Kilburn finalist for OHM BOCES spot

Confirms she may be leaving Johnstown School District

Greater Johnstown School District Superintendent Patricia Kilburn poses in her office for a photo on Feb. 15, 2017. (The Leader-Herald file photo)

JOHNSTOWN — Greater Johnstown School District Superintendent Patricia Kilburn may be leaving her position for a Central New York BOCES district.

She confirmed this morning she is a finalist for the Oneida-Herkimer-Madison BOCES district superintendent position. She said a decision by that BOCES is expected at the “earliest” by mid-July.

“The position is very unique,” Kilburn said. “That’s a really unique opportunity that came up that matches with my beliefs about education.”

The Johnstown superintendent said she became interested in the BOCES position in the spring. She said she would be “conflicted” leaving Johnstown, but would be able to help many upstate students in the new position. If she gets the position, it follows a short tenure as superintendent consumed by budgetary constraints and problems the last two years.

The Board of Education on Wednesday night at Johnstown High School went into a closed-door, executive session during a special meeting to discuss an “employment history of personnel” matter. The board took no formal action.

Kilburn confirmed she sent out an internal email to district employees on Tuesday about her intentions.

If she gets the BOCES position, the Johnstown district may be involved in the coming year dealing with financial difficulties, fundraising for athletics, hiring a new superintendent, and possibly closing a school. The board will also have three new members and is due to select a new president in July.

“We’re dealing with some tough stuff in Johnstown,” Kilburn said.

Kilburn assumed the Johnstown superintendent position in February 2017, taking over from former Superintendent Robert DeLilli.

She was hired in-house in August 2016– the only candidate the Board of Education said it looked at.

Originally from Long Island, Kilburn came to Fulton County in 1996. She was a music teacher for seven years at the former Oppenheim-Ephratah Central School before doing administrative and curriculum work for the Greater Amsterdam School District. She came to Johnstown in 2008, serving as director of curriculum, testing and personnel before being promoted to assistant superintendent.

She and her husband, Warren, reside in Perth and have one child, Michaela.

In other business Wednesday night, the board officially certified Tuesday’s 2019-20 district budget vote of 1,393 yes, 803 no. The budget passed by 63 percent in a revote.

The second district budget offered this spring contained a 14.6 percent tax levy increase that was within the state cap. A simple majority of voters — more than 50 percent — was required for budget approval. If voters had rejected the second budget, the district would have had to go to a contingency budget that wouldn’t have allowed the district to increase its tax levy over the previous year. The district has a three-year plan with the second and third school years still calling for 14 percent tax levy hikes.

The budget’s levy will now increase from $8.6 million to $9.85 million for the 2019-20 school year. The district says it has a three-year plan that includes possibly raising the levy again by 14 percent the second and third years, possibly closing a school and fundraising for athletics.

The adopted $37,870,477 budget for the 2019-20 school year calls for a 6.2 percent spending increase over this year’s operating budget. Almost all of the proposed spending increase is for capital project expenditures; most capital project expenditures are matched by state building aid.

Kilburn also acknowledged Kathy Dougherty, who is leaving the board.

“We love everything Kathy has done for this district,” the superintendent.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.