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Voters set to vote on $67M GESD budget

GLOVERSVILLE — Gloversville Enlarged School district residents will take to the polls next Tuesday to vote on the 2021-22 budget. The board will set forth a budget they consider fair, and hope it will pass without any hesitancy. It will include a $67,262,883 annual budget which includes the purchase of two 66-passenger school buses from the Bus Purchase and Vehicle Capital Reserve fund.

The proposed budget represents a 1.78 percent, or $934,722 decrease in expenditures due in part to the change in debt service and reductions in the cost of health insurance. The tax levy will increase by $172,546, or 1.13 percent, as determined by the New York state property tax cap calculation. The district reports the bus purchase will have no financial impact on the general fund budget or the tax levy, but is still subject to voter approval. The budget includes the addition of two elementary teachers to reduce class size, one school psychologist, one high school guidance counselor, one English for Speakers of Other Languages teacher, and two part-time IT technicians. The ballot will also list three board member incumbents seeking re-election, Kelli DeMaio, Edward Sturgess and Jennifer Pomeroy.

David Halloran, superintendent of schools, spoke about what he envisions for the districtwide summer school program. Halloran said given the past year, he feels this summer school session is more crucial than ever. The district is facing challenges similar to those faced by school districts across the nation due to the pandemic, and Halloran said he feels like they need to take this moment to do what it takes to get students back on track before the fall.

“Summer learning is the best thing we can do to bring the students back. We have the funding from the federal government as part of our COVID relief, we have it for the next three years, so we need to use that to help close the gaps,” said Halloran.

Halloran said the district will provide free breakfast and lunch to summer school students. One of his goals, he said, is to make it as enjoyable and motivating as possible through outdoor activities, art, music and even possible field trips.

“I want this to transform how the kids think about coming to school, so that when the fall comes, we can get them here. We have the funding to do it right. Usually money is something we have to worry about, now it’s not. We can pay for staffing, even possibly look at having college kids run some sort of intramurals. We have these fields here to use. Let’s see the kids using them, “ said Halloran.

Halloran said right now they are focused on doing what it takes to provide equitable credit recovery to those students who are in danger of not graduating in August. He said they will use flexible scheduling that provides every opportunity possible to get at-risk students to the finish line.

“We have enough staff on board so that we can provide students with the classes needed to graduate at the end of summer. For some, they may get it done in two weeks, some may take longer, but either way, our goal is to get them to graduate,” Halloran.

Halloran said this approach is to help combat attendance issues which he acknowledges the district has always had, but were made worse by the pandemic.

“Our attendance issues were exacerbated this year given the current situation, we know that,” said Halloran.

Details on summer school are still being finalized, information is expected to come out in the next few weeks.

Halloran also gave the board an update on the return of elementary in-person learning, saying that so far it has been successful.

“Everything has been working out well. While we’ve had two cases and 13 quarantines, we continue to grow in confidence as our community infection rate goes down,” said Halloran.

The district will be holding a vaccination clinic this Friday for the Pfizer vaccine. Any parent who is interested in having their 16- to 17-year-old vaccinated must provide consent. Any 18 year-old students do not require parents consent. Further information will be provided by the district.

“We are not trying to push anything on anyone, but the fact that we were able to bring back our students is a result of people getting vaccinated,” said Halloran.

Polls will be open for in-person voting between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. at the Gloversville High School and the Bleecker Town Hall. A PDF copy of the proposed 2021-22 budget is available to view on the district website at https://www.gesdk12.org. If you would like to request an absentee ballot, please print and fill out the absentee ballot application found on the website. Absentee ballot applications must be submitted to the Election Clerk, either in person, or mailed to: Cathy Meher, Election Clerk, 234 Lincoln St., Gloversville, no later than 5 p.m. on May 18. For additional information, contact the Election Clerk at (518) 775-5706 or email cmeher@gesdk12.org.

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