Contents of Plan
- Increasing graduation rates and eliminating the achievement gap
- Reducing class sizes
- Providing supports for students who are not meeting, or who are at risk of not meeting, state learning standards in core academic subject areas
- Addressing student social-emotional health
- Detailed summaries of investments in current year initiatives and balance funds spent in priority areas
The 2021-22 enacted state budget includes language stating that, for the 2021-22, 2022-23 and 2023-24 school years, each school district receiving a foundation aid increase of more than 10% or $10,000,000 a school year must post a plan of how the funds will be used to address student performance and need, including but not limited to:
- Increasing graduation rates and eliminating the achievement gap;
- Reducing class size;
- Providing supports for students who are not meeting, or who are at risk of not meeting, state learning standards in core academic subject areas;
- Addressing student social-emotional health; and
- Providing adequate resources to English language learners, students with disabilities, and students experiencing homelessness.
- Goals and ratios for pupil support.
- Detailed summaries of investments in current year initiatives and balance funds spent in priority areas.
For the 2022-23 school year, the South Colonie Central School District received a foundation aid increase of $3,871,667 or 20%.
The district’s priorities in utilizing the increase in foundation aid include sustaining programs at the current level and adding programs that prioritize equitable academic supports and access to services for students. Other priorities include the long term sustainability of programs and facilities for the next generation of Colonie.
Throughout the budget development process and through strategic planning committees and surveys, the district sought input from the internal and external school community. The focus was on what the district’s direction should be going forward. There were concerns about wellness and the need for more mental health resources, especially social workers, for students. There was feedback on the need for support for ENL students, disadvantaged youth, and those students who are struggling academically due to quarantines and absences, and the learning loss due to COVID at all school levels. Comments included an emphasis on updating school buildings, facilities, and athletic fields. Feedback also focused on the district’s class sizes, ensuring there is continual evaluation at each grade level with the effort to reduce as needed.
Increasing graduation rates and eliminating the achievement gap
Plan Summary: The district is adding teaching staff to enhance our High School Pathways program, providing opportunities for students to gain knowledge and exposure to meet the most desired and applicable career experiences, college majors, associate degrees, and skilled trade professions. The district is also adding a counselor to support the two middle schools to provide earlier guidance to the students. Additions also include a Library Media Specialist, TAs, and a permanent (increased from an internship) High School Associate Principal.
Reducing class sizes
Plan Summary: Class size reduction is a focus at the middle schools, where sections were projected to be much larger for the 2022-23 school year. Multiple staff are being added to cover those class sections in all core subject areas. Additional staff are also being hired for the elementary schools to support smaller class sizes.
Providing supports for students who are not meeting, or who are at risk of not meeting, state learning standards in core academic subject areas
Plan Summary: The district is hiring a full time teacher at each middle school to provide additional support for the students who participate in the alternative education program. ($200,000)
Addressing student social-emotional health
Plan Summary: While mental health supports for students have always been at the forefront for South Colonie teachers, staff, and families, the impact of the COVID-19 crisis has called for a greater response and coordination to continue addressing a wide-variety of needs. In addition to the continuation of providing social-emotional support to all students through our multidisciplinary team of district teachers, social workers, psychologists, guidance counselors, nurses, administrators, parents and community partners, we are also staff to ensure there is a full-time social worker in every elementary building. Additionally, the district is investing in DEI initiatives and will continue to implement its mental health universal screening program at both the elementary and secondary levels.
Providing adequate resources to English language learners and students with disabilities.
Plan Summary: We are enhancing our English New Language (ENL) program to continue to support our ELL students through the addition of staffing (an additional teacher). We are also continuing to support our students with disabilities by adding new programs and staffing including teachers, teaching assistants, occupational therapy and speech language staff in order to meet the evolving needs of our students. We also ensure our special education populations are met with the services needed through participation in outplacements. This is an additional cost to the district, but ensures the students are provided the best educational experience.
Detailed summaries of investments in current year initiatives and balance funds spent in priority areas.
Plan Summary: The district’s priorities for the 2022-23 school year include the following areas:
Projects to enhance the facilities through the use of additional funding. These include replacing old, unsafe vehicles for staff and budgeting for maintenance projects that create safer facilities for students, staff, and community members.
Equity in Athletics
A priority for this coming year was to create equity for our athletic programs through the addition of a strength and condition coach position and adjusting coaching stipends to be equitable across like sports.
The district created the position of Public Information Officer as an initiative to enhance communications and community engagement with the students, families, and the public at large.
- Implementation of new HR Software to improving the onboarding process for staff
- Transportation technology upgrades to improve ease of transportation route mapping for staff to enhance safety and ease of use for staff, parents, and students.
Staff & Benefits
- Additional staffing to help with the bus driver shortage
- Additional staffing for the facilities department to keep up on scheduled maintenance work.
- Continually increasing benefits costs were partially funded for new and existing staff.