2019-20 School Budget Proposal Carries a 0% Tax Levy Increase

Voting polls open at noon on Tuesday, May 21

Greater Amsterdam School District residents will go to the polls on Tuesday, May 21 from noon to 9 p.m. to vote on a $77,202,687 proposed budget for the 2019-20 school year. For the fourth consecutive year, the budget proposal maintains a 0 percent tax levy increase and also remains below the district’s tax levy cap.

The proposed budget increases spending by 5.87 percent, or $4,283,863 over the current year’s budget. Along with preserving all existing programming and maintaining low class sizes at GASD, the proposed spending plan also includes funding for new and expanded academic offerings. (See “What’s included in the budget?” below.)

“Our goal when developing the 2019-20 budget was to continue to provide our students with high-quality academic programming, support services, and opportunities that prepare them for their future while also minimizing the impact on taxpayers,” explains Business Manager Kim Brumley. “This goal is directly aligned with the district’s Theory of Action which, at its core, aims to ensure we create an academic environment that is inclusive to students of all abilities.”

If approved by voters, the tax levy will not change, staying at $20,875,122. State aid would fund 64.2 percent of GASD’s proposed $77.20 million budget while local property taxes would support about 26.6 percent.

The proposed budget also includes $256,000 to purchase three new buses (one 20-passenger, one 30-passenger and one 60-passenger) to replace the district’s oldest buses, and a separate proposition to create a Bus Reserve Fund (see below). “Rather than borrow funds and incur new debt, we are including the annual purchase of buses directly in the general budget this year,” explains Brumley. “When buying new buses in the future, we anticipate using a Bus Reserve Fund, which is essentially like a savings account and wouldn’t impact local taxes.”

The district anticipates being reimbursed approximately 90 percent of the cost of the buses through state transportation aid in subsequent years, resulting in a net local cost of approximately $25,600.

What’s included in the proposed budget?

Next school year’s budget will support:

  • Expanding the high school’s early college program, P-TECH/Pathways to include grade 10. P-TECH/Pathways connects AHS students to graduation through project-based learning. Students take college-level, credit-bearing courses to prepare them for their post-graduation plans. They can choose from cybersecurity, education and human services pathway, and fine arts courses.
  • Adding two new high school programs, Respite and Twilight, that are focused on providing the appropriate academic and social/emotional supports and services to help at-risk students meet their academic goals and state requirements needed to graduate from high school.
  • Adding new staff based on student needs and enrollment, including: another social worker at the high school, a guidance counselor to provide services for all four additional elementary schools, a school psychologist, two special education teachers, four additional P-TECH/Pathways teachers, and six non-instructional staff (four teacher aides and two custodians).
  • New maintenance and grounds equipment to replace some of the district’s oldest equipment that has long exceeded warranties, undergone many repairs, and is no longer in proper working order.
  • Improvements to the concessions building and bathrooms at the Lynch Middle School turf field, including modifications to meet ADA-accessibility standards.

Proposition #2: Bus Reserve Fund

In addition to the 2019-20 School Budget proposition, voters will be asked to consider a proposition to establish a Bus Reserve Fund in the amount of $1 million for future bus purchases. The Bus Reserve Fund would allow the  district to set aside money, much like a savings account, from the district’s current unreserved fund balance (funds remaining at the end of budget  cycles). If approved, the Bus Reserve Fund will be earmarked to purchase new buses to replace some of the district’s oldest buses that have already accumulated high mileage, exceeded their warranties, and undergone many maintenance repairs. Beyond certain limits, buses typically become too costly  to maintain given the state’s stringent safety codes. To keep GASD’s buses in safe working order, the Board of Education will adhere to a long-term Bus Replacement Plan (approximately 10 years) that relies upon the Bus Reserve Fund to purchase buses.

Why set up a Reserve Fund? Will a Bus Reserve Fund raise my taxes?

A designated Reserve Fund is one way New York state allows school districts to set aside money for future projects (new construction, infrastructure repair, etc.) or other allowable purchases (buses, equipment, etc.) Reserve Funds can be fiscally prudent because they can reduce the need for districts to borrow money and incur new debt while still maximizing state aid. A Reserve Fund, however, cannot be established or spent down without voter approval (see proposition #2 above). Establishing a Bus Reserve Fund using GASD’s fund balance will not increase residents’ taxes because the money already exists and, therefore, does not need to be collected through taxes.

Residents will also elect candidates to fill three open seats on the Board of Education

Two seats are currently held by board members John J. Bottisti and Curtis Peninger and are three-year terms that begin on July 1, 2019. There is also a vacancy that has been created by the resignation of current board member Jacqueline Marciniak. 

Who can vote on Tuesday, May 21?

Voter Eligibility: You may vote if you are 18 years old, a U.S. citizen, a district resident for at least 30 days prior to May 21, 2019, and a registered voter. To register, call the County Board of Elections at (518) 853-8180.

Absentee Ballots: Absentee ballots are available to anyone who will be out of the area for work, school or vacation; hospitalized; permanently disabled; or confined to home due to illness. Absentee ballots will be counted if returned to the Clerk of the Board no later than 5 p.m. on election day.

