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Corning-Painted Post school district voters reject proposed budget

Voter sign outside the Corning-Painted Post high school for the 2024-25 district school budget and board elections on May 21.
Natalie Abruzzo
Voter sign outside the Corning-Painted Post High School for the 2024-25 school district budget and board elections on May 21.

The Corning-Painted Post Area School District still had no budget set for the 2024-25 school year after the proposed budget failed to pass on May 21.

The $139,181,455 school budget for the Corning city schools failed, even with 50.19% of the vote in favor of it. It was a 50/50 split with 1,434 voting “yes” and 1,423 voting “no”. However, it needed 60 percent of the vote in order to pass.

The school district asked for a 4.97 percent tax levy. Any levy above 2.97 percent required a supermajority vote this year, according to school officials.

It is the second time in the district’s history that the budget did not pass. The first time was in 2007. After it failed in two votes that year, the district went with a contingency budget.

There are 22,095 registered voters in the school district and 12.9 percent of registered voters cast a ballot this year.

Superintendent Michelle Caulfield said that while she did not anticipate the budget proposal would fail, the board has to make a decision to move forward.

“There's three options that we can take,” said Caulfield. “The first one is to go right back out to the community with the same budget, the proposed budget. The second is that we could create a completely new plan and come in at the tax cap or below the tax cap. And the third option is to go directly to contingency. “

The contingency budget, which does not require a vote and only includes the essentials, is $136,277,025.

The Corning-Painted Post school board will meet on May 30 with its plan on how to proceed. If the school board decides to propose the same budget again, or a slightly lower budget, the vote will take place on June 18.

Two other propositions passed on Tuesday. Voters agreed to fund the Southeast Steuben County Library and said “yes” to a bond approval for new buses and equipment for the schools.

Additionally, voters chose two incumbents and one newcomer to the school board. The outgoing board president, Dale Wexell, lost his seat by 20 votes. Wexell served the district for 40 years.

School board members begin their terms on July 1.