District leaders present second draft of proposed 2023-24 budget; Board set to adopt April 19

The second draft of the proposed 2023-24 South Colonie Central School District budget was presented during a Community Budget Forum at Veeder Elementary on Tuesday, April 4.

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.

The second draft of the budget totals $122,194,702 with a budget-to-budget change over the current school year of +$8,735,817, or 7.7%.

Key Takeaways 

    • The second draft of the spending plan outlines a balanced budget of revenue and expenditures.  
    • Between the first and second drafts, district leaders have reduced expenditures based on priorities and programmatic needs and assigned an additional fund balance of $148,525 to offset the gap. 
    • The district’s estimated tax levy is set for 1.99% based on second-draft projections. This is below the tax levy limit of 2.14%.

State and Federal Aid Projections Still Unknown

On Feb. 1  Gov. Kathy Hochul outlined the fiscal year 2024 executive budget proposal. The release of the Executive Budget Proposal marked the formal beginning of the annual state budget process which is followed by negotiations between the governor and the state Legislature. The deadline for an on-time budget from the state was April 1. As of April 5, the state had not delivered its final budget.  Both state aid final numbers and Universal Pre-K funding outlined in the final state budget could impact the third and final draft budget for South Colonie. 

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

School Bus Purchases

In addition to voting on the school budget on Tuesday, May 16, South Colonie residents will be asked to consider authorizing the purchase of eight replacement school buses of various sizes—six 66 passenger buses, one 18/3 wheelchair bus and one 42 passenger bus — overall cost not to exceed $1,318,000.

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.

Next Steps

The South Colonie Board of Education will work with district leaders and administrators collaboratively to fine tune the second draft budget. The South Colonie Board of Education is set to approve the third and final draft of the budget during its regularly scheduled board meeting on Wednesday, April 19 at the South Colonie district offices. Members of the community are invited to attend but may also participate by viewing the live stream of the meeting on the district’s YouTube channel

Budget Vote Details

Map of the new polling locations
Map of the new polling locations

Residents will head to the polls on Tuesday, May, 16, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. to vote. Voting will take place this year at new polling locations at both Sand Creek and Lisha Kill Middle Schools.  Residents whom are unsure on their assigned polling location can look it up here: https://vip.ntsteamed.com

In addition to the budget,  bus, and property propositions, district residents will also elect to fill two seats on the Board of Education.

Second Draft Budget Presentation

Second draft budget presentation.