Following an extensive review of program priorities and evaluation of feedback from the school community, the Board of Education adopted a proposed budget on April 21 totaling $108,016,351.
The budget calls for a 0.95% spending increase over the current school year and an increase in the district tax levy of 1.0% — this is below the district’s projected tax levy limit of 1.03% and lower than last year’s 2.92% levy increase.
Although assessments and equalization rates will not be known until August, the district estimates the average Colonie property owner with a home market value of $175,000 would pay $2.49 per month more in school taxes next year under the proposed spending plan.
State budget provides additional revenue for schools
In April, when the final state budget was adopted, the spending plan included an increase in state aid for South Colonie in the upcoming school year including a $2.3 million increase in Foundation Aid (the primary source of funding for general-purpose operating aid for schools).
Additionally, the state budget included a total of $9.21 million in federal stimulus monies from both the CARES Act ($4.48 million) and Federal American Rescue Plan ($4.73 million) for South Colonie schools. Funding can be used over a multi-year period to support safely reopening for in-person instruction, student learning, and responding to students’ academic, social and emotional needs due to the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This increase in revenue for South Colonie provides funding to preserve educational programs and services at the current level for the 2021-22 school year. Through additional stimulus funding, the district will also be able to expand program offerings to bolster academic achievement and enhance social and emotional wellness support for students.
Board election and land proposition
In addition to voting on the proposed budget on May 18, district residents will elect candidates to fill two open seats on the Board of Education. Residents will also vote on a $2,050,000 land proposition to purchase a 57 acre property in Colonie to construct a new bus garage and district office complex at a future date. The district plans to sell the existing buildings in order to offset a portion of the cost.
Should the land proposition not pass, the district would be tasked with financing extensive repairs on aging infrastructure in order to meet the current needs of the district. According to the district’s five-year Building Condition Survey completed in 2020 by CSARCH Architects, the district office would need approximately $1.66 million in repairs while the bus garage would need $1.7 million in repairs.
Budget hearing set for Tuesday, May 4
On Tuesday, May 4 at 7 p.m. the district will hold a virtual public hearing so residents may learn more about the proposed budget. The virtual public hearing is open to all South Colonie Community Members for viewing on the district’s YouTube channel.