South Colonie residents will go to the polls on Tuesday, May 21, to vote on a proposed $104.88 million District budget for the 2019-2020 school year. Polls will be open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., at the District’s five elementary schools.
The adopted budget, adopted by the Board of Education on April 17 for 2019-20 totals $104,879,374 and calls for a 2.63 percent spending increase over the current school year, and an increase in the District tax levy of 1.04 percent — below the state tax levy cap for South Colonie of 1.18 percent.
Residents will also vote on two propositions and elected members to the Board of Education with new terms beginning July 1.
Although assessment and equalization rates will not be known until August, the District estimates the average Colonie property owner with a home market value of $200,000 would pay $3.02 per month more next school year to finance education.
Please look in your mail for the District’s annual budget newsletter or find more information on the budget page of this website.
A lengthy budget development process
The South Colonie Board of Education, administration, and school community have worked together to advocate for increased New York State Foundation Aid. Board of Education members along with District officials met with elected officials to request progress in the implementation of full Foundation Aid funding in the future.
With that work, limited aid was restored for the coming budget year. The governor had proposed in his executive budget in January a $40,608 or 0.25 percent (a quarter of 1 percent) increase in Foundation Aid for 2019-20 over the current school year. Foundation Aid is the District’s primary source of state funding for everyday school operations. The final state budget slightly added to that Foundation Aid total for South Colonie, with an increase of $121,826 or 0.75 percent (three quarters of 1 percent) over the current school year.
During 2019-2020 budget planning, the District adjusted for anticipated state aid increases combined with increased expenditures in areas that can fluctuate on an annual basis. Overall, the administration and Board of Education have worked to address the most immediate needs and make sure the programs and supports reinstated this school year remain in place for the 2019-2020 school year.
Highlights in the proposed 2019-20 District budget
- Additional staffing to support the District’s K-12 Co-Teaching/Inclusion initiative for Special Needs students
- Additional 0.50 ENL Teacher and 0.10 Family & Consumer Science Teacher
- Additional Social Worker and Mental Health Clinician to provide more mental health support for students
- Additional training to support ongoing initiatives related to the use of Instructional Technology among students and staff
- Increased Committee on Special Education support for Special Education Program oversight
- Continued K-12 Academic Intervention Services
- Continued training for the implementation and use of software focusing on academic growth
- Continued installation of internal and external security cameras in various buildings
- Replacement of a utility truck with a plow for the Operations and Maintenance Department
What will District residents be voting on May 21?
Proposition No. 1 — 2019-2020 District Budget
Consideration of the proposed 2019-2020 operational budget with a levy increase of 1.04 percent (which is below the New York State Tax Levy Limitation) with a proposed spending increase of 2.63 percent or $2,682,908.
Proposition No. 2 — School Bus Purchases
School Bus Replacement Plan to purchase 10 school buses of various sizes to allow continuation of the District’s 5-year replacement plan. This includes (7) 66 passenger buses, (1) 35- passenger bus, and (1) 6-passenger utility vehicle bus and (1) 6- passenger minivan bus. The total estimated cost of the bus proposition is $1,082,700. After state aid the District’s average net cost would be $123,100 or 4.46 cents per $1,000 of assessed value per year. On an average property in the Town of Colonie assessed at $150,000, the average cost would be $6.69 annually.
Proposition No. 3 — School Safety Capital Project Proposal
School safety capital proposal to replace fire alarm and public address systems in all five elementary schools, along with improving the high school multi-use gymnasium sound system. The total cost for both projects would not exceed $750,000 and the funding would come from the Capital Reserve Fund. There would be no tax increase for this school safety project.
Board of Education Election
Electing three members to the Board of Education with new terms beginning July 1, 2019. Running unopposed are incumbents James Tim Ryan and David Kiehle, and newcomer Mike Keane.