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Council of Albany Neighborhood Associations

Meeting Minutes May 4, 2005

Albany Public Library


1)     Introductions

·        The representative of the Albany Public Library called attention to the Library’s proposed budget included in the newsletter distributed to all present and announced the Library’s partnership with Civil Liberties and the related gallery of photographs on display.

·        A representative of the student community partnership announced a march on Friday, May 6 at the Capitol building to call attention to “Cover the Uninsured Week.” 


2)     Guest Speakers:


Albany City School District Superintendent  Dr. Eva Joseph


Dr. Joseph presented information about the District’s proposed 2005-2006 school budget that will be voted upon on May 17, 2005 .


The proposed spending plan is $157,037,632 which represents a budget-to-budget increase of $11.6 million and a tax rate of 3.9% or an additional $.85 per $1,000 of assessed property value.


This year’s budget was developed by first identifying the district’s academic goals and then determining the dollars required to fund them, rather than simply determining how to spend funds.  Five academic goals have been identified.  Items that are presently being maintained as well as new goals were explained.


Goal 1:  All schools meet Adequate Yearly Progress


Maintained:  small class sizes; full-day pre-K; alternative ed; literacy program; CSR (Comprehensive School Reform) programs


New Goals:  interval testing; International Baccalaureate Program; mentor teacher program; curriculum pacing maps; new math standards


Goal 2:  Eliminate achievement gap


Maintained:  Special ed services and supports; academic assistance program (for athletes); homeless youth services


New Goals:  Summer school for all; funding for SAT and regents prep courses; cultural and ethnic sensitivity training for staff; additional honors classes


Goal 3:  Implement and operate a system of successful middle level programs


New Goals:  Restructure Hackett and PLMA (maintain magnet program at PLMA); comparable academic programs with additional math and English classes; advisor-advisee program; expanded technology; adolescent literacy program; additional staffing


Goal 4:  Maintain safe schools and student health services


Maintain:  Current safety initiatives; know your body; drop out prevention; health screenings; violence prevention


New Goals:  Hire new safe schools coordinator; Miles of Smiles dental services


Goal 5:  Meeting long range facilities plan targets


Maintained:  Debt service payments

New Goals:  Open Montessori Magnet, Kelton Court Middle School, PS 20, PS 27, and PS 18; rebuild/renovate Hackett, PS 16 and PS 18; spearhead high school referendum (May 2006)


The estimated tax rate increase is 3.9 percent.   


Charter school payments account for 2.5% of the 3.9 tax rate and the TSR/ERS accounting change accounts for 1.6%.


Areas in which the district is cutting back include 13.5% for materials and supplies; 29.4 teaching/instructional reductions (6 layoffs); 3 administrative positions; and various support staff reductions.


The budget represents an increase of 85 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. 


Revenue Summary for 2005-2006

Local revenue - 7%

Fund Balance - 3.1%

State Aid - 31.1% (no aid provided for charters)

Property Tax - 57.9% (higher rate than other area districts)


Expenditure Summary for 2005-2006

Program (staff) – 75.9%

Capital – 14.6%

Administrative 9.5%


If the proposed budget is not approved by voters, the proposed $157 million will be cut by $7.3 million.


There are 3 propositions on the May 17, 2005 , ballot:  School budget, Albany Public Library 5% tax levy increase; non-binding poll, “Do you support the way charter schools are funded?”


Other issues Dr. Joseph addressed included


1.      Charter schools:  Charter schools are funded on a per student basis; each time a student enrolls, the City school budget is cut by $9,332.  Charter schools have projected their 2005-2006 enrollment will be 250, but the district expects it to be less. Exit interviews indicate it may be 134.

2.      8 Schools have been impacted by the facilities plan.  School 27 will open in January; schools 16 and 18 are scheduled to be demolished.  Plans are being considered for restructuring of the high school to scale down groups and create more separate entities within the school.

3.      The building that houses the Montessori School is presently leased to the district, but eventually will be purchased.

