JAMESTOWN – The Jamestown School Board spent time Tuesday night reviewing the numbers for the 2017-18 budget.
The proposed expenditures the tentative $83.9 million spending plan would include $56.8 million for Salary and Benefits, $10.7 million for debt service, $8.4 million for BOCES Services, and $1.4 million for utilities. The remaining $6.5 million would cover other expenses associated with operating the district.
For the current year, the projected spending would equal $76.8 million, with $52.9 million going toward Salary and Benefits, $9.5 million going toward debt service, $7.0 million going toward BOCES, and $1.4 toward utilities.
The tentative budget numbers for next year is projected to be a $7.1 million increase from the current year. However, school finance director Vern Connors says more than half of that increase is due to construction projects in the district and also at BOCES, which would be offset by additional state aid. For the current year, the district received $61.5 million in total state aid. Next year’s aid total is expected to be at least $65.2 million, although that could be higher depending on how the final state budget shakes out.
The district’s tentative budget for next year would have no tax increase for local property owners.
With additional state aid expected to be coming into the district, along with an anticipated surplus from the current year, interim superintendent Sylvia Root suggested the district add a total of eight teacher and staffing positions. She said that due to student population in some grades, the district should add two full-time elementary teachers, an elementary music teacher, two teachers and two paraprofessionals for Speakers of Other Languages, along with a school psychologist.
The addition of eight positions is a change of course to what the district has endured during the past several years. Starting in the 2009-10 school year and continuing through 2015-16, the district cut a total of 110.5 positions, including 59 teacher positions.
The board hopes to finalize the budget in the coming weeks, once a new state budget has been approved in Albany and the final state aid numbers are known.