On Tuesday, May 16, voters in the Niskayuna Central School District will decide on a proposed $107.8 million school budget for the 2023-24 school year. Voters will also decide on a bus purchase proposition and elect two members to the Board of Education.
The budget proposal continues all current student programs and services and staffing funded in the General Fund as well as nearly $4 million in new investments in education in our school district.
The budget calls for a tax levy increase of 2.34%, which is below the district’s tax cap for next year. The district is able to propose a tax levy increase below the cap, make new investments in student programs and services, and keep up with inflationary cost pressures in large part due to the state’s commitment to fully fund Foundation Aid for schools, including Niskayuna, for the first time ever in 2023-24.
New investments were guided by eight budget priorities that focused broadly on expanding educational access and opportunity, support for students and learning, and district operational needs, including facilities upkeep. Investing in student, faculty and staff support in particular were major community budget priorities identified earlier this winter through an online budget dialogue on the ThoughtExchange platform.
In addition to continuing all current student programs and services, additions to the budget include:
- A significant investment in addressing middle school class size and teaming, with the addition of 12.2 full-time equivalent teaching positions across both middle schools.
- Strengthened student support services and social-emotional learning capacity, including returning a counselor and a school psychologist position to the General Fund from grants, expanding special education programs, adding a school psychologist position and incorporating a grant-funded elementary social-emotional learning coach into the General Fund.
- A sizable investment in improving and maintaining facilities and educational equipment, including funds to refresh classroom furniture through a replacement cycle.
- Significant investments in data analysis and technology user support in light of the extensive use of technology in today’s classrooms.
- Funding needed to supplement a state grant and initiate the first-year of a Niskayuna Universal Prekindergarten Program. The district is working toward provider partnerships with the goal of up to three Prekindergarten classrooms in 2023-24.
- Overall, the budget includes the addition of 30 full-time equivalent positions.
The district designated fiscal sustainability as a budget priority from the start of the process, particularly in light of the coming expiration of one-time federal “COVID Relief Funds.” The district took action through this budget process to incorporate many positions that are currently supported by federal funds into the General Fund budget with a focus on sustaining critical investments over time.
A public hearing on the budget will be held on May 9 at 6 p.m. in the District Office Board Room, 1239 Van Antwerp Road.
What’s on the ballot?
School Budget of $107,805,164
- Spending increase: $7,952,097
- Tax levy increase: $1,453,249
Bus Purchase Proposition
$1,525,000 for nine new buses as part of the district’s long-term bus replacement plan.
Board of Education Election: Three Candidates for Two Open Seat
(Candidates are shown below in ballot order.)
- Kristin Duffy
- Jessica LaFex
- Sarah Tishler
Public Budget Hearing Information
Tuesday, May 9, 2023 • 6 p.m.
District Office Board Room, 1239 Van Antwerp Road
Tuesday, May 16 • 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. • Niskayuna High School
Absentee ballots are available at the District Office and will be issued upon request to residents who will be out of town or unable to vote at the polls due to illness or disability. Call the district clerk at (518) 377-4666, ext. 4, to obtain an absentee ballot and for information about deadlines.