GASD budget passes, incumbent board members re-elected

Voters in the Greater Amsterdam School District returned three incumbent school board members to office and approved a $63.3 million budget.

According to unofficial results from Tuesday’s voting in all four election districts, Nellie Bush received 773 votes, Peter Pritchard 674 and Kent McHeard 630 to win re-election to three-year terms. The fourth candidate, Andrea Prusky, received 526 votes.

The budget, which passed by a count of 599 in favor and 301 against, decreases spending in the district by 0.15 percent and reduces the tax levy–the amount to be raised through property taxes–by 3.75 percent.

District Superintendent Thomas Perillo said he was happy with the results as well as the voter turnout; a total of 1,463 people cast ballots, compared with last year’s total of 1,060.

“This is the third year in a row the budget has passed,” Perillo said. “I’d like to thank the voters for having confidence in the budget. We had a couple of things working for us; [the budget] reduced taxes in pretty much every municipality without reducing staff and programs.”

The three winning board of education candidates all said they wanted to continue the good work the board is doing.

“We will continue to advocate for the betterment of the students and to communicate with the public,” Bush said. “We must remain fiscally responsible.”

Pritchard said the direction the board is going is a good one.

There’s a lot of transparency,” he said. “It’s not always easy to have transparency, and I think we’ve done a good job.”

McHeard agreed.

“I am encouraged that the board has continued to grow as a working unit,” he said. “I’m hopeful to see that will continue in our future.”

Prusky said she was glad to see the large voter turnout.

“It means the community is listening,” she said. “I wish everybody the best of luck.”

She said she would like to remain involved by serving on district committees.

Perillo said he was glad Prusky ran for the board.

“Andrea Prusky had a very good showing,” he said. “That’s a good sign. She made a good run.”

John Becker

John Becker is both a Reporter and Consulting Editor for The Compass. He and his wife Pat operate Abbey Farms in Amsterdam NY.