Budget vote set for May 21

On Tuesday, May 21, residents of the Gloversville Enlarged School District will go to the polls to vote on a proposed $67,047,457 budget for the 2019-20 school year.

Polls will be open from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. in the Gloversville High School gymnasium and at Bleecker Town Hall. If you have questions about where to vote, call the district office at (518) 775-5706.

The proposal carries a property tax levy increase of 2 percent, which is below the district’s allowable limit of 6.21 percent as calculated under the state’s “tax cap” formula. As a result of being within the cap, a simple majority (50 percent plus one vote) is needed for approval.

“Our proposed budget maintains all our current academic and extracurricular programs and provides for several new opportunities to help our students succeed,” Superintendent of Schools David Halloran said. “We’re also planning for our future by taking steps now to reduce costs and properly maintain our facilities.”

If the budget is approved, spending would increase $2.5 million, or 3.96 percent. The majority of the proposed increase can be attributed to debt service payments associated with the capital project voters approved in 2015. Ninety-eight percent of those costs will be reimbursed through State Building Aid. Local reserve funds will cover the remainder. (See page 3 for a capital project update.)

The proposed budget includes a new buildings and grounds position, which will help the district maintain its newly renovated buildings and expanded facilities, and the purchase of a new plow truck and commercial floor cleaning equipment. Among the savings in the proposed budget are $1.3 million in reductions associated with switching carriers for the retirees’ Medicare Advantage Plan and lower than expected premium increases for employee health insurance.

Other budget highlights include:

Transportation: The purchase of three new 66-passenger buses, including a wheelchair accessible bus, is proposed. The district partners with HFM BOCES and the Johnstown school district to share employees, bus maintenance and other costs. Districts maintain ownership of their vehicles.

City busing: The district will continue to partner with the Gloversville Transit System to offer free city bus rides to school for students and parents accompanying them. The district hopes to increase ridership next year. State Transportation Aid offsets the cost of the bus rides. From September to March of the current school year, GESD students have taken 3,591 rides on city buses.

Instructional Technology: The district is investing in iReady software to assist in measuring student growth. Implementation will be overseen by the newly hired director of information technology whose primary responsibility is to coordinate instructional technology initiatives to better inform and diversify student learning. Investments in interactive educational tools could include virtual reality equipment and 3D printers.

Safety/Security: A new Visitor Management System was installed in all schools to better screen school visitors. Classrooms also will be equipped with emergency medical trauma care kits. The school safety officer will continue to lead efforts to invest in security improvements.

Athletic Trainer: A certified athletic trainer will be present at more athletic events to address injury liability. New cardiovascular equipment will also be leased/purchased for the GHS training room.

Special Education Costs: The proposed budget addresses anticipated increases in special education costs for children with special needs, including those requiring out-of-district, private and residential placements.

In addition to the budget, district residents will be voting on three board vacancies. Three incumbents are running unopposed. The candidates are Robert Curtis, Kevin Kucel and Vincent Salvione.

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