JAMESTOWN – The Jamestown School Board has approved an $85 million budget for the 2017-18 school year. There is no tax increase for the 2017-18 budget.
The board took action on the spending plan after a lengthy review and discussion during Tuesday night’s board meeting, which included an update on the amount of school aid the district would be receiving from the state.
According to school Finance Director Vern Connors, Jamestown would be getting nearly $1.07 million more in general operating funding, compared to what was initially being projected in the governor’s proposed spending plan.
As a result, school officials were given a rare opportunity to increase staffing levels. However, Connors and interim superintendent Sylvia Root both explained to the board it would be prudent to hold off on finalizing which new positions could be brought in for next school year until after final enrollment numbers are known.
Root said that will all the district an opportunity to apply the additional funding in the areas that need it the most.
“The Budget came in late to begin with, and it was a pleasant surprise – so that was great – but we look at our needs and as time goes on and we talk more and more with our principals and and teachers, we definitely want to have a little room to make some changes as the needs change. And from year-to-year, those needs do change with our student body,” Root explained.
The district will likely see the addition of two full-time elementary teachers at Bush and Persell schools, an elementary music teacher, two full-time teachers and two paraprofessionals in English for Speakers of Other Languages, and one full-time school psychologist. In addition, there is the possibility of positions being created in other areas, once enrollment numbers are better known.
School board president Paul Abbott said that he was pleased with the outcome of the budget process this year, considering the district has had to deal with some lean budget in recent years.
“It’s a very encouraging budget cycle, which is something we have not had the luxury of since the time I’ve been on the board,” Abbott said. “It gives us the opportunity to put back some positions that we have lost over the year. I appreciate the work of Mrs. Root and Mr. Connors and the entire staff for giving a good analysis of where these resources can be spent most wisely, and doing so in a fashion that will be sustainable in future budget cycles, despite the state aid that we will or will not get.”
Details of the budget can be found at the school website in the coming days. A budget hearing will take place on May 9, where the public can get more details and also ask questions about the plan. It will go up for a public vote on May 16.