Budget & School Taxes
Johnstown community to vote on proposed 2023-24 school budget Tuesday, May 16
Community budget hearing set for Tuesday, May 2
(April 28, 2023) – On Tuesday, May 16, residents of the Greater Johnstown School District will vote on a proposed $42,222,306 budget for the 2023-24 school year that maintains healthy academic programming, extracurriculars and athletics, fulfills the District’s goal of providing robust opportunities for students and staff, and accommodates for the District’s mission of continuous improvement. Voting will take place in the Junior-Senior High School Auditorium Lobby on May 16, and polls will be open from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
The community is invited to hear a presentation about the budget at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 2 in the auditorium at The Knox Building. A livestream of the public budget hearing may also be viewed on the District’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxHNdSrBUjpzHtGXAxA2DYA
The plan represents a spending increase of 2.93% ($1,201,235) and incorporates a 4.47% tax levy increase ($503,551), which is at the district’s allowable limit under the state’s “tax cap” formula. This marks the third straight year that the tax levy increase will be within the cap, requiring a simple majority (more than 50%) to pass.
“Record high inflation is causing challenging times for schools, just as it is for our families,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. William Crankshaw said. “The benefits of long-term financial planning are coming into play this year, as we are once again able to stay within the tax levy limit, despite rising costs all around us. Our financial strategies have allowed us to present a budget that is sensitive to the hardships that our community is facing.”
The District expects to receive a 3% increase in state Foundation Aid for 2023-24. It is widely anticipated, however, that schools will see smaller increases – or perhaps no increase at all – beginning in 2024-25.
“State aid is the District’s largest source of revenue, but it is not necessarily keeping pace with the growing needs of our students and the increased expenses that come as a result,” Crankshaw said. “We are planning now, for the inevitability of lower aid next year, in an effort to provide financial consistency for our community and do what we can to avoid sharp fluctuations in the future.”
Budget components that show increased spending from last year are mostly due to non discretionary expenses including contractual obligations for salaries, health insurance and retirement, along with utilities like electricity and transportation fuel.
The spending plan includes the addition of a transportation director and one administrative assistant to be shared between the transportation and facilities departments.
“With consideration of the recommendation by the District’s Shared Decision Making ad hoc committee on transportation, the District will begin to assume greater control in the management of student transportation. For the near future, the District will continue its partnership with HFM BOCES which provides bus drivers, monitors, maintenance personnel, and storage of the District’s fleet,” Crankshaw said. “Adding a transportation director who has the expertise to coordinate routing logistics, and improve arrival and dismissal safety procedures, will ensure a high level of customer service and direct communication with our families.”
What else is on the ballot?
Bus Purchases: Vote on purchasing two 66-passenger buses at a cost not to exceed $320,000, of which $129,148 will be paid for using the District’s Capital Bus Purchase Reserve Fund (savings). “The District’s ongoing and conscientious reserve planning has ensured that those funds are there, but voters still need to approve the District spending it,” Dr. Crankshaw explained. The balance of the purchase is included in the 2023-24 budget — the cost of which is offset by transportation aid. “Purchases are done in cycles, according to when aging vehicles become costly to repair — a fiscally responsible move that also accounts for changes that may occur to our service in 2024-25,” Assistant Superintendent Alicia D. Koster said.
Board of Education Election: Community members will also vote for candidates to fill two open positions on the Board of Education. Each three-year term begins on July 1, 2023 and ends June 30, 2026. This is the final year of implementing the voter-approved plan to reduce the Board of Education from nine seats, down to seven. Read more about the candidates running for the Board of Education here.
Establish Capital Reserve Fund: Voters will decide if the District should establish a Capital Reserve Fund (savings) not to exceed $5,000,000, for financing future acquisitions or necessary general improvements to the District’s facilities, and transfer the remaining balance of the Bus Purchase Reserve Fund ($1,145,413) to the new Capital Reserve Fund. Future expenditures from the newly established fund would first need to be approved by voters. “Creation of this reserve is a critical component to our long-range financial plan for the next five-10 years, with the goal of reducing financial impact on the community for capital improvements,” Crankshaw said.
2023-2024 Budget Book
A PDF copy of the proposed 2023-2024 Budget Document, with required attachments, is available to view or print.
2022-23 Budget Book
A PDF copy of the proposed 2022-2023 Budget Document, with required attachments, is available to view or print. Also available are the 2020-2021 Financial Transparency Report and NYS Report Card Update. Additional data regarding NYS school districts is available at data.nysed.gov.
When is the Annual Budget Vote & Board Election held?
Subject to few exceptions, school districts statewide are required by law to hold an annual budget vote and Board of Education Election on the third Tuesday in May.
Who is eligible to vote?
You may vote if you:
- are at least 18 years old;
- are a U.S. Citizen;
- have been a resident of the Greater Johnstown School District for the past 30 days; and
- are a registered voter (check here to see if you are currently registered to vote in the GJSD).
How do I register to vote?
Residents may register to vote at the office of the Fulton County Board of Elections (or the Montgomery County Board of Elections if you live in the Town of Palatine), or online through the NYS Board of Elections (it may take up to six weeks for your online application to be processed by NYS). The Board of Education also adopts a resolution designating a specific day and time for voter registration at school for persons not registered with the county.
Where do I vote?
The school budget vote and board election takes place annually on the third Tuesday in May. In-person voting takes place in the Johnstown Junior-Senior High School Auditorium Lobby from 11:00 am. to 8:00 p.m.
How do I apply for an absentee ballot?
Voters registered as permanently disabled with the county board of elections will automatically receive an absentee ballot. Any other qualified voter wishing to vote by absentee ballot must submit an application to the district clerk’s office. Applications are available on our forms page. If you are unable to print the application, you may call 518-762-4611 ext. 3119 and ask for an application to be mailed to you.
Qualifications to vote by absentee ballot:
- Absence from county on election day
- Temporary or permanent illness or disability (per NYS law, for the period 01/01/22 – 01/01/23, temporary illness includes being unable to appear due to risk of contracting or spreading a communicable disease like COVID-19)
- Duties related to primary care giver of one or more individuals who are ill or physically disabled
- Resident or patient of a Veterans Health Administration Hospital.
- Detention in jail/prison, awaiting trial, awaiting action by a grand jury, or in prison for conviction of a crime or offense which was not a felony
Completed applications must be received in the district clerk’s office at least seven days before the vote if the ballot is to be mailed to the voter, or the day before the vote if the ballot will be picked up in person.
When are absentee ballots due?
If you are provided with an official absentee ballot, it must be received in the office of the District Clerk not later than 5 p.m. on the day of the election, in an envelope that bears a signed “Statement of Absentee Voter,” in order to be counted by the election inspectors.
Absentee Ballots and Voter Privacy
Have you wondered how absentee ballots are counted and how voter anonymity is maintained? We explain the process here: https://www.johnstownschools.org/absentee-ballots-and-voter-privacy/