GESD starts budget process

Gloversville Enhanced School District Superintendent of Schools Robert DeLilli discusses the projected cost of expanding the PTECH program with the Board of Education Monday. (The Leader-Herald/Ashley Onyon)

GLOVERSVILLE — The Gloversville Enhanced School District presented a robust early draft of the 2018-19 budget at Monday’s Board of Education.

GESD Assistant Superintendent Steven Schloicka presented the first draft of the 2018-19 budget to the Board of Education, noting that the opening budget includes expenses that will be reduced or removed as the budget process continues leading up to the public budget vote on May 15.

“Tonight’s budget — as you see it tonight — is an all encompassing budget. What that means is we’ve asked everyone to give us all their wish list, all their requests. That’s how we start out our budget, just so everyone knows, because you’re going to start to see some large numbers as we move through. So don’t be scared, it will all work out in the end,” Schloicka said.

The all inclusive budget totals $65.5 million for the 2018-19 school year, a 7.66 percent increase over the current year’s $61.5 million school budget.

Proposed expenses featured in the early draft include the expansion of communications services from two days a week to four days a week, the purchase of furniture for Gloversville High School and some elementary schools and the purchase of three school buses.

The cost of furniture would be included in the $51,500 capital services budget, an increase of 106 percent over the current year’s $25,000 budget. Schloicka told the board that the furniture is badly needed, especially at the high school.

The cost of purchasing three buses would be included in the $349,370 transportation equipment budget, an increase of 204.22 percent over the current year’s $114,843 budget. Schloicka explained that the school district normally purchases two buses each year, but had cut back this year school year and purchased a single bus.

“In order to keep up with our capital program and buying buses, now instead of buying two buses we’re looking at buying three buses to keep on track,” Schloicka said.

The largest increase in the opening 2018-19 school budget is to programming, which is currently budgeted at $46.49 million, an increase of $3.38 million over current year’s $43.11 million budget.

The programming budget includes the addition of special education teachers, secretaries, a school psychologist and a librarian at Boulevard Elementary School. Also included in the budget is the cost of expanding the Pathways in Technology Early College High School program.

“This is the kitchen sink approach, we’ve included everything that our administrators have asked for in this budget. And, we’ve also included all the numbers to start a new PTECH and remember starting the new PTECH comes with the funding,” Schloicka said.

Currently students in GESD are able to participate in the program run by the Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery Board of Cooperative Educational Services, taking high school and college courses at the same time in their chosen field to earn a high school diploma and associates degree at the time of their graduation.

The school district has been exploring the option of starting a PTECH program on their own campuses with fall 2018 as a targeted opening date. GESD’s program would offer a biomedical curriculum and would be open for PTECH students from other local school districts to attend.

Currently, Fulton-Montgomery Community College, the Greater Johnstown School District and Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville Central School District host PTECH programs.

GJSD’s curriculum is based on technology, while OESJ’s curriculum is agriculture based. FMCC hosts business management and administration, advanced manufacturing and clean technology, information and technology and health sciences programs.

If GESD’s PTECH program moves forward, students from the district would still be able to attend other PTECH programs.

GESD Interim Superintendent of Schools Robert DeLilli explained that the current draft of the 2018-19 budget does not include revenue projections from the state or school taxes. The 2018-19 state budget is not yet complete. He added that the state government will likely include increased expenditures for the popular PTECH program.

“They see that it works, they see that it’s valued and they see that school districts need help doing it, so they’re pouring money into it right now with a commitment,” DeLilli said. “PTECH is a revenue generator and the teachers that we would put in these residences at PTECH are paid for, but you have to outlay the run.”

He explained that schools in the district are program driven and the PTECH program offers a unique opportunity for students to help them develop skills that will aid them in establishing careers.

“It was done with research on labor standards and with expectation on the labor market. That’s driving how we’re trying to create programs for kids, to position them in the best way possible for a successful future here, in our area. If they want to go away, great, but we also want them come back,” DeLilli said. “That’s an incredible opportunity. That’s just PTECH.”

He also pointed out that the school district currently offers advanced placement classes allowing students to earn college credit in high school.

Once again, DeLilli assured the Board of Education that the budget will be pared down as the 2018-19 school budget process continues and the district awaits news on how much state funding will be provided for the year.

“This whole budget is everything in the kitchen sink, but you have to do it. That’s a proper way to do it. We go back and start analyzing and looking at it and start ticking it down a little,” DeLilli said.

By Kerry Minor

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