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Voters in Ithaca, Newfield, Corning-Painted Post approve revised school budgets

Corning-Painted Post school district polling site for the 2024-25 school budget revote on June 18.
Natalie Abruzzo
Corning-Painted Post school district polling site for the 2024-25 school budget revote on June 18.

Three school districts in the Southern Tier successfully passed new school budgets on Tuesday.

The Newfield, Ithaca, and Corning Painted-Post school districts all brought forward updated versions of the budget for a revote after their original proposals failed to pass in May. These revamped proposals cut spending and lowered proposed tax levies.

If the latest budget proposal didn’t pass, schools would have been required to operate under a contingency budget that would have had no increase to the tax levy.

Election results will be certified at their respective board meetings on Thursday.

Ithaca City School District

Initial results show that around three-quarters of voters cast a ballot in favor of the new budget. Seventy percent voted against the previous proposal in May, which included a $10 million increase in spending from last year’s budget.

The new budget lowered spending by nearly $6 million compared to the original proposal. That required cuts to administrative budgets, pauses on equipment purchases and maintenance, among other reductions.

The new budget also comes with a hiring chill. Open positions will only be filled if absolutely necessary.

Voters also passed another resurrected district proposition to buy vehicles, including electric and accessible school buses, using a capital reserve fund.

Newfield Central School District

Voters in Newfield passed their latest $25 million budget after a narrow failure in May’s election. The previous budget lost by only 18 votes.

The new budget made over $71,000 in cuts compared to the first proposal. It will increase the tax levy by 2.5%.

The district cut a middle and high school technology teaching position to help lower costs. However, the new budget still allows the district to move forward with plans to start a preschool special education class.

Corning Painted-Post Area School District

Preliminary numbers showed an overwhelming majority of voters were in favor of the proposed $138 million budget, which included a tax levy increase of 2.97%.

The original budget proposal would have increased the levy by 4.97%. In order to bring costs down, the district made some cuts to positions for teachers, teaching assistants and assistant coaches, along with professional development training opportunities and field trips for the elementary schools.

The new budget proposition received 67% of the vote.