JAMESTOWN – Residents in Jamestown will vote on the district’s $86.23 million 2018-19 budget when the school polls open at noon Tuesday.
In addition to the budget plan – which includes no tax increase – voters will also act on two propositions along with selecting two candidates to serve on the school board.
In a recent interview with WRFA, school superintendent Bret Apthorpe said the proposed budget doesn’t include any major overhauls to programming, but does set the stage for big things to come in the 2019-20 school year.
“The board has really looked at a multi-year picture. Their goal is improving student achievement and they recognize the symbiotic relationship between fiscal health and instructional health,” Apthorpe said. “So what this budget really allows us to do is give us some space financially, while we’re working with our community partners on three big initiatives for 2019-20 the following year.”
Those three initiatives include developing a success academy at Rogers school, a summer literacy program for students in grades K through 4, and adjusting program to help better meet the needs of local manufacturers and trades, which are having a hard time finding skilled employees.
Apthorpe also said that the primary focus of the 2018-19 budget is to address the district’s debt, which takes up more than 10 percent of the budget. Ideally, he says the debt service should be closer to three percent of total spending.
“I call it a community fund because voters have to approve its creation and also have to approve the release of the money when the time comes,” Apthorpe said. “The setup of this fund is by us putting in $2 million in cash, we’ll be eligible for $98 million of aid [from New York State]. So in a sense, for the next ten years we could do $100 million of repair and maintenance to our school buildings and not have to borrow.”
A second proposition deals with allowing a senior from the high school to serve as a non-voting member of the school board.
Voters will also elect two Board of Education members, each to serve three-year terms beginning on July 1, 2018.
There are three candidates on the ballot: newcomer Brianne Fadale along with incumbent board members Daniel Johnson and Nina Karbacka.
The polls in the Jamestown School district will be open from noon to 9 p.m..