GESD proposes $67M school budget

The Gloversville Enlarged School District Board of Education on Monday approved a proposed $67.04 million 2019-20 school budget to present to voters in May. (The Leader-Herald/Ashley Onyon)

GLOVERSVILLE — The Gloversville Enlarged School District Board of Education on Monday approved a proposed $67.04 million 2019-20 school budget to present to voters in May.

The $67.04 million school budget represents a 3.95 percent increase over the current year’s $64.49 million budget.

The proposed budget calls for a 2 percent increase to the district tax levy, increasing the levy approximately $294,997 over the current year to a total levy of $15.01 million. The tax levy increase is below the district’s state mandated 2 percent tax cap set at 6.21 percent.

The budget seeks to appropriate $642,092 from the district fund balance and $618,847 from debt service, balanced by a $2.99 million increase in state aid to a total of $48.05 million.

District Treasurer Cathy Meher outlined changes featured in the 2019-20 school budget proposal from the current year during Monday’s meeting including the addition of a groundskeeper and the purchase of a new truck equipped with a plow for use by the hired employee, the cost of leasing cardio equipment for the high school fitness room to replace broken equipment, the addition of a full-time athletic trainer in accordance with state recommendations and the purchase of a new school bus.

Another change will include bringing IT services in-house led by a new director and computer technician, the salaries for those positions along with the district’s use of a new assessment tool will generate an increase of $186,900.

“These costs were offset by a decrease in cooperative technology services with Albany BOCES, the district will realize better and more consistent service through the district with a tech on site five days per week,” Meher said.

Another addition to the district staff will actually generate a net savings of $12,300 for the district’s communication services through the hiring of a full-time, in-house communication specialist to assume the duties currently carried out part-time by Capital Region BOCES two days a week.

“This will allow the district to have someone on site five days per week to help communicate to all students, staff and community members how great Gloversville students are and what a great place it is. They will be able to showcase the talents of our students and staff and assist with a rebranding of the district,” Meher said.

These expenditures will be offset by salary savings from retirements and attrition. Meher noted the district’s decision to redistribute the assistant superintendent’s responsibilities among existing business office staff members rather than refilling the vacant position led to a net savings of $105,600.

The district will further benefit from a decrease in the cost of fringe benefits and retirement rates totalling approximately $330,000.

The Board of Education signaled their support for the $67.04 million 2019-20 school budget, approving the proposal by a vote of 8-0, with board member John Lott absent from Monday’s meeting.

Following the meeting, school board President Robert Curtis pointed to the proposed budget as a balanced measure that he said maintains program for students, adds staff members where needed, accounts for the district’s long-term needs and considers the cost to taxpayers. He went on to commend Meher for preparing the district’s annual budget for the first time this year.

“We were able to keep the tax levy at 2 percent, the board has been trying to do that plus looking long-term to make sure we don’t end up with any problems by doing that,” Curtis said. “I think the budget is good for the district and the taxpayers. I give a lot of credit to Cathy for having to take that over this school year, she’s done a wonderful job putting the budget together.”

A public hearing on the proposed 2019-20 school budget will be held on May 14 at 6:30 p.m. at Gloversville Middle School in the Board of Education meeting room. The school budget vote will take place on May 21.