School budget committee formed

JOHNSTOWN — The Greater Johnstown School District Board of Education’s new Budget Committee has met once, as the district looks to eventually start its 2018-19 district budget process.

That process culminates with district residents voting yes or no on the next school year’s budget, May 15, at Johnstown High School.

Board of Education President Kathy Dougherty said Friday, that a special panel related to budgetary matters was formed and has already met once.

“We formed a Budget Committee,” she said. “What we want to be is as open as possible.”

Dougherty said neither she nor the committee have actually seen any preliminary budget figures, as it is too early. But she said the Budget Committee, which includes representatives from the district’s unions, did go over some basic revenue figures that were contained in the district’s 2017-18 budget that was adopted last year.

The state typically does a “first run” on school district aid figures, but that will be coming down the line, Dougherty said.

New York state usually doesn’t adopt its own state budget for the next year until at least April.

Development of the tentative budget — eventually presented to the full board and public — will be handled through the district’s business office headed by Assistant Superintendent Ruthie Cook. She is assisted in the process by School Business Manager Melissa Baker.

District Clerk Larraina Carpenter said Friday that more information on the budget process will likely be imparted at the board’s next meeting. It is set for 6:30 p.m. Feb. 8 in the JHS small cafe.

At this point, the board is looking at a budget workshop during a special meeting at 6:30 p.m. March 22 at the high school. Another special meeting for the board to adopt the 2018-19 budget is scheduled for 5 p.m. April 19 at JHS.

District voters last May 16 approved the district’s $33.9 million 2017-18 budget, which contained a 3.5 percent tax levy increase. That budget, which maintained services and didn’t include layoffs, was approved 340 to 194. Spending for this school year was increased by 1.62 percent. The tax levy increase ended up being $280,580 or 3.5 percent for a total levy of $8.3 million — below the state’s 6.2 percent tax cap for Johnstown.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at [email protected]

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