Jamestown Public Schools held a public hearing Tuesday night on the proposed 2021-22 School Budget and multi-year Capital Improvement Project. District officials discussed the $89,879,000 spending plan. The budget plan has no tax increase.
The district’s $86 million Capital Improvement Project will see a state reimbursement rate of 98%, meaning the local coast would be about $1.7 million. But because voters approved a capital project reserve fund a few years ago, there is enough money in the fund to cover that local cost without the need to increase taxes.
Resident Doug Champ spoke up at the public hearing, questioning the amount of money being spent to renovate the 1935 structure that houses Jamestown High School, saying the district should be looking toward the future, “You could build a new high school at a $300 per square foot cost, and I don’t care what number you plug into it, for about $50 million give or take. You have the property at Jefferson, you have the stadium at Jefferson. The school in Jamestown, the location of that school, is eroded by the neighborhood that surrounds it.”
Superintendent Dr. Kevin Whitaker responded, saying the way funding works in New York State for districts does not favor the construction of new buildings. He says it does favor renovations to existing structures, “One of the things we have to make sure that we balance though is if we were to go in direction of new construction there’s a danger that we have a much higher local burden than we would otherwise if we renovate, expand, make an addition if necessary, so that’s one of the things.”
The vote on the 2021-22 School Budget, Capital Improvement Project, and School Board elections will be held on Tuesday, May 18th from 12 to 9pm at Jefferson Middle School, Lincoln Elementary, and Washington Middle School.
Jamestown Public School’s presentation on the Capital Improvement Project can be viewed here.