Gloversville district weighs budget

GLOVERSVILLE – The Board of Education is reviewing a proposed 2014-15 budget, which totals $62.4 million and includes a spending increase of $3.9 million, or 6.6 percent, over the current budget.

Despite the spending increase, Gloversville Enlarged School District administrators said they are aware of the board’s directive to stay around the 2 percent tax-levy cap. They said they will have a better idea of where the tax levy stands at the next board meeting, when they will look at expected revenue.

“We are trying to find a balance,” Superintendent Michael Vanyo said. “I have direction from the board to stay within that cap.”

The spending increase includes several additions and changes in the district for the coming school year.

The most noticeable change would be a longer schedule for incoming freshmen in math and social studies.

Vanyo said the increase in class time would require two more teachers. The students’ class time would be extended to 60 minutes rather than the current 40 minutes.

He said the district also would increase the pay for substitute teachers so it’s more competitive with the other districts.

The district wants to offer more college-level courses as well as more support services.

The district wants to offer an additional Odyssey of the Mind team at the elementary school level and offer intramural programs in fifth and sixth grades.

“Those students aren’t able to participate in modified or high school sports, and we only have some community things, but by having these after-school activities for students during the year which will require them to be both here in school and have their work done to participate, it will be positive for the district,” Vanyo said.

The instructional side of the budget is $28.7 million for 2014-15, with an increase of $1.2 million, or 4.4 percent, according to meeting documents.

Just over 68 percent of the instructional side of the budget is salary expenses, while about 21 percent is the cost of Board of Cooperative Educational services, according to documents.

The instructional budget includes curriculum development, administrative and improvement, teaching within the district buildings, special programs, instructional media and pupil personnel services.

Information provided by the district shows the largest spending increase within the instructional side of the budget is teaching. The cost is 7.1 percent over the current year.

Pupil personnel costs will increase by 5.3 percent.

In the teaching side of the budget, the largest increase will come in BOCES services. They are expected to cost $830,066 in 2014-15, which is a 72.4 percent increase over 2013-14, according to meeting documents.

Vanyo said the district will use more occupational and alternative-education services through BOCES in the coming budget.

According to information provided by the district, the administrative costs in 2014-15 would be $4.8 million, up $17,268 over 2013-14; the program costs would be $41.4 million, up $2.4 million; and capital costs would be $16.3 million, up $1.5 million.

“Our hopes are that our revenues will be able to offset the budget piece so that we can stay within that 2 percent cap we are looking at,” Vanyo said. “We are not going to come out and tax people to death, so we are going to find a balance.”

At the next meeting, March 25, the board will look at projected revenues.

The board will hold a public hearing on the budget May 6. The budget vote will be held May 20.

Levi Pascher can be reached at lpascher@leaderherald.com.