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 sizes;
- Providing supports for students who are not meeting, or at risk of not meeting, state learning standards in core academic subject areas;
- Addressing student social-emotional health;
- Providing adequate resources to English language learners, students with disabilities; and students experiencing homelessness;
For the 2022-23 school year, the South Colonie Central School District received a foundation aid increase of $6,969,129 or 30.87%.
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 support and access to services for students. Specifically, the priorities for this budget with the increase in Foundation Aid were:
- Sustainability after stimulus grants of positions used to address lost instruction and the needs of the whole student, including mental and physical health needs from the pandemic
- Additional teachers to reduce class sizes K-8
- Equipment and supply increases to continue purchasing instructional technology and materials
- Staffing to expand our English as a New Language (ENL) programs and special needs populations
- Additional courses and sections to enhance the pathways at the High School
Throughout the budget development process, internal and external,, the district sought feedback on the priorities listed above. The district received no comments from the public after seeking feedback. Internal input was used to establish these priorities and continual feedback until final budget adoption. Many of these priorities continued from the prior year’s needs assessment, where the district conducted surveys on the district’s direction moving forward. 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 ELL students, disadvantaged youth, and those students who are struggling academically following the return from 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.
Please contact Assistant Superintendent for Management Services and Strategic Planning Jacqlene McAllister with questions on this plan.
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. In order to improve student engagement, the district added additional resources for extra-curricular activities and interscholastic sports.
Plan Summary: Class size reduction is a focus at the middle schools and elementary schools, where sections were projected to be larger for the 2023-24 school year. Multiple staff are being added to cover those class sections in all core subject areas in Middle Schools. Additional staff are 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 planning to maintain staffing that was added with stimulus funds for Math AIS and Reading Intervention supports to address students who are not meeting or at risk of not meeting learning standards. ($2,600,000)
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. Maintaining staff that was added with stimulus funds allows us to continue supporting students with social workers and counselors.
Plan Summary: We are enhancing our English New Language (ENL) program to continue to support our ELL students through the addition of staffing, growing the program to be available at all of our schools, this includes adding 2 teachers and teaching assistants. 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 2023-24 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.
- Enhancements 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.
- Instructional Technology increases for replacement plans of student chromebooks, carts, and staff laptops.
Staff & Benefits
- Additional staffing to help with the bus driver shortage
- Additional staffing for the facilities department to keep up on scheduled maintenance work.