All budget meetings are open to the public.
May 19, 2015—Glens Falls City School District residents approved the 2015-16 school budget today by a margin of 751 "yes" votes to 137 “no” votes – an 84.6 percent approval rate. The $39.7 million spending plan will increase the tax levy by 1.45 percent, and represents a budget-to-budget spending increase of $1,548,308, or approximately 4 percent. The approved, structurally-balanced budget builds upon the district’s current educational program with additions in technology, BOCES services, staffing, and operations/maintenance.
Timothy Graham and Kelly Culliton were elected to the Board of Education. Each will begin a five-year term on July 1, 2015, after receiving 599 and 560 votes, respectively. Candidates Jeffrey Flagg and Sara Montgomery received 204 and 430 votes, respectively.
Voters also approved a proposition to buy two new school buses to replace two of the oldest vehicles in the district’s fleet—one a 1998 model with 146,000 miles on it, and one a 1999 model with 198,000 miles on it. The proposition’s passage allows the district to spend no more than $230,000 to purchase the buses. Votes on the bus proposition were 700 for and 182 against.
“State-level politics made for a convoluted budget development process this year,” said Superintendent Paul Jenkins. “But in the end, the Legislature’s restoration of nearly $1.3 million of the district’s Gap Elimination Adjustment allowed us to grow our educational program to address specific student needs. We appreciate the efforts of Senator Betty Little and Assemblyman Dan Stec on our behalf. We also appreciate our community members’ support for Glens Falls City Schools, which includes everything from voting on the budget to attending performances, games, and events that showcase our students’ work.”
“Participation and input from district residents is so important to the success of our students,” echoed Board President Dr. Anna Poulos. “We’ve worked together as a school community, and it’s moving to see our vision for technology-enhanced learning coming to fruition after years of collective effort.”
Superintendent Paul Jenkins discussed the state budget passage and its implications for the GFSD 2015-16 budget in this interview with Jesse Jackson of LOOK-TV on Thursday, April 2, 2015:
April 21, 2015 – The Glens Falls City School District Board of Education has adopted a $39.7 million budget proposal for 2015-16 that continues all current programs and services, invests in the key area of education technology, and calls for a 1.45 percent tax levy increase for next year—well below the district's maximum allowable tax levy limit of 3.87 percent.
The community will consider the proposal on the May 19, the statewide school budget voting day. If approved by residents, district spending would increase by almost 4 percent over 2014-15 levels.
The spending plan was influenced most heavily by the New York State Legislature’s restoration of nearly $1.3 million in funding lost to the Gap Elimination Adjustment—a mechanism introduced in 2010 to reclaim part of every school district’s aid in order to balance the state budget as a whole. Since the GEA was introduced, Glens Falls students have missed out on nearly $13 million in state funding.
The 2015-16 plan builds upon the district’s current educational program with additions in technology, BOCES services, staffing, and operations/maintenance. Those investments—which include additional staff positions in psychology, elementary instruction (T.A.s), and technology, along with BOCES-aidable Chromebooks for students in grades 7-12, among other changes—make up most of the $1.5 million increase in year-over-year spending.
“Because of several years of careful resource management here in the district, and action by our legislators to mitigate the Gap Elimination Adjustment, we are able to present the school community with a structurally balanced budget for the first time in recent memory,” Mr. Jenkins said. “The Board of Education has been working towards this as a long-term goal.”
With the $1.29 million in GEA restoration, the district is “only” losing out on $728,640 of funding it should have gotten for 2015-16. “Still, this restoration is quite significant for us, and I thank everyone for participating in our multi-year advocacy efforts around the GEA,” said Mr. Jenkins.
Advocacy efforts to end the GEA have included annual “Stand Up for Upstate Schools” rallies, social media campaigns using the hashtag #StandUp4Upstate, signature-gathering efforts by Glens Falls PTA groups, and legislator phone-calling before the start of many district concerts and events. Superintendents across the region are hopeful for a complete end to the GEA within the next two state budget cycles.
The public vote on the school budget proposal will be held on Tuesday, May 19 at Sanford Street School from noon to 9 p.m. In addition to the budget, voters will also decide on one ballot proposition to purchase two school buses as part of the district’s vehicle replacement schedule.
Voters will also elect two candidates to serve on the Board of Education. Candidate nominating petitions are due on April 29.
A public hearing on the budget proposal will be held on May 6 at 7 p.m. at the district offices.
Presentation (PDF) available HERE
Presentation (PDF) available HERE
Presentation (PDF) available HERE
February 11, 2015 — All 31 school districts in the WSWHE BOCES have called on the Governor to release state aid runs immediately. "We know our residents care about their children, but they also care about how their schools are financed. The lack of aid runs is having a direct, negative impact on our ability to keep our residents involved in that financial process." Read the entire letter HERE.
This May, voters will have the opportunity to elect two community members to the Glens Falls City Schools Board of Education. If you are interested in running for the board, please pick up a board candidate nomination petition at the District Office. Petitions will be available in mid-March and are due to Clerk of the Board Amy Towers no later than Wednesday, April 29 at 5 p.m. Learn more about board member responsibilities and requirements HERE.
January 22, 2015 — The broader school community was still trying to determine state funding levels for education 36 hours after Governor Cuomo released his budget proposal for 2015-16 when they heard these words: "It's worse than that." They came from Robert Lowry, the deputy director of the New York State Council of School Superintendents, and went out to more than a thousand teachers, administrators, parents and other supporters of education who had gathered at Saratoga Springs High School to advocate for more equitable funding for schools in upstate New York. READ MORE
Although often referred to as a “2 percent tax cap,” New York’s new tax levy “cap” law does not restrict any proposed tax levy increase to 2 percent. Pursuant to the law, each school district must follow an 8-step calculation, outlined here, to calculate its individual “tax levy limit.” That limit then determines what level of voter support is required for budget approval.
The law's Allowable Growth Factor "2 percent" figure is actually calculated as "2 percent or the change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI), whichever is lower." Districts have been advised that the starting point for the tax levy cap calculation for the 2015-16 budget year will be 1.62%, because "the Average Annual Change in the CPIU for 2014 was 1.62%, making the Allowable Levy Growth Factor for the 2015-16 Tax Levy Limit 1.62%." [source: State Aid Planning]