As we approach mid February, South Colonie district leadership continues work to develop a budget proposal for the 2022-23 school year, which district residents will vote on in May. Many factors influence the development of a school budget, including the tax levy limit, or “tax cap”.
Recently, state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli announced that the allowable growth factor for school budgets this year will be capped at 2% for the first time since 2019. According to state law, this factor is designed to either match the rate of inflation or be capped at the 2% maximum. Despite its name, the allowable growth factor is just one part of the formula that determines the district’s tax levy increase. The Comptroller’s office calculated the rate of inflation at 4.7%, which is the highest it has been since the tax cap was signed into law. The rising cost of goods and services, caused by the high cost price index (CPI) of 4.7% takes a toll on not only school districts, but the entire community. This impacts the price of bread and milk; but also the cost of keeping the lights on in schools, the supplies students use to make arts and crafts projects and the cost of health insurance for school employees.
South Colonie’s goal in developing a budget proposal for the upcoming school year will be to find the right balance between what our community can support and the cost of providing every student with the highest quality education.
Funds from property taxes are one of the two stable funding sources that school districts rely on to provide quality public education to students in the community, with state funds being the second reliable source. While we are grateful for increased investments in education from both federal and state sources, we continue to work on developing long-term, sustainable fiscal plans for the district.
As the budget development process continues, please look for more information from the district office about this year’s budget proposal.
The first draft of the 2022-2023 school year budget will be presented to the South Colonie Board of Education on Tuesday, March 15 during the regularly scheduled Board Meeting. Community members are encouraged to view this presentation on the district’s YouTube channel.