By a vote of 1,393 to 803, residents of the Greater Johnstown School District approved a $37,870,477 budget for the 2019-20 school year. The approved budget calls for a 6.2% spending increase from the 2018-19 school year and a 14.6% tax levy increase, which is equal to the district’s calculated tax levy “cap.”
“This vote means that we don’t have to make any more reductions for this coming year,” said Dr. Patricia Kilburn, superintendent of schools. “This passed by a supermajority, which is important, because we’re going to need supermajority votes going forward for the next few years to get to the point where we have sustainable budgets.”
The approved budget is part of a three-year plan the Board of Education has outlined that is designed to end Johnstown’s reliance on its reserves (savings) to fund core programs. The budget reflects $1,325,000 worth of cuts, including a reduction of 19 staff positions. While the budget preserves $200,000 for athletics transportation and administrative functions, the remaining $311,890 needed to support the district’s interscholastic athletics program will have to be fundraised by the community. Similarly, the budget includes $33,000 for limited extracurricular offerings for students, and the community is invited to fundraise to support winter guard and the high school’s spring musical.