School board adopts next year's budget


School board adopts next year's budget

The BOE will meet with County Commissioners Monday at noon. She said Johnstown's operational costs are growing faster than the district's tax revenues, which have prompted the district to craft a long-term plan that would include additional tax increases and possibly more program cuts. Some of them carried signs, including young Sam Tomcany, whose poster read, "I'm worth it!"

The proposed budget totals $35.75 million - a 5.46 percent increase from the 2017-18 adopted budget. She pointed out that the budget relies on real estate taxes, but that the county's tax base is shrinking and that 75 percent of the expenditures are mandatory.

Montclair High School social studies teacher Tom Manos, speaking on behalf of the Montclair Education Association, said the budget should focus more on student growth, advocating for reduced class sizes to allow greater gains in student achievement and recommending such a policy as being a proven way to narrow the achievement gap.

The budget includes no tax increase, leaving in place the current tax rates, per $100 of assessed value, of: 57.5 cents on real estate and mobile homes; $3.70 on automobiles, light trucks and motorcycles; $1.45 on boats; and $2.14 on other personal property, machinery and tools. "We want to add two family student advisors, a special education teacher and increase a part-time physical education teacher position to a full-time position".

Last year, MCPS signed a memorandum of understanding with Montgomery County Police to better coordinate with one another to help curb growing gang activity in schools. Additionally, teaching staff salaries are projected to be about $36.8 million, increasing by about $510,000 over the current year, DeVito said at the meeting.

"Just from my experience visiting nearly every high school and middle school, we have great security protocols and procedures on paper; I'm not sure that they are universally implemented", said Matt Post, student member of the Board of Education.

At the end of the process, after the budget was approved, Councilor McMahon thanked Superintendent Pinsak and members of the Board of Education for keeping the paraprofessionals, appreciating the extra "bang for the buck", and First Ward Councilor William Hurlock expressed his gratitude for an "exceptional job" in the preparation of the budget and said it had been an efficient and organized effort. She echoed her sentiments again this year.

"Toward the end we decided let's put some money in there and make sure we have something because obviously the situation doesn't go away, it's on everybody's mind", Moore told the Olean Times Herald after Tuesday's meeting.

Community member Angela Summers said the new superintendent should have a "fundamental appreciation of parental rights", including the ability to opt students out of state and federal assessments, and should work to keep local control over curriculum and student data.

As part of the reorganization, the board discussed committee assignments; specifically, discontinuing the Demuzio Center Committee, as the center is no longer shared with the city, and replacing it with a new Facilities Committee, to be made up of the board as a whole, as well as some community members, who have yet to be determined. The OCSD now has one SRO, Dan McGraw of the Olean Police Department, who is mostly based at Olean High School.

The school system needs "a person who cares about all students", she said. "None of us would continue to work anywhere if we felt we were not valued".

Paradis said that would be the case in a few years.

To vote, an individual must be a US citizen, 18 years old, a resident of the Roslyn School District for at least 30 days, and registered to vote in advance of election day.

Board member Evamarie Mraz said the Johnstown district has always been a "string" district. "It's about your children and grandchildren ... That would be 60 percent of taxpayers voting yes for the budget", Kilborn said.