GJSD starts budget impact review

JOHNSTOWN — Greater Johnstown School District Board of Education members have begun looking at district budget impacts for the coming year on the committee level.

Board Vice President Kathryn Zajicek reported on two Audit Committee meetings to the full board recently at Johnstown High School. She reported on the committee’s Jan. 21 and Feb. 4 sessions.

Zajicek said district financial advisor Rick Timbs gave a presentation which centered on the Johnstown district’s financial situation. She said Timbs indicated that the Johnstown school system’s tax rate remains lower than other area districts.

She said the Feb. 4 Audit Committee meeting took an indepth look at expenditures and savings.

“We continue to set our parameters,” Zajicek said.

Zajicek said the district predicts it will again require a supermajority yes vote to have residents approve the 2020-21 district budget on May 19.

Greater Johnstown School District residents in a revote June 18 approved the district’s current $37.8 million budget for 2019-20 by 63 percent, averting a contingency budget. It was the second district budget offered to voters last spring and it contained a 14.6 percent tax levy increase that was within the state cap. At the time, officials said the district had begun a three-year plan with the second and third school years still calling for 14 percent tax levy hikes. At least for the 2020-21 budget, the district predicts a much lower state tax levy cap that would need a 60 percent supermajority from voters for approval in May 2020, officials said last June.

In other board reports, board President Christopher Tallon noted he and other district officials recently attended a state Board of Regents regional meeting in which graduation measures were discussed.

“That was a pretty good discussion,” Tallon said.

He said some of the idea is to not put as much emphasis on Regents exams.

“We should be looking more at the well-rounded student, overall,” Tallon said.

Tallon reported the district will conduct another one of its public informational forums at 6:30 p.m. March 3 at the Johnstown Area Community Center.

Board member Beverly Alves urged district officials said the public to contact the area’s state legislators to “get more funding for education.”

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

By Kerry Minor

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