4.      The city will have 6 middle schools when new charters open. Funding for the facilities improvement plan has been negatively impacted by the establishment of charter schools. 

5.      The NYS Senate and Assembly are being asked to consider the fact that Albany has an extraordinary number of locations that are exempt from property tax in assigning state aid.

6.      Grants for $19 million are not included in the budget because they are awarded for specific, dedicated purposes

7.      The district is reimbursed for approximately $100,000 of cable and broadband services.

8.      Public Access Television is not viewed  in the schools.

9.      Livingston may close if charter school enrollment increases.

10.   Structural problems at Arbor Hill Elementary School continue to cause the roof to leak.  Destruction is being considered and the issue may or may not be offered to taxpayers for a vote.

11. After reviewing staff salaries and benefits, employees are not paying 3 percent of their health insurance premiums.  This issue will be focused upon in future contract negotiations.

12. The facilities improvement team and board of education hold contractors and inspectors accountable for work on the schools.


A motion was made and passed stating that CANA supports the proposed school budget for 2005-2006.


Additionally, a motion was made and passed stating that CANA does not support the method in which charter schools are funded.


The Albany Public Library budget includes a request for an increase in order to fund personnel.  A motion was made and passed to support the library budget.


Nick DiLello – Albany Department of Building and Codes


After 20 years as a building inspector, Nick DiLello has taken responsibility for the City’s Building and Codes Department. 


 Building permit applications are reviewed the day after they are received.  If they are for minor projects, they are approved and the permit is issued that day. 


Code enforcement complaints are addressed rapidly as well.  There are seven inspectors and each is assigned to a zone of the City.  Building owners have 21 days to correct code violations and if they do not, they will be notified to appear in court and pay a fine. 


The city provides free architectural services to those wishing to rehabilitate buildings.


Issues of a rental property registry, 60 Colvin Avenue , out of town purchasers, St. John’s Church and the Wellington Hotel are being aggressively addressed.


The CANA Codes committee meets with the City Department of Building and Codes monthly.


Mr. DiLello encourages members to call him personally to report violations or discuss issues at 434-2218.


3)     Announcements and New Business


·        The 2005 Annual Members meeting of the Neighborhood Resource Center will be held Tuesday, May 10, 2005 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM at the Sage College Campus Center .  Reservations are required by calling 964-6208.The following will be presented:

o       Special Tribute:  Elfrieda Textores and Emily Grisom

o       Thomas J. Senchyna Neighborhood Service Award:  Kathleen Kearney

o       Certificates of recognition:  Tom Kelley, Spectrum 8 Theatres, Friends of the Madison, Harold Rubin


·        The second Annual Mansion Neighborhood House and Garden Tour will be held June 5 from 12 PM to 5 PM .  Free parking is available at the State garage.  Tickets are $12 or $15 and are available at the Book House and Romeos.


·        The Committee on University & Community Relations has notified students of the upcoming trash to treasure program and special spring cleanup days.


4)         The meeting adjourned at 9:00PM .



Submitted by

Deanna Colfels




May 4, 2005

Meeting Attendees





Craig Waltz

979 New Scotland Ave

Daniel VanRiper

Lincoln Park NA

Mac Mowbray

400 Hamilton St

Eileen Murray

114 So Main Ave

John Paneto

11 Rosemary Dr. Ext.

Colin McKnight



Marggie Skinner


Pat Maxon

34 Victor St



Albany Schools

33 Essex Street

John Cirrin

Albany Public Library

Lorenz Worden


127 South Pine

Gene Solan

Pine Hills

126 So. Allen St

Harold Rubin

Center Square

Nick DiLello

Dept. Building & Codes

Holly Katz


John W. O’Grady

West End NA

Joe Cunniff


10 Crosswell St

Karen Cunniff


Mary Connair


68 Summit Ave

Kelly Kimbraugh



Howard Stoller


Tom Gebhardt

University at Albany


Fred Perkins


11 Woodlawn Ave

Jeff Cannell

Albany Public Library

161 Washington Ave

Andrew Harvey


271 Myrtle Ave