JAMESTOWN – Jamestown Public School officials have approved a 2013-14 School Budget that includes no tax increase nor any layoffs of current staff. Tuesday night the Jamestown School Board unanimously approved the $75,370,000 spending plan after making some final adjustments per the recommendation of superintendent Daniel “Deke” Kathman and is administrative staff.
School officials had a difficult time crafting the budget, mostly due to a 6.65 percent decrease in total state aid. Much of that funding decrease comes by way of less building aid.
In February, Kathman and his staff told board members the shortage in building aid is due to the state’s funding cycle being different than the districts – so while the state is supposed to cover nearly the full cost of the district’s building debt for next year (over 98 percent), the actual funding it is set to receive is closer to only 75 percent of the cost.
As a result, officials faced the difficult challenge of crafting a budget that meets the needs of students without having to increase taxes, nor layoff any teachers. Officials were able to accomplish through a series of spending cuts – which included not filling several teacher and staff positions left vacant through attrition. That saved the district over $510,000. In addition, the district will hold off on paying some of its debt until the last minute, which helped to free up an additional $445,000. And by holding off on some equipment purchases, the officials were able to find another $418,000 in savings.
In all, the total spending plan is 1.86 percent lower than the current year’s budget.
The final spending plan will be available for review by the public at the district office and also online in the coming days. A public hearing on the budget will be May 14 at Persell School and the vote will be May 21.