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school budget vote is may 19, 2015

Overview of Proposed 2015-16 School Budget

Budget total: $78,085,313

Spending increase: $771,897 (+1.0%)

Tax levy increase: $0

View the 2015-16 budget document [PDF, 53MB]

Your Schools Budget Newsletter [PDF]


The May 19 Ballot

- Proposed 2015-16 School Budget

- Board of Education Election: Six candidates are running for two seats |Candidate profiles

Proposed $78.1 million school budget carries no tax levy increase

"Built from scratch," spending plan continues focus on students and learning

On Tuesday, May 19, voters in the Niskayuna Central School District will decide on a $78.1 million budget proposal for the 2015-16 school year that maintains all current programs and services and invests in several priority areas. The budget calls for no tax levy increase from the current year.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Niskayuna High School. Voters will also choose from among six candidates to fill two seats on the Board of Education.

If the budget is approved, spending in the district would go up 1.0 percent, or $771,897, from the current year.

After several years of cuts, the budget proposal provides funding to address areas that district leaders have identified as priorities, including additional teaching staff to help manage class sizes, an investment in Niskayuna teachers to build curriculum aligned with new learning standards, and increased funding for classroom supplies and equipment.

The proposed budget was "built from scratch." This means that instead of simply moving all current expenditures into next year and adjusting for cost increases, the proposal was developed based on an analysis of staffing, program and operational needs, district priorities, and actual costs.

This budget-building process, combined with an operating surplus projected for the current year, help explain how the district is able to put forward a proposal that calls for new investments and a spending increase of 1.0 percent but no tax levy increase. A state aid increase of nearly $900,000 also helped balance the budget without the need for additional local tax revenue.

"Over the past year, we have called for the district to return its focus squarely to students and learning above all else, and we have taken concrete steps to do just that," Interim Superintendent John Yagielski said. "We believe this proposal is right in line with this focus and will allow us to continue and build upon the progress we have made this year."


Seven key areas addressed by the 2015-16 budget proposal

Adequate funds for classroom supplies, materials, and equipment - Includes a more than 10 percent increase in these areas.

Careful management of class sizes - Includes up to two elementary sections to implement the "flex zone" plan and manage K-5 class sizes, high school sections based on course requests, and the ability to meet unanticipated enrollment increases

Investing in Niskayuna faculty - Includes funding to initiate a multi-year plan for Niskayuna teachers to develop curriculum aligned with world-class learning standards using the Common Core as a foundation, and also supports attendance at key conferences and workshops

Improving instructional support for all schools - Includes consolidating the leadership for instruction and expanding the teacher leader pilot

Strengthening leadership for student services and support - Includes an additional social worker at the secondary level and part-time deans of students at the middle schools

Addressing key central service items - Includes a return to district employment of bus drivers and the completion of unfinished capital project work

Protecting and preserving facilities and fixed assets - Includes a multi-year plan to replace equipment across the district.