No longer hording cash, GCSD gives voters a say

GERMANTOWN—The school district holds a Special District Vote Monday, June 23 from noon to 9 p.m. Voting takes place in the school lobby, 123 Main Street.

Proposition I establishes a capital reserve fund of $500,000. The money would be transferred to the fund from an unassigned fund balance for the 2013-14 school year.

Money in the new fund would be reserved for future capital improvements as deemed necessary by the Board of Education. The name of the fund is “District-wide Renovations, Reconstruction, Construction and Improvement Reserve Fund.”

Additional amounts as available in the future may be transferred from unspent unassigned appropriations in the general fund to this reserve fund, to a cap of $5 million over 10 years.

The state allows school districts to have 4% of their total budget in an unassigned reserve fund. Last December the Germantown Central School District was discovered to have 19% of its budget– $2.5 million–set aside for unspecified purposes.

The current, $13.8 million district budget uses $719,117 from the unassigned reserve fund to keep the tax levy to zero. And in May voters approved a $510,792 capital improvements project, all of which will be paid for from the unassigned fund balance.

Now Superintendent Susan L.S. Brown urges all qualified voters in the district to vote on June 23. “We created a corrective action plan,” she said, “and one of the items was to insure that [assigned] reserve funds are set up, by regulation.” Ms. Brown, who took her post on September 1, 2013, was not superintendent when the unassigned reserve was amassed.

In other business during the June 11 Board of Education meeting, Ms. Brown reported on the status of the Pre-Kindergarten Pilot Program. She has formed a committee of volunteers who will visit existing pre-K programs and develop and implement a survey for the entire school community. The committee visited two schools in Kingston on June 16, St. Joseph’s and George Washington Elementary School.

Based on their visits and the survey, this group will make recommendations to the administration for all the logistics of the pilot program.

A curriculum-writing group will begin work to develop a curriculum resource list and instructional methods for the pilot program. This is a stipend position appointed from the school faculty.

“Germantown is determined to implement a pilot program that meets the needs of students and community and prepares children for kindergarten and lifelong learning,” Ms. Brown said Tuesday. “For that reason, the start date of the pilot program is yet to be determined.”

 

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