A public vote on the proposed 2023-24 district budget will be held on Tuesday, May 16 at various polling locations throughout the city. The GASD Board of Education adopted the $91.4 million proposed budget on April 19.
View our Budget Page for complete information or check your mail for an informational newsletter on the budget coming soon.
The proposed spending plan totals $91,421,980 and represents an increase of 6.26 percent or $5,386,887 over the current year budget. The budget, however, calls for no tax levy increase in 2023-24.
The district was able to hold the line on the tax levy because of a nearly $8 million increase in Foundation Aid in the New York State budget for the 2023-24 school year. The receipt of Federal American Recovery funds has helped the district maintain the 0% tax levy increase for the third year in a row.
Because the 0 percent tax levy 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 2023-24 budget focuses on student centered expenses and calls for maintaining all current staffing levels (as well as new positions) and existing academic programming, extracurricular activities, student clubs and athletics. It also includes continued funding to support students’ social-emotional needs and family services. Money is also being allocated for new maintenance and office equipment, high school gym renovations, scheduled school bus replacements, new instructional computers for the classrooms, an upgraded district website and new eSports opportunities for students. (See below for more.)
Technology Capital Reserve Fund Proposition
Voters will also be asked on May 16 to consider a proposition authorizing the establishing a Technology Capital Reserve Fund not to exceed $5 million for the acquisition and installation of new technology equipment and technology infrastructure improvements within the school district.
This fund would allow the district to set aside money over a period not to exceed 10 years, much like a savings account, from the district’s current unreserved fund balance (funds remaining at the end of the budget cycles). The district has earmarked some of these funds to make needed technology upgrades and replacements for 1:1 devices for students due to quick obsolescence now and in the future.
Why establish a reserve fund?
A designated reserve fund is one way New York state allows school districts to set aside money and plan ahead for future projects such as technology improvements and capital upgrades or other allowable purchases under NYS Education Law &3651. Reserve fund accounts are fiscally prudent because they can reduce the need for districts to borrow money and incur new debt while still maximizing state aid. GASD voters approved a similar Reserve Fund in 2021 earmarked for capital improvements.
Establishing a Capital Reserve Fund using GASD’s fund balance will not increase property taxes because the money already exists and, therefore, does not need to be collected through taxes. It is also a way for the district to maximize state aid while making technology improvements without the need to borrow and incur new debt for local taxpayers.
What’s in the 2023-24 district budget?
- The proposed budget focuses on students-centered expenses and calls for the addition of 30-plus more instructional, administrative and support positions. It maintains all current staffing levels and existing academic programming while taking into account funding for known and anticipated staff vacancies in 2023-24.
- Funds extracurricular activities, student clubs like coding and gaming, athletics, and other student programs.
- Continues services to address students’ social-emotional and mental health needs.
- Increases staffing for additional academic support, after school tutoring, Alternative Education at Lynch Literacy Academy, Work Based Learning opportunities, Distance Learning, new high school eSports and Advanced Placement courses, Young Scholars, new BOCES Career & Technical Education placements, social workers, Special Education programming and professional development for teachers and staff.
- Supports additional Instructional Technology staffing, technology maintenance contracts, and a modernized GASD website through Apptegy. Also includes equipment upgrades and $200,000 in ClearTouch display retrofit purchases for the classrooms.
- $925,000 for high school gym renovations including a new gym floor, bleachers, and basketball hoops.
- Invests in district facilities and transportation with the purchase two new school buses under the district’s annual replace schedule of older buses (eligible for state aid), and $241,000 in funding to replace an outdated tractor (1969) and a rotary mower to maintain district athletic fields and grounds.