Following an extensive review of program priorities and evaluation of feedback from the school community, the South Colonie Board of Education adopted a proposed budget on April 12 totaling $113,458,885.
The budget calls for a 5.04% spending increase over the current school year and an increase in the district tax levy of 2.42% — this is below the district’s projected tax levy limit of 2.93%
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 $200,000 would pay $6.71 per month more in school taxes next year under the proposed spending plan.
State budget provides additional revenue for schools
On April 9, when the final state budget was adopted, the spending plan included an increase in aid for South Colonie in the upcoming school year. As part of the enacted budget, the Division of Budget releases “School Aid Runs,” or breakdowns of how much funding each district should expect to receive. View updated state aids runs here.
This increase in revenue for South Colonie provides funding to preserve educational programs and services at the current level for the 2022-23 school year and provide additional program enhancements to bolster academic achievement and support for students. See a summary of these highlights below.
The proposed 2022-23 budget preserves all current programs and services and provides key enhancements outlined below:
- No reductions to programs or staff.
- Continued emphasis on social-emotional health and growing needs of English Language Learners and Special Education populations through additional staffing support for those areas.
- Federal stimulus to support technology upgrades, equipment, and building enhancements throughout the district.
- Transportation technology upgrades to improve ease of transportation route mapping for staff leading to an enhanced transportation experience for staff, students, and families.
- Bus maintenance replacement plan to ensure students are transported on buses that meet the latest safety standards while allowing the district to phase out older, high mileage vehicles to avoid the cost inefficiencies related to keeping them in service.
- Implementation of district wide maintenance and paving plan to support on-going wear and tear to our roadways and parking lots.
Continued emphasis on athletic programming including the addition of one full-time strength and conditioning coach and the addition of seven coaches paid through stipends.
- Addition of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) elementary programming to instill creativity, innovation and passion for STEAM from an early age.
- Federal stimulus to be used to address highest student needs now (reading, math, STEAM teachers at the elementary levels, staffing to support smaller class sizes at the elementary and middle school levels).
Middle School level
- Enhanced support to STEAM programming for grades 5-8 through additional equipment and supplies.
- Staffing to bolster academic success and support students’ social and emotional needs.
- Staffing to support smaller class sizes.
High School level
Pathways program expansion: Continued commitment to provide opportunities for students to gain knowledge and exposure to the most desired and applicable career experiences, college majors, associate degrees, and skilled trade professions at the high school level through expansion of career pathways program and staffing support.
Bus and land propositions
In addition to voting on the school budget on May 17, South Colonie residents will be asked to consider authorizing the purchase of 11 replacement school buses of various sizes—six 66 passenger buses, one 24/2 wheelchair bus, two 16 passenger buses, one 6 passenger Suburban, one 6 passenger minivan— at an overall cost not to exceed $1,158,000.
The bus purchase is part of an ongoing bus replacement plan designed to ensure students are transported on buses that meet the latest safety standards while allowing the district to phase out older, high mileage vehicles to avoid the cost inefficiencies related to keeping them in service. This proposition has no tax impact.
South Colonie residents will also be asked to vote on a $1,900,000 real property proposition. This proposition is to purchase an alternative property to the land approved for purchase (located off of Broderick Street) by district residents in May 2021. The Broderick Street property was approved to be purchased for $2,050,000, although to date, the district has not completed the purchase of the property due to ongoing analysis and review.
During the past year, the district has undergone an extensive site analysis, feasibility studies, and a cost analysis of the current market for constructing new buildings on the previously approved land. The findings revealed that the land had a reduced area for construction based on environmental factors than previously known. Additionally, it was revealed that there would be an increase in construction costs for the district compared to the newly proposed property located at 1015 Watervliet Shaker Road which includes existing buildings and infrastructure onsite. If approved by voters, the land will be used to construct/renovate a new bus garage and maintenance facility at a future date. While the construction plans would be part of the Next Generation Colonie capital project referendum vote in fall of 2022, the district estimates that by building/renovating on the newly proposed property South Colonie would save taxpayers approximately $1.5 million in construction costs.
In addition to voting on the proposed budget and propositions, voters will elect candidates to fill two open seats on the Board of Education.
Budget hearing set for Tuesday, May 10
On Tuesday, May 10 at 7 p.m. the district will hold a public hearing at Saddlewood Elementary so residents may learn more about the proposed budget and propositions. The public hearing will also be open to all South Colonie Community Members for viewing on the district’s YouTube channel.
- Full budget Q&A
- Board Candidates Bios – coming soon