At its meeting on Tuesday, April 8, the Board of Education unanimously adopted a $77.3 million budget for next school year that carries a tax levy increase of 2.34 percent and maintains all current programs for students. The community will vote on the budget proposal on Tuesday, May 20.
If the budget is approved by voters, spending would increase 2.14 percent over the current year. However, due to years of state aid losses and spending reductions, total spending in the proposed budget is about $100,000, or 0.15 percent, greater than it was in 2011-12.
The proposed 2.34 percent tax levy increase is below the district's limit under the state's tax levy cap formula of 4.52 percent.
The combination of an administrative restructuring plan, retirement savings, and the use of reserve funds and a portion of a projected surplus in the current year helped close a budget gap without the need for any loss of student programs.
About $531,000 in additional aid in the final state budget helped the Board continue all programs while setting aside a portion of the increase to help meet future fiscal needs, and lowering the tax levy increase to 2.34 percent from a preliminary increase of 2.81 percent.
As part of its budget process, the Board decided to implement some program priorities for next year, which will provide some targeted student support and new opportunities. These include a teaching position at the elementary level to ensure adequate staffing for accelerated math and Academic Intervention Services, a 5th grade robotics unit, and the beginning of a distance learning program.
The Board also decided to restore funding for freshmen sports, which were reduced last year, as well as an additional day of late bus service at the middle school and high school levels.
Please watch the district website for opportunities to learn more about the proposed 2014-15 budget, including the Board's budget hearing to be held on Tuesday, May 6, at 7 p.m. in the District Office Board Room. The annual budget newsletter will be mailed to all residents in early May.
Voting will take place at Niskayuna High School from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, May 20.