Proposed 2022-23 Budget: Sustainable investments to meet students’ needs

Dear Niskayuna families, staff and community members,

At the March 15 Board of Education meeting, I presented a proposed budget for the next school year.

The district started with a draft budget that reflected the priority investments that our Board and school community identified through the budget development process. From there, the district administration worked to create a proposed budget that maintains all current student programs and services, while investing sustainably in critical student and operational support.

The proposed budget includes a number of priority investments in instructional and support staff. Those priorities were identified over the last several months by the Board and our departments as important areas to support student success and social and emotional needs, meet state mandates and ensure the district is operating safely, effectively and efficiently.

The $101 million proposed budget calls for a 2.87% tax levy increase, which is the district’s limit for next year based on the state’s tax cap formula.

The district’s revenue is projected to increase by $6.8 million overall compared to last year, including a $4 million increase in Foundation Aid proposed in the Governor’s state budget. Additionally, the budget proposes using a portion of reserves and fund balance to minimize the impact of this year’s staffing additions on property taxes while continuing to advance our commitment to academic excellence.

The school budget is guided by the district’s strategic plan, which focuses on advancing curriculum and programs, meeting student social and emotional needs and providing safe and welcoming schools for all students. Some of the proposed staff additions include:

  • Additional funding for social and emotional supports for students, including a School Social Worker
  • Additional high school sections to meet enrollment needs, which are a partial restoration of prior year reductions
  • Special education program growth to meet student needs
  • A Director of Human Resources to ensure the district is operating effectively
  • Staff to ensure safety during arrival and dismissal of students at the elementary schools

By phasing in needed staffing additions over time and strategically using a portion of our reserves and fund balance this year to invest in critical staff, we are continuing to set the district up for financial stability in the years to come.

The Board of Education discussion on March 15 asked that the district consider options to reduce the use of reserves and fund balance, as well as consider funding a Director of Pupil and Personnel Services to support the special education program. We’re reviewing the proposed budget to incorporate the Board’s direction and the budget development process will continue with a budget discussion at the Board of Education’s March 29 meeting.

I’m looking forward to working with the Board to propose a budget that sustainably invests in the resources our students need to continue excelling. The budget process will require finding a balance between the resources we know our students need and the costs, and our budget does that effectively.

Yours in education,

Juliette Pennyman, Ed.D.
Interim Superintendent of Schools

2022-23 Budget Process: Key Dates

  • January 4 – Budget Direction by Board of Education
  • March 1 – Presentation of draft budget to Board of Education
  • March 15 – Superintendent’s Proposed Budget Presented to the Board
  • March 29 – Board of Education Budget Discussion, 6 p.m., District Office Board Room
  • April 12 – Final Budget Presentation by the Superintendent & Budget Adoption, 6 p.m., District Office Board Room
  • April 19 – Last Date for Budget Adoption (Special Meeting if Needed)
  • May 10 – Budget Hearing, 6 p.m., District Office Board Room
  • May 17 – School Budget Vote, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., Niskayuna High School