Granville’s proposed school budget would increase by more than $1M

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Granville Central School District.

Proposed new hires to replace previously laid off or fill new positions, raises for some positions and the purchase of new technology, equipment and furniture were discussed at the Granville Board of Education’s second budget workshop on March 28.

After presentations highlighting expenditures in the Instructional, Special Education, Technology and Interscholastic Sports categories, the total proposed budget for the 2022-23 school year is projected to be $28,200,163, a 4.40% increase ($1,189,234) over the current budget.

Stemming from proposed salary increases and additional positions, the largest projected budgeted line falls under “Instruction-Regular Education” at $6,314,871, a 6.03% increase ($359,019) over this year.

Instructional salaries for the 79 teachers spanning grades K-12 (22 in grades K-3, 16 in grades 4-6 and 41 in grades 7-12) in the district is proposed at $5,233,088.

The district is also proposing 16 teacher assistants and seven monitors at a cost of $428,524.

Granville Junior Senior High School principal Lisa Meade, Granville Elementary School principal Cara Talmadge, Mary J. Tanner School principal Paul Morcone, director of pupil services Ann Marie Clark, director of technology services Jereme Randles and athletic director Justin Nassivera all informed the board of their proposed additions for the next school year.

All instructional administrators would like to add two long-term building substitutes to each of the three district buildings.

“That avoids us competing all the time with BOCES, we did that through the pandemic,” Morcone said. ‘We would have two substitutes that report to the building everyday regardless and that would allow us to run the building accordingly depending on if something comes up that day, we would already have them locked in versus searching for a sub at the last minute or the morning of, or not filling the positions.”

District business manager Cathy Somich said the cost of a substitute through the Southern Adirondack Substitute Teachers Alliance contracted through BOCES would be $120 a day compared with $205 for a long-term building substitute for 180 days.

Talmadge chimed in that the long-term building substitutes do and would build relationships with the students and become familiar with the instruction techniques and formats used by active teachers.

“It definitely is a benefit to all of the buildings and it really has been a great opportunity that we have been afforded,” Talmadge said.

School superintendent Tom McGurl, whose salary is proposed to be $156,582, provided his opinion on the contract through BOCES in obtaining substitutes against saving the $9,000 cost and utilizing the teachers within the building and district to fill holes.

“I don’t think it’s necessarily a function of the sub registry, I think it’s a function of subs being available,” he said. “The registry works fine and I have been a principal in a school district that didn’t use the registry and truthfully, that’s a whole job on its own. I think even if you say ‘we’re going to save the $9,000 and do it in-house,’ I don’t think that you’re going to be any further ahead, the bodies aren’t out there.”

Morcone pitched the idea of hiring a fourth Kindergarten teacher to reduce the number of students in each class from 24.3 students in three class sections to 18.25 students in four class sections.

“We would like to reinstate another teacher,” Morcone said. “Obviously, that could increase or decrease over the summer but that puts us at a comfortable number for the kids.”

Meade said her proposals appeared on paper to be a lengthy list but the intention is to “go back to normal” to what instruction and staff looked like before the pandemic.

Meade said she would like to reinstate a music teacher position that was removed in 2020 to go to two full-time music teachers and add a science teacher that would allow AIS Science sections and Living Environment to be taught as a gateway course and exam for freshmen.

Meade also proposed the replacement of four cots in the nurse’s office for $3,000 and the replacement of a 10-month front door monitor position with a 10-month clerical position in the scenario of a retirement. McGurl added that the current position is leaning towards a clerical position as it is.

In her role as curriculum coordinator, Meade pitched the idea of having five department chair positions for grades K-12 in the subjects of math, English language arts, social studies, science and special education. The chairs would receive a $2,500 stipend and responsibilities would be agreed upon by the Granville Teachers Association, the superintendent, the pupil services director and the three principals.

Clark proposed two special education teachers at the high school level. The first would accommodate the number of identified seventh grade students for the next school year and the second would accommodate students transitioning from the BOCES Learning Education And Progress classroom at Granville Elementary School to the high school.

The Special Education line is proposed to be $4,036,760 for next school year, a 1.19% decrease ($48,678) from the current budget.

The four 12-month administrators, Clark, Meade, Morcone and Talmadge, are pitched to make a combined $450,672, according to the proposed budget.

Within the guidance, health and psychological category, the district is proposing four guidance counselors with a total salary of $255,361, four full-time nurses with summer work at a total of $160,970 and four full-time psychologists at a total of $303,631.

The technology department is budgeted at $939,063, an 8.14% ($70,656) increase from the current budget. Randles’ salary is proposed to be $75,715.

Nassivera’s athletic department is eyeing a budget of $366,438 for the next school year, a 5.86% increase ($20,274). Nassivera’s proposed salary as athletic director is listed at $29,356.

Key notes to be made are the proposed new windscreens for the tennis courts with extras going to the backstops for baseball and softball and new uniforms for both basketball teams, the wrestling team and the newly merged football team with Whitehall.

All football costs will be split 50/50 between Granville and Whitehall, according to Nassivera. The football program is the highest budgeted interscholastic sports program at $50,573.40 and coaching stipends at $20,446.40.

Nassivera also pitched for the addition of a year-round strength and conditioning coach to be hired at a proposed salary of $20,000.

“We’ve had coaches on and off over the years open the weight room at various times and everyone is all on different pages with it,” Nassivera said. ‘So I’d like to have one strength and conditioning coach and make it a requirement for all of our coaches to utilize that person, he or she, in one way or another.

“For example, Cory Burton and I have baseball practice from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., we would go up with the strength and conditioning coach from 4:30 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. and get in a program workout. And obviously, we would look to hire someone with a strong strength and conditioning background and, ideally, I’d like all of our athletic programs from cross-country to softball to be on the same page of what we’re doing physically.”

Significant proposed expenditures to note include health and dental insurance at $4,109,555 and New York State teacher retirements at $953,040.

The next budget-related meeting will take place at the monthly board meeting on April 11 when Somich will present State Aid Revenues to the board and the board will potentially adopt the 2022-23 budget to be heard following the May 9 monthly board meeting.

The budget vote is scheduled for May 17 at 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the high school at 58 Quaker Street.