Public Hearing Without The Public

Jamestown residents must be content with the 2013-14 proposed school district budget.

On Tuesday, district officials held a budget hearing at Persell Middle School, but no members of the public attended the meeting.

There is no change in the tax levy in the proposed budget. The tax levy is the amount of money raised through property taxes. This is the fourth year in a row the school district has presented voters a budget without an increase in the tax levy. The proposed tax levy is $14,641,567.

The proposed budget also doesn’t include the laying off of any teachers. Dale Weatherlow, Jamestown Public School District assistant superintendent for administration, said administrators spent a lot of time building a budget that includes no tax increase and no reduction in instructional staff.

“We’ve spent a lot of time and effort to make sure that didn’t happen,” Weatherlow said about no teachers being laid off.

The proposed budget is $75,369,680, which is $1,426,012 less than the current school district budget. One reason for the 1.86 percent lower total budget is a $511,000 decrease in certified salaries. Weatherlow said the lower amount is due to 16 teachers retiring in the budget. Weatherlow said being able to hire new teachers at a lower salary to replace the retiring instructors creates the decrease.

Voters will also be voting on a referendum to approve the spending of $795,000 for new school buses. The district would like to replace five large school buses, one wheelchair bus and two vans. The five buses being replaced have been used by the district for more than 11 years.

“We need to start replacing them more aggressively,” Weatherlow said about district buses.

According to the district clerk, both Joseph DiMaio, school board president, and board member Patrick Slagle will be running for re-election. Jamestown resident Todd Rushforth is also running for one of the two available seats.

The school board vote will be from noon to 9 p.m. Tuesday. People can vote at Lincoln, Jefferson and Washington schools.