Jamestown Public Schools‘ proposed 2022-23 budget includes hiring 40 additional staff members and no tax levy increase.
District Director of Budgets and Finance Brittnay Spry presented the budget to the board of education at a workshop Tuesday. Total projected revenues come in at $94,030,000; with state aid making up the bulk of that at an anticipated amount of $75,680,000. That state aid amount is $4.8 million more than in the 2021-22 budget.
The 40 proposed positions include hiring 15 additional paraprofessionals, 3 social workers, 5 school counselors, 2 Community Navigators, 5 Teachers on Special Assignment (TOSA) or Dean of Students, 5 elementary reading teachers, and 5 academic intervention specialist (AIS) teachers. Spry said the total cost of the positions is $2,495,000. While $519,000 of that cost would come from American Rescue Plan or other federal funds, the rest would be funded under the regular budget.
School Superintendent Dr. Kevin Whitaker said he applied asterisks to 38 of the 40 proposed new budget vote positions, saying they are necessary due to what has happened in schools with the pandemic, “Meaning, that we have a crisis in literacy and reading. We have a crisis in mathematics. And we have extreme social emotional needs that is coming out kind of sideways in behavior related issues.”
Whitaker said adding these positions are a “drop in the bucket” with what the district actually needs, “What I’m hoping down the line, in the future, is that the result of the Maisto case, the Small Cities case, that was won against the state will provide us far greater resources in order to add far more AIS, reading, and support personnel.”
Finance Committee School Board Members Shelly Leathers and Pat Slagle echoed their agreement that more positions are needed in the district with Board member saying this is part of developing a five to ten year budget plan, “And along with that plan is hiring people to fill the gaps where they’re needed the most. And as Dr. Whitaker has pointed out, there’s some big needs out there right now. And as we fill those needs, as we fill those gaps, hopefully we can taper down over the next five to ten years. But we’re not rushing out to spend all this money in a short time frame. Right now, what we’re trying to do is put together a long-term plan so we can hire these people and keep them on board as long as we need them.”
The school board will vote on budget resolutions at its March 22 meeting with the budget vote coming before the public on Tuesday, May 17, 2022.