School Budget Vote & Board Election is Tuesday, May 18

Tax levy increase is 1.17%; Proposal continues all current student programs and support

On Tuesday, May 18, voters in the Niskayuna Central School District will decide on a proposed $93.1 million budget for the 2021-22 school year. The proposal continues all current student programs and support services with a tax levy increase just above 1 percent.

Voters will also decide on a bus purchase proposition, elect two members to the Board of Education and consider a ballot proposition that would increase future board terms to four years from the current three years.

The budget proposal calls for a spending increase of 2.49 percent and a tax levy increase of 1.17 percent, which is the district’s limit for next year based on the state’s tax cap formula. Because the district is not exceeding the cap, the support of a simple majority of voters (50% plus one) is needed for the budget to be approved.

The spending plan continues all current student programs and services, including mental health and other student supports added in recent years. Budget additions for next year include increasing to a full-time technology director – a need made even more apparent over the past year – and an athletic supervisor position to ensure that student-athletes, teams and coaches have the necessary support. Additionally, staffing for next year provides the ability to restore the Freshman Health Seminar, a program cut about a decade ago, which will support the social and emotional health of students and address important topics at a critical time in their development.

The budget does reflect the net reduction of nine positions overall, although a portion of these are through attrition, leaving positions being vacated by retirements unfilled.

At the beginning of the budget process there were 15 instructional retirements planned at the end of this year. Overall, approximately 6.5 of these positions will not be filled. Three other positions in the current budget to meet specific student needs will not be required next year.

Based on course requests at the high school and middle school student enrollment, 4.15 full-time equivalent (FTE) positions are being reduced. Adjusting staffing based on student course requests and enrollment is an annual process.

There are no reductions in elementary teaching positions. This preserves the progress of the Class Size Management Plan that was phased in over the last several years.

The district builds the budget from scratch each year, which means expenses are based on actual costs of personnel and other plans for the year ahead.