Giarrizzo appointed to business post
by Kathleen Duff
After a five-month budget development process, the Grand Island Board of Education unanimously approved a resolution for the proposed 2012-13 school district budget in the amount of $53,079,789. This includes a 2.4 percent tax rate increase and a tax levy capped at 3.25 percent. The budget will go to Grand Island voters on Tuesday, May 15.
Week by week over the past two months, administrators and trustees have worked to close an initial $7 million gap between expected revenues and expenditures. The recently passed New York state budget does send Grand Island about $20,000 more in education aid, but Superintendent of Schools Robert Christmann has continued to remind the board and the public that aid has dropped $3 million since the 2008-09 budget year. The "phase 5" budget shortfall is estimated at $1,226,731. This figure includes expenditure requests in the amount of $158,500.
Major impact expenditure increases for this year are $1,068,358 for staff salaries, $267,146 for health insurance, $129,000 for the Employee Retirement System, $209,250 for the Teacher Retirement System, $82,187 for BOCES, $115,500 for utilities, $367,500 for special education tuitions, and $50,000 for building maintenance/HVAC. Revenue decreases are $990,515 in federal education jobs funding, $600,000 in debt service reserve allocation, $100,000 in unemployment reserve allocation, $300,000 in ERS reserve allocation, and $2,783, 775 in appropriated fund balance (not available this year).
School budget details are available on the district website: www.k12.ginet.org.
In other agenda items, trustees unanimously approved the appointment of Joseph Giarrizzo as director of business services. Giarrizzo will leave his current post as administrator for business and financial services for the City of Tonawanda schools and begin with Grand Island May 21.
Giarrizzo has a holds a master's degree in business administration with a concentration in management theory from Canisius College, and a master's degree in education with a concentration in school business administration from Niagara University. Christmann praised Giarrizzo's private sector experience, education and references and also gave commendation to the Loraine Ingrasci, who is retiring from her position as assistant superintendent of business and finance after eight years.
"I am looking forward to the experience and to contributing to the many great initiatives taking place in Grand Island," Giarrizzo said.
In his superintendent's report, Christmann said the annual universal pre-kindergarten lottery will be held Tuesday, June 5. Again this year, the number of applicants is larger than the number of spaces available.
Christmann also addressed the much publicized "pink slime" in some ground beef products. He said the district will not be purchasing any beef that contains the additive.
School Board Candidates Sought to Fill 3 Seats
Candidates interested in a seat on the Grand Island Board of Education must file nominating petitions with District Clerk Janet Schuster by 5 p.m. on April 16.
Thirty-nine valid signatures of district residents are required on a petition. Forms are available at the district offices, located at 1100 Ransom Road, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. weekdays. There are three three-year terms to be filled.
The qualifications to run for the Board of Education are:
•Must be a citizen of the U.S.,
•Must be at least 18 years of age,
•Must be a resident of the district for one year prior to the election, and
•Must be able to read and write.
The School Board election and budget vote will be held from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. May 15 in the Grand Island High School gymnasium.
The next regular meeting of the Grand Island Board of Education is Monday, April 23, at 7:30 p.m. in the Veronica Connor Middle School Little Theater.
Board of Education Trustees
Send comments to the board at [email protected].