The agenda for Tuesday’s meeting is calling for a budget presentation from school finance director Vern Connors, who will walk the school board through the preliminary numbers that are known so far.
School Superintendent Bret Apthorpe recently told WRFA that because the state has not yet finalized its spending plan for the 2018-19 fiscal year, school districts across the state – including hear in Jamestown – don’t know how much state aid they will receive.
He said the governor’s executive budget does call for a 4 percent increase in education aid across the state, but unfortunately for Jamestown and other districts in Western New York, that number is lower.
“So the governor proudly announces a 4 percent increase in funding education. However, for Jamestown it’s actually a 1.3 percent increase in funding. That is below the 2.1 percent inflationary rate in New York State,” Apthorpe noted. “So where is all this money going? It goes back to my frustrations of a student education is a constitutional right in New York State. The state needs a fair formula that distributes funds based on student demographics across New York State.”
Currently the state legislature is working on finalizing the state budget and there is the possibility it will increase school aid beyond what the governor has proposed. However, Apthorpe said that doesn’t mean Jamestown will likely get its fair share.
“We’re fighting for fair funding of schools and if we get to the inflationary rate – let’s say the legislature increases it to 2.1 percent – we sit back and say, ‘That’s great.’ So I’m really angry because I really believe there is an intent to make our status quo the new norm.”
Tuesday’s school board meeting, which will include the preliminary budget presentation, will take place at 6 p.m. in the school administration building on Martin Rd. It is open to the public.