Gloversville Enlarged School District Board of Education adopts $64M budget

GLOVERSVILLE — The Gloversville Enlarged School District Board of Education adopted a $64.49 million proposed 2018-19 budget by a vote of eight to one during Monday’s meeting.

The proposed $64.49 million budget represents a 4.86 percent increase over the current year’s $61.5 million school budget.

The proposed budget calls for a 2.14 percent tax levy increase, which stays within the state tax cap. If approved by voters, the budget will levy a total of $14.72 million in school taxes.

Assistant Superintendent Steven Schloicka said Wednesday that details on tax rates for the district’s five municipalities under the proposed budget are not yet available as the equalization and assessment rates have not yet been set.

Information on the tax rates will be sent out to district residents in budget mailers early next month in advance of the May 8 public hearing on the proposed budget.

The school district will receive $45.06 million in state aid for the 2018-19 school year, an increase $964,306 over the current year.

The proposed budget maintains or enhances programs and staffing levels across the district.

Proposed expenses featured in the budget include the purchase of furniture for Gloversville High School and some elementary schools and the purchase of two school buses in keeping with the district’s equipment replacement and maintenance schedule.

District programming will get a boost through the addition of special education teachers, secretaries and a school psychologist, as well as one librarian at Boulevard Elementary School. Also included in the budget is the cost of expanding the Pathways in Technology Early College High School program.

It was announced on Friday that GESD and the Greater Johnstown School District have been awarded a $3 million grant to offer a new Pathways in Technology Early College High School by the New York State Education Department.

The two school districts will partner to open the Foothills PTECH in fall 2018, offering 80 incoming freshman the opportunity to earn a high school diploma and associate degree upon graduation. The program will offer studies pertaining to health and medical sciences and computer science and gaming arts.

Schloicka said that receipt of the grant would not impact proposed expenditures for offering the new PTECH program. The budget includes $819,806 in expenses for PTECH for administrative and teaching salaries and supplies.

The proposed budget comes in at approximately $1 million less than an early draft budget that Schloicka presented at the end of February. Schloicka said that BOCES expenditures and the cost of health insurance and fringe benefits came in lower than previously estimated contributing to the reduction.

The expansion of district communications services from two days a week to four days a week and the purchase of a third school bus were removed from the early draft of the budget.

Overall the Board of Education were supportive of the proposal, with school board President Robert Curtis saying he was pleased with the budget that stays within the state tax cap again this year.

“Being able to maintain our current programs is always good for the students,” Curtis said. “We’re able to go forward and maintain what we have.”

Vincent Salvione was the only school board member who voted against the budget. Salvione said he wasn’t necessarily opposed to the budget itself, but felt that the board wasn’t as directly involved in developing the budget and looking at individual line items as they should have been, pointing to the 23 page budget document.

“Even with last year’s budget I wasn’t happy with the fact that we as board members weren’t involved in the process of what we’re budgeting for and what we’re spending taxpayer dollars on,” Salvione said. “Two budget workshops is not enough.”

The public hearing on the proposed $64.49 million 2018-19 school budget will be held on May 8 at 6:30 p.m. in the Gloversville Middle School auditorium. The budget vote will take place on May 15.

By Kerry Minor

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