District leaders present first draft of proposed 2022-23 budget; Development process continues

The first draft of the proposed 2022-23 South Colonie Central School District budget was presented to the Board of Education on Tuesday, March 15. 

South Colonie’s focus during the planning process has been to sustain programming at the current level and add programs that prioritize equitable academic needs and access to services for students. Other priorities include the long term sustainability of programs and facilities for the next generation of Colonie.

Key takeaways

    • The first draft of the budget totals $113,555,321 with a budget-to-budget change over the current school year of +$5,538,970, or 5.13%.
    • South Colonie anticipates an overall revenue increase of 4.6% but is simultaneously dealing with a rise in expenses including health insurance, salaries, and overall inflation which is at its highest level since 1991, according to the state budget director Robert Mujica.
    • The level of revenue is not enough to cover the costs associated with meeting the enhanced programmatic needs of students. First draft budget projects a -$565,122 budget gap.  The board of education will plan to make adjustments in the use of stimulus funding, reduction in expenditures, use of reserves or a combination of all three in order to close this gap prior to the second draft of the budget on April 5, 2022.
    • The district’s estimated tax levy is set for 2.39% based on first draft projections. This is below the tax levy limit of 2.9392%.
    • Other propositions up for vote include a bus purchase proposition. The board is also considering an alternative property purchase in Colonie with future plans to renovate/construct a new transportation and O&M facility which would need to be approved by voters. 

State and Federal Aid

On Jan. 18, Gov. Kathy Hochul outlined the fiscal year 2023 executive budget proposal, which includes $31.3 billion in education funding and aims to fulfill the promise to fully fund Foundation Aid.

The release of the Executive Budget Proposal marked the formal beginning of the annual state budget process and is followed by negotiations between the governor and the state Legislature. The deadline for an on-time budget from the state is April 1.

Other budgetary information that is subject to change include BOCES and private school special education student placements, BOCES expenditures, and other district program adjustments.

Next Steps

The South Colonie Board of Education will work with district leaders and administrators collaboratively to develop a plan to minimize the budget impact while prioritizing and strategically recommending additions to the 2022-23 school budget based on areas of highest need and district goals.

The second draft of the 2022-23 district budget will be presented to the board on Tuesday, April 5, during a community budget forum at 7 p.m. Members of the community can participate by viewing the live stream of the meeting on the district’s YouTube channel

Budget Vote Details

Residents will head to the polls on Tuesday, May, 17, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. to vote. Voting will take place at the five elementary schools. In addition to the budget,  bus, and potential land proposition, district residents will also elect to fill two seats to the Board of Education.

First Draft Budget Presentation

First draft budget presentation