By Elyana Schosek
Residents of the Springville-Griffith Institute school district will have the opportunity to vote on a $42 million budget with a 2.5 percent increase to the tax levy during the district’s annual budget vote next week.
The proposed 2019-20 budget includes a $3.2 million increase in spending compared to the current school year’s budget, a roughly 2.44 percent increase.
On May 7, the SGI Board of Education met for their monthly meeting, during which they held a public hearing on the budget.
District Superintendent Kimberly Moritz discussed an overview of the school’s budget for the coming year with the help of Maureen Lee, the school business administrator.
The budget is broken down into three parts, the first of these being administrative components. These include the management of the district.
Moritz highlighted a reduction to the Board of Education in comparison to last year. They had previously budgeted for policy updates here which have now been moved under the BOCES budget where they felt it was a better fit.
Seeing as they are going into negotiations with labor unions, there has been an increase in budget lines to cover an attorney coming in from BOCES Legal to make negotiations with Mrs. Moritz.
Moritz noted that there appears to be a big increase in technology and data. This is a result of the “Raptor system.” All schools in the district have this. It forces staff to badge into the buildings and others to buzz in. All this is done with the help of a database to ensure the safety of the students.
Next year, the district will also be converting from eSchool to PowerSchool, both of which are student data management systems used to keep track of students’ grades that can be accessed by students, parents, teachers and principals. For one year, the district has to carry both, which accounts for the cost increase. They determined that PowerSchool was more convenient for all parties.
For one year, the district is planning to not replace the SMS librarian. The position will be left open due to a retiree. Instead, they are choosing to staff the position with a teaching assistant.
In the future, the district would like to change the space to be more useful for teachers and students. While there is still more work to be done this summer as part of the capital project, they plan on using any money left over on the Springville Middle School library program. Until the work on the capital project is completed, they must keep money there in case something goes awry.
Moritz noted an increase in the athletic budget. This is due to the addition of a JV Girls Lacrosse team and a trap team coach along with contractual increases. Transportation increase are largely just contractual increases in employee salaries and benefits.
The district also “reduced all supply lines across the board in an effort to make sure that we don’t continue to grow this budget at an exponential rate,” said Moritz.
The third part of the budget is capital components, which result in the biggest variances.
This year there were fewer retirements than in the past with only two teachers and one teaching assistant retiring. The district is also identifying possible ways to save in health insurance costs in the future.
The most significant reason for increase is debt service. The majority of the money to cover the debt service is being taken from other areas that they could afford to take from.
Looking forward to the next capital project, given the will of the taxpayers, the superintendent would like to do something with the instructional spaces for the students in years to come. She noted that there are spaces within the schools that still look like it’s 1972.
The tax rate for the Springville area for next year is $16.71 per $1,000 of assessed value.
On May 21, the board invites people in the community to vote on the budget and the vacancies on the board.
A complete overview of the budget can be found on the SGI District website at www.springvillegi.org.
ALSO ON THE ballot Tuesday will be the election of two school board members to two vacant three-year seats.
Incumbent Allison Duwe, who has been on the board for six years and president for five, is running for her third term.
“I remain committed to the issues that I first ran on. Namely, doing better things for the kids, including measuring what matters rather what is easiest to measure,” Duwe said in the district’s newsletter.
Newcomer Jenna Kellerman, a Springville native and 2003 SGI graduate, is running for the seat that will be vacated by Elizabeth Casey on June 30.
“I am passionate about the future of our town and our schools, and want to help our children get the most out of their public education,” Kellerman said in the district newsletter.
A proposition for the purchase of buses at the district is also on the ballot.
The annual budget vote is scheduled for Tuesday, May 21 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the high school library media center, Colden Elementary School and Collins Center Fire Hall.