District voters OK $81.4M school budget Perez Jaquith, Zhao win board seats

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By Kristin Schultz

Gazette Reporer

In the Niskayuna school district, the budget passed, Rosemarie Perez Jaquith and Jennifer Zhao will serve on the school board and there will be 10 new buses on the road next year after voting on May 16.

Budget: approved

Voters passed the school district’s $81.4 million budget for the 2017-2018 school year. The spending plan maintains student programs and allocates funds to add five full-time teachers, add a second year of Chinese language classes at the high school level and adds funds for elementary teacher professional development.

The budget passed with 1,713 votes for and 475votes against.

Seats at the table

Three candidates were running for two posts on the Niskayuna Board of Education. In the end, Perez Jaquith and Zhao won the most votes with Zhao unseating incumbent David Apkarian. Each begins a three-year term on July 1.

“I’m just . . . so excited the budget passed,” said Perez Jaquith. “Thanks to the voters for passing the budget and I’m excited they gave me another opportunity.”

The race was very competitive, with Perez Jaquith getting 1,448 votes, Zhao following with 1,210 votes and Apkarian pulling in 1,150 votes.

New-bus smell

By a vote of 1,675 to 513, Niskayuna residents approved the purchase of 10 new buses for the district’s transportation department. The purchase will include two full-size buses and eight smaller, specialized vehicles. The total cost is an estimated $766,676.

“To have voters approve both the budget and the bus purchase shows overwhelming support,” said Superintendent Cosimo Tangorra Jr. “I am grateful for the turnout and participation. The leadership did its job in representing the issues.”