed was created with long-term thinking in mind and that it was defeated by people who were thinking only in the short-term.

The budget voted down included a total of $17,233,794 in spending, a 7.64 percent increase over the current year.