Canajoharie voters approve $22.78 million budget; elect board member

Canajoharie Central School District voters approved the district’s 2018-19 budget proposal and elected a Board of Education member on May 15. The budget was approved by a margin of 182 yes, 65 no.

The $22.78 million budget maintains all current programs and services, and reflects a 4.09 percent year-to-year spending increase with a tax levy increase of 2 percent.

Voters elected Jennifer Field (163 votes) to the Canajoharie Board of Education. Field will serve a five-year term beginning July 1. Voters additionally approved a proposition to allow a student representative to sit on the Board of Education (184 votes). It was first approved in 2016 and must be reauthorized every two years.

“On behalf of the board of education and our school family, I want to thank our community for their continued support of the education of our children,” Superintendent of Schools Deborah Grimshaw said. “This budget supports our initial steps towards realizing our district vision: Every Learner, Together, World Ready.”

Savings generated by strategic efficiencies, a $248,000 decrease in debt service and an approximate $125,000 increase in state aid will allow the district to enhance its academic program in accordance with the new vision statement, while keeping the tax increase below the tax cap.

Program additions for next year’s budget include:

  • The creation of a full-time K-12 technology integration specialist position will serve as the grades 7-8 teacher librarian. The position will support Canajoharie in the implementation of its Smart Schools Investment Plan (SSIP). The first phase of the SSIP calls for a 1:1 computing initiative that will put a digital device in each student’s hands, and new interactive flat panel boards in classrooms. The SSIP is funded by the New York state Smart Schools Bond Act, with no impact on the district’s tax levy;
  • Keyboard/typing instruction at elementary level;
  • Expansion of a part-time art teacher position to full-time, with expanded offerings for students, such as an art history course;
  • Allocations for AP exam costs;
  • After-school busing so students can seek academic support and participate in extracurricular activities;
  • Transportation allocation for clubs/extracurricular activities, and
  • Expansion an account clerk/typist position to support the increased demands of payroll and benefits.

The majority of the year-to-year spending increase in the proposed budget accounts a transfer of $901,917 that will be put into a reserve fund to pay for the ongoing capital project that was approved by voters in 2017.

The first phase of the project includes the resurfacing of the track. If everything goes according to the plan, renovations would start this summer.

The proposed budget also reflects the first-time allocation of money for a capital outlay project. Capital outlay projects are smaller (up to $100,000 per year) projects that districts receive state aid for the following year. This year’s capital outlay project will be used for exterior door replacement at East Hill Elementary School.