Beck, Schrum and Sponnable elected to Board of Education
The Greater Johnstown School District community approved the district’s $39,967,989 budget proposal on Tuesday, May 18 by a vote of 630-243, a margin of 72%.
“We are incredibly grateful for the community’s support in passing next year’s school budget,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. William Crankshaw. “It is a budget that prioritizes academics and our students’ needs, while giving careful consideration to the long- term financial health of the district. This vote outcome illustrates the community’s confidence in our children’s future and their commitment to provide each and every student at GJSD with a top notch education.”
The budget reflects a property tax levy increase of 3.8% ($393,247), which is within the District’s allowable New York state tax levy limit increase of 3.8%, meaning only a simple majority (more than 50%) was required to pass the budget.
This is the first time since 2017 that the District’s proposed tax levy increase was within the cap and a supermajority (60%) was not needed for approval. This also marks the first time in four years that the budget has passed on the first vote and will not require a re-vote.
“The Johnstown community has endured several difficult budget votes in the last five years,” Crankshaw added. “Thanks to smart fiscal planning, an increase in state aid and federal grants meant to help address learning loss from COVID-19, the District has been able to take very important steps toward accomplishing fiscal stability and, more importantly, long-term fiscal health.”
- A $39,967,989 budget for the 2021-2022 school year that increases spending by 2.5% ($992,700) and includes a tax levy increase of 3.8% ($393,247). YES-630, NO-243.
- The spending plan calls for the addition of three staff members: a 7-12 math teacher to teach the computer science curriculum being created through a new partnership with Amazon; an elementary visual arts teacher (the District currently has one art teacher for approximately 750 students K-6); and, a behavioral specialist to assist with social-emotional development and learning at the elementary level.
- The proposed spending plan also calls for a full restoration of extracurricular activities and athletics, and funding for students to participate in important co-curricular activities, such as field trips.
Other Items on the Ballot:
- Voters reelected Ronald Beck to his fifth term as a member of the Board of Education and elected newcomers Arthur R. Schrum Jr. and Jennifer Sponnoble as BOE members. All three will serve three-year terms. Mr. Beck received 522 votes, Mr. Schrum received 580 votes and Mrs. Sponnoble received 579 votes.
- Voters authorized two expenditures using pre-existing funds from District reserves — (1) the purchase of three school buses (YES-667, NO-200); and (2) repairs to be made at the junior-senior high school (YES-640, NO-225) Both expenditures will be 90% reimbursed by New York state. Monies for the expenditures already exist and are available in reserves, but voters still needed to approve the spending in order for them to move forward.
- Voters approved a change to the structure of the Board of Education from nine members to seven. The change will take effect July 1, 2022. (YES-596, NO-266)