Proposed 2019-20 Budget builds program, carries 0.55% spending increase

Building on strategic efforts to boost the rigor and relevance of Glens Falls’ educational program, the Board of Education has adopted a $44.5 million budget proposal for the 2019-20 school year that enhances current programs and services, expands student access to educational technology, and stays within the property tax cap.

If approved by the voters on Tuesday, May 21, the spending plan would increase the tax levy by 2.56 percent, which is the district’s maximum allowable without a supermajority vote. The proposed budget would increase spending by $244,162, or 0.55 percent over the current year. Voting takes place from noon to 9 p.m. in the Sanford Street School gym.

The financial framework outlined for 2019-20 would support the educational program by:

  • Adding an Assistant Principal position at the Middle School
  • Adding the School Resource Officer position
  • Adding an Elementary School Counselor
  • Adding an additional Kindergarten position
  • Adding a social-emotional/academic support position at the Middle School

“We have been steadily shifting the culture of learning in Glens Falls to be more responsive to the inquiries our students bring into the learning environment, and the social-emotional challenges that come in the door with them,” said Superintendent Paul Jenkins. “This budget plan would provide much-needed additional supports for our students so they are ready to learn when they walk into the classroom.

“Relationships that students have—both with their educators and within their school-home community—underpin our entire rigor-relevance framework,” Mr. Jenkins continued. “Our continued success depends on seeing and supporting the whole child.”

“We know we’ll be able to support the quality programs we’ve already built, and address the expanding needs of our students,” said Assistant Superintendent for
Business Bobby Yusko. “And the district is in a position to do this with a very slight increase in spending, year over year. Overall, I think it’s a good spending plan that we’re putting out.”

The budget proposal builds upon several key initiatives already underway across each of Glens Falls’ schools:

Continued expansion of the District’s 1-to-1 Chromebook initiative

During the 2018-19 school year, the District completed the next phase of our Chromebook initiative by purchasing devices to provide a one-to-one environment in the third and fourth-grades. Every student in grades 3—6 now has his or her own Chromebook to be used during the school day. The grades 3 and 4 expansion builds upon our one-to-one initiative that already provides individual, “take-home” Chromebooks for each student in grades 7—12. It has been a multi-year vision of the Superintendent, and goal of the Board of Education, to provide resources for a transformative learning environment, and the Chromebook initiative has been a key component of that effort.

Phase 2 of STEAM and Safety Capital Project renovations

The District’s 2017 Science-Technology-Engineering-Arts-Math (or STEAM) capital project is on track to be completed by the end of 2019. The project had been divided into two phases, with the bulk of repairs and equipment replacements happening in the summer of 2018. The summer of 2019 will bring gym floor replacements at Big Cross and the High School, construction of the elementary drop-off areas at Jackson Heights and Kensington, and completion of the High School’s 21st Century learning space within our third floor science wing.

Transformation of more classroom learning environments

In concert with the large-scale renovations of our library media centers (2012 capital project), and the 21st Century learning space at the High School, the District is committed to transforming more and more individual classroom learning environments to better meet the needs of today’s students. “We’re doing this by providing resources for moveable furniture, along with dedicated professional development, that provides a more engaging space and student-centered format for our learners,” says Mr. Jenkins.

The budget was Board of Education-approved in April after an open process that included several work sessions throughout the school year. Materials from the Board’s audit and finance committee meetings are available online at www.gfsd.org, under “About Us -> School Budget.”