G’town adopts $14.7 schools budget for May 17 vote

GERMANTOWN—The Board of Education of the Germantown Central School District unanimously approved a spending plan of $14,784,810 for 2016-17 school year at their April 13 meeting.

Superintendent Susan Brown reported at that meeting that revenues for fiscal upcoming year would be $13,984,210.

The tax levy cap was raised to .64%, which increased the anticipated revenue. Nevertheless, the district came in $800,600 below of the state-required balanced budget and plans to withdraw that amount from the unreserved fund balance.

At this time, the unreserved fund balance is projected to be just over $2 million. The exact figure will be known at the end of the current fiscal year in June.

The original gap between revenue and spending was $1.1 million. Increases in state aid and other income reduced it to $956,600. The $800,600 figure was reached after 30 minutes of line-by-line cuts by the board.

The board agreed to postpone the gym floor restoration, saving $100,000, and to withdraw $20,000 in support of the GED program. Three planned retirements also put $36,000 back into the district’s


A possible $73,000 in transportation costs for one student to attend the P-tech (Pathways in Technology) program in Malta divided the vote; board members Andrea Proven and Donald Coons balked at the cost, and the other five board members decided, despite reservations, to support and encourage all students, including the brightest and most ambitious.

Board President Tammi Kellenbenz noted that the student had already committed two summers to the program, transported by her parents. “If she goes up there and decides she doesn’t want to do it, then we haven’t spent the money,” she added.

Ms. Provan and Mr. Coons voted in favor of the final budget.

The Public Hearing on the 20016-17 budget is Wednesday, May 4 at 6:30 p.m., at the school, 123 Main Street. From May 4 to 11, budget notices will be mailed to all district residents.

On Tuesday, May 17, voters enrolled in the district will vote the budget up or down and also elect two Board of Education members from three candidates. Three men filed the required number of voter signatures by the April 18 deadline: incumbent Ralph DelPozzo, Lester Olsson and George Sharpe Sr.

In other business, the board:

• Learned that the district has $425,755 from the Smart Schools Bond Investment Plan, to be used over four years. The board unanimously approved “immediate needs” spending. This includes $28,000 for 160 Texas Instruments calculators (and chargers) to replace eight-year-old calculators.

The calculators are for all students in ninth grade and up. New York State requires students to use graphing calculators. The students sign a contract; if they lose or break the calculator, they must pay for it

• The board also approved $69,978 for new, “indestructible” iPad tablets, starting with grade 6. Keyboards for them will be purchased later

• After board approval, the Smart Schools plan is on the district website (germatowncsd.org) for 30 days, during which the public can comment. A Public Hearing will be scheduled in May. The goal is to complete the purchase process in June and have the new equipment in the school by September.

The school already has Wi-Fi, and the budget includes teacher training on the equipment.

All board members and an audience of 18 attended the meeting.

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