By Andrea Paldy
Three Village residents have overwhelmingly approved the school district’s proposed $204.4 million budget for the coming year.
At the polls Tuesday, 1,708 voted for the budget, while 719 voted against.
Incumbents Dr. Jeffrey Kerman, Irene Gische and Inger Germano, who all ran unopposed, will retain their seats.
The 2017-18 budget, a 2.77 percent increase over the previous year, covers academic enhancements, staffing changes and maintenance projects at the district’s buildings. The most notable additions are the free prekindergarten program for four-year-olds, a drug and alcohol counselor to work with students and their families, and a supervisor of technology and information systems to help oversee next year’s initiative to provide all junior high students with notebook computers.
The three board trustees, each going into a third three-year term, acknowledged the challenges of the cap on the tax levy and the controversy over Common Core in the past few years, but look to the future with optimism.
Kerman has said that in the next three years he wants to “continue to have our district advance and to educate all of our students — the entire range, from special education students to Regeneron Science Talent Search finalists.”
“All in all,” Gische said at a previous meeting, “the district is thriving in spite of the tax cap.”
She cited the addition of the free preschool and the drug and alcohol counselor as continued signs of progress, and said she will continue to support the prekindergarten and additional program and curriculum enhancements.
Germano also cited the preschool — as well as the Three Village Academy, which opened in 2013 — as recent district successes and pointed out that the Academy is a source of revenue through tuition from non-district students. She will “continue to ensure that Three Village maintains academic excellence” while staying fiscally responsible and “putting the needs of the children first,” she added in an email.
This year, because of safety concerns, voting took place at the three secondary schools instead of the elementary schools. Though voter turnout was lower than in past years, district officials interpreted it as a sign of residents’ satisfaction. The absence of additional propositions, like last year’s for transportation, and an uncontested school board election, may also have contributed to the lower turnout, they said.
However, with 70 percent voting in favor of the budget, the message from residents was still clear.
“The community has shown their approval and support and we couldn’t be more pleased,” Superintendent Cheryl Pedisich said.