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Board of Education adopts spending plan for 2015-16 school year

April 22, 2015

Tax levy increase below state limit, spending to increase by 1.66 percent; three candidates run for two open board seats

The South Glens Falls Central School District Board of Education recently voted unanimously in favor of a spending plan for the 2015-16 school year.

District residents will vote Tuesday, May 19, on a proposed $55,031,681 spending plan for the 2015-16 school year.
The proposed plan calls for a $899,723—or 1.66 percent—increase in spending over the current year’s budget. If approved, the budget would increase the tax levy by 2.41 percent, which is below the district’s state-imposed tax levy limit of 3.26 percent. While final assessment figures are not available until August, it’s projected that homeowners with an assessment of $100,000 will see their annual taxes increase by about $30.

Voters will also elect two members to the board of education and vote on a bus proposition.

District sees increase in state aid

For the 2015-16 school year, SGF is anticipating a budget-to-budget increase of $1.7 million in state aid, which helped close the budget gap, maintain and restore programs and services, and minimize the impact on taxpayers.
As part of this aid increase, the district will receive $1,277,145 toward the restoration of its Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA), the state’s practice of withholding promised state aid from districts to address its own deficit.

The increase in aid will allow the district to reduce the amount of reserve funds and fund balance appropriated in this year’s budget.

The proposed spending plan adds back programming that was eliminated over the past several years in the areas of academics and extracurricular activities. It enhances the district’s social-emotional support for students.

“After eight years of reducing programming and approximately 13 percent of our staff, we have an opportunity to reinvest in programming for next year,” said Superintendent of Schools Michael Patton. “This does not mean our financial challenges are over, though, which is why we remain careful about managing district finances for the long term.”

Proposed social-emotional support additions

• Two new social worker positions, which would be split among the district’s four elementary schools to provide support for students and families.

Proposed extracurricular additions

• Restoration of six modified sports teams,which were eliminated in 2009.

Proposed academic additions

• K-8 summer school for academic remediation and enrichment in the arts and technology.
• An expanded summer credit recovery program for high school students.
• Additional class sections at the high school.
• A new part-time student conduct coordinator at the high school, which would be a stipend position for a teacher to provide student management, building supervision and attendance support.
• Extending the service of one math coach and two literacy coaches. These positions,which were grant funded for the current school year, have allowed for teachers to provide extensive curriculum and instructional support to their colleagues and students.

Bus Proposition

Voters will decide on the purchase of four 65-passenger school buses and one 29-passenger bus with wheelchair option, at a maximum estimated cost of $490,215.

The district will be reimbursed by the state for approximately 69 percent of the bus purchase cost. This purchase will have no tax impact for the 2015-16 school budget.

The proposition is part of the district’s annual bus replacement plan, which replaces the oldest buses each year in order to maintain a safe and operational fleet, and control the maintenance costs that come with keeping older buses on the road.

A budget hearing will be held on Wednesday, May 6 at 6:30 p.m., at the South Glens Falls High School LGI. The League of Women Voters will also be present to moderate a Meet the Candidates forum for the board of education candidates.

Board of Education Election

Voters will also elect two individuals to the board of education to serve three-year terms. Candidates are:

  • William Amberger
  • Kevin Ostrander
  • John Farrell

They will appear on the ballot in the order they are listed.

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