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A Message From JPS Superintendent Kevin Whitaker, Ed.D.

Dr. Whitaker

On Tuesday May 18, Jamestown residents will have the opportunity to vote on the proposed 2021-22 school budget, a capital improvement project, the purchase of school buses, and elect two Board of Education members.

The 2021-22 Budget, in the amount of $89,879,178, includes a 0% increase to the tax levy. The proposed budget will add critical positions that will directly help our students’ and families’ social and emotional needs during this difficult time, especially with students’ connection to school, as well as with the challenges associated with the transition back to school after a year of pandemic requirements that significantly affected us all in different ways.

Some of the highlights of the proposed budget include: a community navigator, two new school psychologists, an increase in contracted social workers, a reading and literacy coordinator, music equipment, music travel, athletic equipment, athletic uniforms and technology equipment, and a decrease in the administrative portion of the budget. You can find more information about the proposed 2021-22 Budget at www.jpsny.org/budget.

The community navigator is a new position designed to help provide a connection between JPS’ Latino population and our schools. JPS’ Latino population has expressed a desire to have a person who is well respected within the Latino population and who speaks Spanish fluently. The community navigator would act as an important community liaison between the schools and our stakeholders.

We are also asking our community to authorize the purchase of much-needed new school buses. Just like your family car, we need to rotate and maintain our fleet of buses so that we can continue to provide safe transportation for our students. Keeping this rotation allows us to provide safe and cost-efficient transportation to our students.

With voter approval of the proposed capital project, we will be able to invest $86.5 million in the modernization and essential maintenance of our facilities, again with zero cost impact to the local taxpayer. The proposed capital improvements focus on three key areas:

¯ modernizing classrooms and student spaces

¯ enhanced safety, security, and technology, and

¯ essential maintenance to protect our investment

Just as property owners regularly renovate and upgrade their homes, we must also update and maintain our school facilities. While we can generally support routine maintenance through our regular budget, sometimes the needed repairs are more extensive, like a new roof, heating and plumbing upgrades, or replacing windows. The proposed capital project encompasses significant upgrades, replacements, and improvements to our facilities that are beyond the reach of our regular maintenance budget. You can find more detailed information about the proposed capital improvement project at www.jpsny.org/capitalproject.

Finally, we will be asking you to vote for two Board of Education members. There are four candidates running on the May 18 ballot: Frank Galeazzo, Gina Sink, Nina Karbacka and Krysta M. Rives. For more information on the candidates, please see the article on this page.

We value our community’s input and support, and I thank you for taking the time to read this message. Please come out and vote on Tuesday, May 18 from noon to 9 p.m. at Lincoln Elementary School and Jefferson and Washington Middle Schools. If you have questions about where to vote, please contact JPS District Clerk, Jaunita Walter at 483-4420 or email jaunita.m.walter@jpsny.org.

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