JAMESTOWN, NY (WNY News Now) — The Jamestown School Board heard the first revision of the district’s 2023-24 proposed budget on Tuesday night, totaling over $100 million dollars with no tax increase.
The proposed budget would create 26 new positions district wide, and provide some much needed upgrades to the city’s middle schools.
“We’re looking to focus on helping our students be successful, specifically around reading and literacy, ELA and English, and Mathematics,“ explained Superintendent Dr. Kevin Whitaker. “So we are looking to add support to students at the elementary level, at the middle school level, and at the high school level. In order for us to continue to address the gaps that have been created as a result of the pandemic, pandemic related shutdowns, and all of the associated things that everybody sees in the news.”
The 26 new positions would have a Math and ELA teacher at the middle schools and highschools, alongside two non-certified teachers. At the Elementary schools, there will only be two additional positions.
“You would have two full time teachers, one ELA certified, one Math certified, potentially special ed certified as well, with paraprofessionals,” stated Dr. Whitaker. “In a student support center environment, where students who are in need of AIS, which is Academic Intervention Services, can go and get that extra help needed in intervention in Math and ELA and continue to catch up while they’re not missing any of their regular classes. At the elementary level, it’s the same kind of model, except it’s focused on reading interventions.”
The school’s Director of Budget and Finance Brittany Spry presented the $2 million dollars that would be allocated for Capital projects, with the goal of fixing up the area’s three middle schools. Including a much needed heating system repairs at Persell Middle School.
“An estimated $400,000 dollars at Jefferson to replace the scoreboard sign and the exterior lighting,“ explained Spry. “About $125,000 over at Washington to do the nurses office renovation and the track. And then the balance which is about $1.475 at Persell, hopefully to replace the heating in those classrooms, and to renovate the track.”
There will also be money set aside in the Capital Budget to combat unforeseen obstacles, like the recent need to change the “Red Raider” mascot.
“Additionally as part of the Capital Budget, there is funding in there to continue with our equipment replacement, as well as additional funding in maintenance to address other areas district wide that may need some attention,“ stated Spry. “As well as some money earmarked to replace anything that may have Red Raiders on it.”
The Finance Director also suggested creating a new Capital Improvement Reserve Fund up to $5 million dollars to help stem the tide for taxpayers in future school endeavors. To create the Fund, voters would need to pass the initiative.
This was just a preliminary budget workshop for the School Board. A full vote will take place at the end of the month.