2019-20 budget taking shape; includes several initiatives while keeping costs down

As the Board of Education continues to develop the 2019-20 budget proposal, several initiatives are being considered in the spending plan going before the community on Tuesday, May 21.

As it stands now, the budget would include a 2.9 percent tax levy increase. This increase is less than one-half of the allowable state tax cap for Mayfield (6.1 percent).

The spending increase would be 9.1 percent, reflecting the formal borrowing for the capital project approved by the community in January 2016. That increase will be balanced by a boost in state building aid, said School Business Manager Megan Sullivan. She noted that $1.3 million of the expected $1.9 million spending increase in the 2019-20 school budget is due to the capital project borrowing.

The May 21 ballot will also include the purchase of two 66-passenger buses from the district’s bus reserve. The purchase would have no impact on the 2019-20 school budget or tax levy.

The Board of Education is scheduled to adopt the budget at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 9, at the District Office, Jr./Sr. High School. The budget hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 14.

Voting on the 2019-20 budget proposal, bus purchase proposal and electing one Board of Education member will be held from 12 noon to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, May 21, in the Pepsi Hallway at the Jr./Sr. High School, 27 School Street, Mayfield.

Budget highlights

Interim Superintendent Kathy Dougherty said the board has held three budget workshops so far. She pointed to these areas of the proposed spending plan:

  • A general focus on the VPA (visual performing arts) in the budget. The budget would include a restoration of art positions at both the Jr./Sr. High School and elementary school, resulting in three full-time art teachers for the buildings.  Years ago it was reduced to 2.6 from 3.0.
  • The art addition would also help usher in the new Arts in Business Pathway – a path to career exploration and potential college credits for students while in high school. Mayfield students would need to sign up as grade 8 students. They would take several classes along the pathway, learn directly from people who have careers in art, and have the option to take college credit-bearing classes while in Mayfield Jr./Sr. High School. Students are signing up for that program now.
  • Full-time band director who would provide instrumental lessons in grades 4-12 and oversee concert bands at both schools. This restores the position to full-time. It was reduced to part-time several years ago.
  • Reassignment of two current music teachers resulting in a full-time choral/vocal/piano lab position for grades 7-12 and a full-time general/choral position for grades PreK-6.
  • Two students entering grade 9 will be able to attend classes at the Foothills PTECH Academy at Johnstown High School. Students can pursue two academies for study: Health and Medical Sciences Academy and Computer Science and Game Arts.
  • One elementary section will be reduced due to low class sizes. In exchange, the funding for that position will be used to create an Academic Intervention Services (AIS) position to provide academic math and reading support for struggling students. 
  • Replace a retiring grades 7-12 English teacher to include a new English/Literacy/AIS teaching position at the Jr./Sr. High School. Dougherty said this is being done in part because of the Jr/Sr. High School designation as a Comprehensive Support and Improvement school under the federal ESSA plan
  • There will be a shared Jr./Sr. High School science position with the neighboring Northville Central School District. Both districts were seeking a part-time science teacher, so decided to merge their efforts.
  • Addition of a part-time Curriculum Consultant/Instruction Coach through the Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery (HFM) BOCES to assist in the transition to the state’s Next Generation Learning Standards by the 2020-21 school year. This position will also help in the response to the ESSA accountability designation.
  • Increased emphasis on Regents preparation/tutoring services. The budget includes additional funding for this program, which prepares students needing to re-take annual Regents exams.
  • Funding for costs associated with the Mastermind and Odyssey of the Mind competitions. Both programs are popular with students. The funding would pay for competition fees and other costs associated with the activities.
  • The district is still awaiting positive news about a federal grant proposal through the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department that would provide a School Resource Officer at both buildings. The proposed budget includes matching funds to have an officer two days per week at the schools. In the meantime, the HFM BOCES is exploring options by which this service could be provided through their organization.
  • The budget also includes funding to: add Board of Education policy services through BOCES, prepare for the Building Condition Survey required every five years of school districts, develop a five-year financial plan and install digital time clocks for support staff to improve efficiency.