Tax levy is below the cap; proposal calls for increasing student support, managing class size
On Tuesday, May 21, voters in the Niskayuna Central School District will decide on a proposed $87.5 million school budget for the 2019-20 school year.
Voting will take place at Niskayuna High School from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Voters should use the Balltown Road entrance to the campus and follow signs for parking and voting.
The budget proposal calls for a 2.35 percent tax levy increase, which is below the district’s 2.50 percent limit for next year based on the state’s tax-cap formula.
The spending plan continues all current student programs and contains a series of additions to increase student support, manage class sizes, and expand capacity in priority areas of operations, such as technology and buildings and grounds.
The proposed tax levy increase would enable the budget additions, which include two school social workers, three additional elementary class sections to manage class sizes, the restoration of a full-time librarian at each middle school and a high school alternative education teacher coordinator. See below for a full list of additions.
The district builds the budget from scratch each year, which means that expenditures are based on actual costs of personnel and other plans for the year ahead. If the budget is approved, spending would increase by nearly $3.3 million (3.89 percent) in the district next year.
Additions Funded in the Proposed Budget
- Three elementary class sections and increased special subject teaching staff, 4.65 full-time equivalent (FTE)
- A dedicated social worker for self-contained special education classes at Birchwood, 1.0 FTE
- Establishing a grades 3-5 Communications and Skills Development class at Hillside (reallocation of existing staff)
- Increased elementary special education staffing based on student needs, 1.5 FTE
- Restoration of a full-time library media specialist at each middle school, 1.0 FTE
- A full-time middle school social worker, 1.0 FTE
- English as a New Language teaching staff, 0.3 FTE
- Increased school psychology staffing based on student needs (0.3 FTE)
- A high school alternative education teacher coordinator, 1.0 FTE
- A full-time athletic trainer, 1.0 FTE
- A half-time information technology (IT) director and a network technician and systems technician (contracted)
- IT contractual increases to support systems
- An additional groundskeeper, 1.0 FTE
- Two pickup trucks for the Operations & Maintenance Department
- A video camera system for the bus fleet
Total: 12.75 FTE / $1,596,272