Ballston Spa Central School District’s 2018-2019 budget, totaling nearly $92 million, has official been adopted. But first, the Board of Education took time this week to recognize the work being done by district elementary school teachers for the Weekend Backpack program, as well to honor middle school art teacher Kristina Guernsey.
The district’s Weekend Backpack program, which began at Milton Terrace Elementary School over a year ago, provides needy children with backpacks full of food to take home on the weekend, discreetly. A month ago, the program expanded to Gordon Creek Elementary School, and thanks to a recent donation by the company Applied Materials, the program can expand even further.
Gordon Creek’s principal, Celeste Keane, said Applied Materials showed interest and commitment, very quickly, once the school reached out to them. With the company’s help, Gordon Creek was able to double the amount of backpacks they provided (from 17 to 34).
“They’ve done so much more for us than become financial partners,” Keane said. “They worked with us on the ground, they do the heavy lift…they show up every week, they help pack, their commitment to this effort is a full one. And our appreciation is difficult to express.”
Before honoring Ms. Guernsey, who was recently named a SEFCU Top Teacher, the board shared this video footage of her class conducted by WNYT News. Her sixth graders’ work is currently on display in the main gallery at Brookside Museum.
Guernsey was praised for recognizing that “art is present across all disciplines” and has tried to integrate lessons in subjects like math and social studies into the art curriculum. This year she had her students use work from the Saratoga Historical Society to complete their projects.
Clerk of the Board Brian Sirianni unveiled the recommended budget, describing the process as “straightforward” and reiterated that the school district was in good shape for the coming year. Sirianni has spent the past several months giving presentations at the school board meetings explaining what the biggest issues and changes were in shaping the budget.
A budget hearing is scheduled for May 2 and several presentations around the three towns that are within the school district will be given before a final vote on May 15.