The first draft of the proposed 2023-24 South Colonie Central School District budget was presented to the Board of Education on Tuesday, March 21.
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 expanding ENL (English as a New Language) opportunities, strengthening special education continuum of care and prioritizing the long-term sustainability of programs and facilities for the next generation of Colonie.
In addition to sharing district highlights, and outlining the instructional budget and first draft budget, Assistant Superintendent for Management Services and Strategic Planning Jacqlene McAllister announced that the district will have new polling locations for the May 16 vote.
Key takeaways from the presentation include:
- The first draft of the expenditure budget totals $122,212,673 with a budget-to-budget change over the current school year of +$8,753,788 or 7.7%.
- South Colonie anticipates an overall revenue increase of 7.43% but is simultaneously dealing with the end of stimulus funds plus a rise in expenses including health insurance, salaries, and overall inflation.
- The level of revenue is not enough to cover the costs associated with meeting the enhanced programmatic needs of students.
- The first draft budget projects a -$326,496 budget gap. The board of education will plan to make adjustments in the amount of taxes to be levied, 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 4, 2023.
- The district’s estimated tax levy is set for 1.99% based on first-draft projections. This is below the tax levy limit of 2.14%.
- Other propositions up for vote include a bus purchase proposition.
State and Federal 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.
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 2023-24 school budget based on areas of highest need and district goals.
The second draft of the 2023-24 district budget will be presented to the board on Tuesday, April 4, during a community budget forum at 7 p.m. at Veeder Elementary School. Members of the community can also 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, 16, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. to vote. New this year voting will take place at Sand Creek and Lisha Kill Middle Schools. In addition to the budget and bus proposition, district residents will also elect to fill two seats on the Board of Education.