GJSD Board of Education adopts proposed budget for 2022-23 school year

Community will vote on proposed $41.021 million budget Tuesday, May 17

The Board of Education for the Greater Johnstown School District adopted its proposed budget for the 2022-23 school year at the board’s regular meeting held Thursday, April 14. The community will vote on the proposed $41,021,071 budget on Tuesday, May 17. Polls will be open from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. at the Johnstown Jr.-Sr. High School.

The proposed budget represents a 2.63% spending increase ($1,053,082) —  roughly two thirds of which will be reimbursed by NYS school aid. The District is proposing a tax levy increase of 4.84% ($519,447), which is at the District’s “cap,” or maximum allowable tax levy as prescribed by NYS formula. The budget will require a simple majority vote for approval (more than 50%) since the tax levy is within the cap. 

“We work on the budget year round to make sure dollars are utilized in a way that helps us achieve our District goals to provide a well-rounded, first-rate education for our students,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. William Crankshaw said. “The proposed budget for next year enhances educational programming, athletics, music, arts, and extracurriculars, while being mindful of our community’s finances and staying within the tax levy cap for the second year in a row.”

The proposed budget addresses the needs of a changing student population in the District, by providing funding to hire three additional teachers — one special education teacher at Pleasant Avenue Elementary to address an increased need for social and emotional learning support; one elementary teacher for Warren Street Elementary to address a current enrollment increase; and an additional science teacher at the Johnstown Junior-Senior High School, to support further growth of the science curriculum at the secondary level.

As with most school districts in New York state, GJSD will see an increase in non-discretionary expenses next year, including contractual obligations for salaries, health insurance and retirement contributions, along with an increase in utility costs like natural gas, electricity and transportation fuel.

“Despite rising costs all around us, we have worked hard to not add additional financial strain to our taxpayers,” Dr. Crankshaw said. “These last two years, we’ve been able to provide consistency to the District’s taxpayers through necessary and moderate annual tax levy increases, which will help us to avoid sharp fluctuations in the future.” 

“Strategic use of federal dollars, careful spending, and proper management of reserves and fund balance have allowed us to provide the education our students require and deserve, yet demonstrate fiscal responsibility as the District focuses on the long term financial health of the District,” he added.

Community members are invited to attend the District’s Budget Hearing, to be held at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 3 in the auditorium at the Knox Building. A budget newsletter will be mailed to each household in the District during the first week in May.

Also on the May 17 ballot:

Small Capital Project – Voters will also be asked to vote on a small capital project, spending no more than $2,000,000 from the District’s Construction Capital Reserve Fund (savings) to address several necessary updates to Knox Field. Projects include replacing the 15-year-old turf, which will feature Johnstown branding; resurfacing the track to fix weather damage and cracks; and restoring and/or replacing rusted, deteriorating and weak sections of the wrought iron fence on the South Perry Street side of Knox Field. The funds for this project already exist in reserves and are available for this pre-planned use, but require voter approval for the District to spend. The $2,000,000 expenditure is not included as part of the overall proposed budget for 2022-23 and has no impact on the tax levy.

Bus Purchase – The District will ask voters to authorize the purchase of three 66-passenger buses, at a cost not to exceed $381,000, and one van or suburban vehicle, at a cost not to exceed $70,000. The buses and vehicle will be paid for with $344,721 from the District’s 2015 Capital (Bus Purchase) Reserve Fund, with the remainder paid from the 2022-23 budget, the cost of which is offset by transportation aid that the District receives.

Board of Education Election – Voters will also elect two members to the Board of Education for three-year terms to begin on July 1, 2022. Information about the candidates running for two open seats on the Board of Education will be posted to the District website in early May.

Applications for absentee ballots are available by request for residents who are unable to come to the polls if they are out of town or because of health concerns. Applications can be downloaded from the forms page of the District website or obtained through the District clerk’s office in person or by calling 518-762-4611 ext. 3119. Completed applications must be received in the District clerk’s office by Tuesday, May 10 if the ballot is to be mailed to the voter or by Monday, May 16 if the ballot will be picked up in person. Completed absentee ballots can be mailed back to the District or dropped off in person, but must be received by the District office by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, May 17.

School voter registration will take place from 3-7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 3 in the lobby of the Knox Building (400 S Perry St, Johnstown, NY 12095). Community members who are unsure if they are registered can check their status on Poll Place Finder.

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