For absentee ballot applications, or if you are unsure of your polling site, please contact the district clerk at (518) 843-3180, ext. 7801. Visit www.gasd.org for more information.

2019-2020 El presupuesto escolar contiene 0% de aumento de recaudación impuestos

Votaciones abren al mediodía el 21 de mayo

Los residentes del Distrito Escolar de Amsterdam votarán por el presupuesto escolar 2019-20 de $77,202,687 dolares desde el mediodía hasta la 9:00 p.m. el 21 de mayo. Por el cuarto año consecutivo, el presupuesto escolar mantiene 0% de aumento de recaudación de impuestos para los residentes del distrito.

El presupuesto tiene de diferencia de aumento 5.87% o $4,283,863 dólares comparativamente a este año escolar. Se mantendrán todos los programas escolares y tamaños de clases de GASD al igual que se expandirán programas existentes y se crearán programas nuevos con este presupuesto.

“Nuestra meta con el presupuesto 2019-20 fue de continuar los programas exitosos para nuestros estudiantes y continuar los servicios que benefician a nuestros estudiantes”, explica la Directora de Finanzas, Kim Brumley. Esta meta está alineada con nuestra Teoría de Acción del distrito, el cual enfatiza crear el ambiente académico inclusivo para estudiantes de todas habilidades.

Si aprobado por lo votantes, la recaudación de impuestos no cambiará, quedándose en $256,000 dólares. Dólares del gobierno estatal apoyará al presupuesto con fondos para cubrir 64.2% del presupuesto general de $77.20 millones de dólares, con impuestos existentes cubriendo el 26.6% del resupuesto.

El presupuesto escolar también incluye $20,875,122 dolares para comprar tres autobuses escolares nuevas (una de 20 pasajeros, una de 30 pasajeros y una de 60 pasajeros) para reemplazar autobuses existentes. También se le pedirá a los votantes que aprueben una propuesta separada Propuesta: de Reserva de Autobús. “En vez de coger prestado dinero y tener más deuda, estamos comprando los autobuses con el presupuesto general y en el futuro cuando se necesiten autobuses, usaremos el dinero que estamos pidiendo poner en reserva. Esta reserva será como una cuenta de ahorros,” explica Kim Brumley.

El distrito anticipa siendo reembolsado 90% del costo de los autobuses por el fondo de ayuda estatal del gobierno. Esto indica que el costo de comprar estos tres autobuses seria $25,600 dólares después del reembolso.

Qué está incluido en el presupuesto escolar?

El presupuesto escolar apoyara:

  • Expandiendo el programa P-TECH y Pathways para incluir el grado 10. GASD P-TECH y Pathways conectan al estudiante con proyectos de descubrimiento en el aprendizaje. Estudiantes toman cursos de universidad para así ayudarlos con sus planes post-graduación. Pueden escoger cursos de ciberseguridad, desarrollo del niño y las artes.
  • Añadiendo dos programas en AHS, Respite and Twilight, programas enfocados en apoyando al estudiante con servicios académicos y emocionales para así asegurarnos que se graduen exitosamente de AHS.
  • Añadiendo maestros donde se necesiten basados en programa: una trabajadora social para AHS, una consejera compartida por las cuatro escuelas elementales; un sicólogo, dos maestras de educación especial; cuatro maestros adicionales para PTECH/Pathways, cuatro maestros ayudantes y dos conserjes.
  • Equipo nuevo de mantenimiento para reemplazar equipo viejo y que no funciona.
  • Mejoras a los baños y área de comida de campo deportivo de Lynch.

Propuesta #2: Fondo de Reserva deAutobús

En adición a la propuesta de Presupuesto del Distrito del 2019-20, los  otantes tendrán la oportunidad de aprobar estableciendo un fondo de reserva de  autobús en la cantidad por un millón de dólares para asi poder comprar  autobuses cuando sean necesario. Este fondo será como una cuenta de ahorros, y el dinero vendrá del fondo de reserva del distrito. Si aprobado, el Fondo de Reserva de Autobús se usará para comprar autobuses nuevos que reemplazarán los autobuses viejos. Los autobuses viejos tienen mucho millaje y mecánicamente siguen rompiéndose. Bajo la reglas de seguridad del estado, los autobuses tienen que ser reemplazado cuando llegan a ciertos límites. Para asegurarnos de tener fondos para comprar los autobuses, este fondo será activado por diez años.

Por qué tener un Fondo de Reserva? Este Fondo de Reserva de Autobús subirá mis impuestos?

Designar un Fondo de Reserva es una manera,autorizada por el EStado de
Nueva York, donde los distritos escolares pueden guardar dinero para proyectos futuros (construcción nueva, reparaciones de edificios, etc.) o para hacer compras (autobuses, equipo, etc). Fondos de Reserva ayudan a que distritos no tengan que hacer préstamos en momentos de necesidad. Para establecer un Fondo de Reserva se necesita el permiso de los votantes (Propuesta #2). Estableciendo el Fondo de Reserva utilizando el dinero del distrito de reserva no subirá los impuestos para los residentes.