2022-23 district budget and capital proposition vote, school board election May 17

Greater Amsterdam School District residents will go to the polls on Tuesday, May 17, to vote on a proposed $86 million budget for the 2022-23 school year. Voting will be held from noon to 9 p.m. at various polling sites throughout the city.

The proposed budget totals $86,035,093 and represents an increase in spending of 8.48 percent or $6,724,474 over the current year spending plan. The budget, however, calls for no tax levy increase in 2022-23. A budget newsletter will be arriving in the mail prior to the vote. You may also visit the district’s Budget Page for more information.

The district was able to hold the line on the tax levy as a result of an enacted New York State budget that included for GASD:

  • A Foundation Aid Increase of $5,305,947 or 14.7 percent
  • An overall budget-to-budget revenue increase of $4,380,844 or 5.48 percent
  • An unanticipated aid increase by the state Legislature of more than $375,000 over the governor’s executive budget

Because the 0 percent increase is below the district’s state tax cap limit, the budget will need only a simple majority of votes to pass. GASD homeowners who qualify will also be eligible to earn a Property Tax Relief Credit this year because the budget is below the tax cap limit.

The proposed budget focuses on student-centered expenses, includes a significant increase in staffing and calls for maintaining all existing academic programming, extracurricular activities, student clubs, and athletics. It also includes new funding to support students’ social-emotional needs, family services and regaining learning losses due to COVID-19. Money is also being allocated for new maintenance equipment, safety improvements and instructional hardware and Chromebooks.

What’s in the 2022-23 district budget

  • The proposed budget focuses on student-centered expenses and calls for adding 15.56 (Full Time Equivalent) instructional positions district-wide for Academic Intervention Services, social work, Languages Other Than English, ISS, as well as others, a Director of Secondary Education and two Deans of Students, a Community and Parent Advocate, and 18.5 support staff positions.
  • Fully funds all extracurricular activities, student clubs like coding and eSports gaming, athletics and other student programs.
  • Increases services to address students’ social-emotional needs and mental health needs.
  • Adds BOCES services including alternative and Career Tech Education, I-Ready additions, a new Schoolzilla platform and a lease to provide 30 new work stations for the Art Department.
  • Includes funding to help bring CDTA public bus transportation to GASD students/families in the fall.
  • Includes facilities and maintenance upgrades such as the purchase of two, 30-passenger buses and a dump truck/plow, new classroom furniture and summer renovation projects needed at various buildings.
  • Increases technology support, IT network upgrades to protect district cybersecurity and equipment for students including the purchase of new Chromebooks.
  • Continues to raise private funds through the GASD Educational Foundation to help supplement educational programs and initiatives for students beyond the budget. The foundation awarded tuition scholarships this school year to eight students enrolled in the College in the High School program.

Capital Project Proposition

In addition to the district budget, voters will be asked on May 17 to approve the borrowing of $9.5 million towards a three-phase overall $19.5 million capital project improvement proposition. This will have no local share tax impact. The remainder of the $10 million cost would be paid for through federal COVID-19 recovery funding and district reserves.

The capital project calls for HVAC improvements to address aging infrastructure including improving air filtration and ventilation in each of the district’s school buildings to maintain the health and safety of students and staff. The improvements are in line with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state Education Department following the COVID-19 pandemic.

High level Merv-13 air filters would be installed across the district in existing air handling units capable of accepting the equipment. The upgraded filters can remove fine particulates and viruses from the air. Air handling units that are unable to accept the high-level air filters would be replaced.

Money from the capital project would also be used to:

  • Replace aging boilers at Lynch Literacy Academy and Amsterdam High School
  • Replace the water-cooled chiller unit at McNulty Academy with an air unit
  • Make traffic/safety improvements to the McNulty Academy parking/traffic loop and replace the school roof
  • Fund safety improvements to the Amsterdam High School vestibule area at the school entrance
  • New upgrades and retrofitting of a new High School Distance Learning lab

Board of Education Election

Three candidates are running for seats on the GASD Board of Education for new terms that begin July 1, 2022. The candidates are Lara Kulpa, JoMarie DiTata and Wendy Swezey.