The Jamestown School Board unanimously approved an $89,879,000 spending plan for the 2021-2022 school year. The plan includes no tax increase.
District Director of Budgets and Finance Brittnay Spry said New York State Aid will account for $70,104,000 of the budget with monies from the Federal government being reclassified,
“We will now be seeing the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act Funds and the American Rescue Plan Act Funds flow through the special aid fund rather through the general aid fund as we had originally anticipated for that to go through there.”
Dr. Kevin Whitaker said this budget represents a focus on kids,
“Both in program and in support for mental health and some of the struggles that all of our students will face when they return to school, whether that’s in the Spring and certainly in the Fall. I’m just grateful that the board has committed so much time to this in terms of the Budget Finance committee, so many questions along the way, and we’ve come to a place where we’re all in agreement with moving forward at this moment.”
School Board President Paul Abbott said this was the most complex budget the board has dealt with and that prior to the influx of state and federal aid, things had looked very dire,
“We were all laboring over that and then the view has improved a little bit, but I know still a lot of work went into it and I know a lot of discussion went into it. So I want to thank everyone for their efforts in putting this budget together and I’m encouraged by it. I like that it has plans for the future and we are looking beyond just the 2021-22 budget.”
The budget includes the new position of a community navigator, which Whitaker says will help provide a connection between the district and Latino population as it relates to the technical aspects of schooling,
“How many credits do I need? What programs should I be making sure my child gets in? What are the testing requirements? Are there any issues with my student? How do I resolve whatever it is? And now they have a person, or they will have a person, who has some credibility within the community, some trust within the community, and is a native Spanish speaker.”
Other highlights of the proposed budget include 2 new school psychologists, an increase in contracted social workers, a reading and literacy coordinator, music equipment, music travel, athletic equipment and uniforms, and technology equipment.
A public hearing on the budget will be held on May 11th at Persell Middle School. The School Budget and Capital Improvement Project Vote and School Board elections will be held on Tuesday, May 18th.