By Ashley M. Casey
The Fulton City School District Board of Education approved the fourth and final draft of the 2014-2015 district budget at its April 23 meeting.
The final budget totals $67,357,685, up 3.22 percent from the 2013-14 budget of $65,259,100.
The proposed tax levy — the amount to be raised by taxes — is $20,142,125, a 1 percent increase from the previous year’s budget. Actual tax rates will be calculated in the summer.
Not included in the total budget amount is a $60,000 proposition to buy two vehicles.
If the proposed budget is defeated twice by voters, the district goes to a contingency budget of $66,871,685. The tax levy would be $19,942,698, the 2013-14 amount.
The contingency budget would remove $30,000 in equipment and would eliminate the restoration of $25,000 to the athletic program, three elementary teaching positions, and the proposed $35,000 for an elementary mental health clinician.
• Director of Instructional Assessment Betsy Conners said the district is applying for several STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) grants for the middle and high school grades.
One such grant would allow seventh- and eighth-grade teachers to participate in a three-day professional development opportunity through BOCES in August. Conners said the interdisciplinary approach of STEM is becoming increasingly important to skilled jobs. The district will hear back about the grant in May.
• Director of Student Support Programs Geri Geitner introduced a “school within a school” model for alternative education students at G. Ray Bodley High School.
Currently, about 85 high school students participate in an alternative program at the Education Center. This would allow alternative students to take elective classes at GRB but maintain their current flexible scheduling and “safety net” of support services in a “pod” or partial wing at the high school.
The program would move four full-time and a handful of part-time alternative teaching positions to GRB. Geitner and GRB principal Donna Parkhurst are aiming to start the new program in September.
“It’s going to take a lot of coordination and individual planning if we move to this model,” Geitner said. “We want to replicate all the components that we believe are effective — and that students are telling us are effective — (and) offer them a broader range of opportunities.”
• Director of Facilities, Operations and Transportation Jerry Seguin updated the board on the 2012 capital project’s progress.
He said crews worked “fast and furious” through the April break to update IT infrastructure and clean power systems at Volney and Fairgrieve elementary schools, as well as asbestos abatement at Fairgrieve and the Education Center.
The district has received state Education Department approval for the replacement of the gym floor at Lanigan Elementary School, part of the 2014-15 capital project. The project will be bid out in May and the renovation will take place over the summer.
The replacement of locksets across the district will extend into the fall of 2014.
Seguin said other summer projects include the replacement of the Volney and GRB roofs, renovations of the Education Center’s auditorium and gym ceiling, and renovations in Volney and Fairgrieve classrooms.
• The board also voted to pass the BOCES administrative budget, which is tentatively calculated at $6,408,434. The school board voted three members to the BOCES board for three-year terms: Eric Behling of the Mexico district, John Shelmidine of Sandy Creek and William “Dave” White of Oswego.
• Petitions for school board and library board candidates are due to the district office by April 30.
• The public hearing on the budget will be held at 7 p.m. May 7 at the Junior High School.
• The next regular school board meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. May 13 at the Education Center.
• The budget vote, school board election and library proposition vote will be held May 20 at the elementary schools.