George, Director of Business Affairs, Albany Public Schools
proposed 2004-2005 school budget spending plan is $147,918,715.
It represents a budget-to-budget increase of 7.7% or $10.6 million.
If adopted, the estimated tax rate would increase 10% or an additional
$2.07 per $1,000 of assessed property value.
If proposition #3 (to sell property for $500,000 on
budget increase is a result of no increase in state aid except for the
facilities project; the fact that the district will make its first full debt
service payment of $4.6 million (almost half of the estimated tax rate
increase); mandated increase for expenses such as health insurance, pension
fund, special education cost; a $250,000 increase in funding for charter
schools. (Aid to charter schools is
based on enrollment--not attendance.) The
district is arguing against any more charter schools in
will be experienced by reducing expenditures in several budgets.
Materials & supplies budget will be reduced by 10%; equipment will be
reduced by 50%, and travel and conferences by 50%.
Professional development expenses will not be affected.
The district will contract instead of hire individuals to perform
specialized services such as mechanics.
Retiring staff will be replaced by new employees with lower salary
levels. Classes are getting smaller
and the teacher student ratio will be changed from 1 per 19.3. to 1 to 18.2.
to the budget include kindergarten testing tool, expansion of college center
hours, athletic coaches & uniforms and e-rate technology purchases.
However, the e-rate purchases actually bring revenue to the district.
For every $10 spent on technology equipment, telecommunication companies
reimburse districts $90.
reduction for previous years will retire next year and will offset this year's.
The State has had a change in procedures and has slowed down aid the
included in the budget are additions through federal grants rather than the
general budget. Included are items
such as elementary-level tutoring, additional after-school AIS programs,
classroom libraries, science labs, Saturday & summer science programs,
professional development, social studies instructional materials.
tax impact for the average homeowner will be an increase of $207 without STAR.
With basic STAR it will be about $145, and with enhanced STAR it will be
revenue sources are: Fund balance
2.4%; Federal aid 0.8%; local revenue (interest income, charges to other
schools, consumer utility bills, payments in lieu of taxes) 6.8%; state aid
(formula driven) 28.4%; and property tax 61.6%.
expenditures include program 75.9%; administrative 9.2%, and capital 14.9%.
the school budget is not approved by voters on May 18, it can be offered for
approval again twice before a contingency is put into place.
To reach a contingency level while maintaining mandated increases, all
programs would be under consideration for reduction or elimination.
Charter schools are held harmless.
propositions offered for voting will include
Proposition 1 - School budget
Proposition 2 - Albany Public Library budget and candidates for Library
Board of Trustees
Proposition 3 -
Proposition 4 - Modifications to transportation policies to bus students
who reside 1.5 miles from the school they attend
facilities improvement projects are on schedule.
The two new Schuyler schools will open in September of this year.
School 26 will be demolished. In
September 2005 Schools 20 and 27 will reopen and Montessori and
district has partnered with the Albany County Health Department and insurers to
help enroll families for free insurance. The
Miles of Smiles dental van will visit schools.
Fahey requested that
Residents dislike the tax increase that is partly due to the charter
School buildings are being constructed and/or renovated on schedule
Voters would be more comfortable about passing this budget if the
situation with the third middle school were
Taxpayers are only now hearing about the change in the State Aid payment
It will cost $50,000 to study the athletic facility plan.
If the budget is voted down, it will mean a big hit on programs.
The budget is rather tight and members were surprised by the debt service
The alternatives to passing this budget are dismal and severe cuts would
devastate the struggling school system
The school board strongly opposes charger schools; 5% of the proposed
budget would go to
the resolution to join the Vote Yes (for the School Budget) Coalition was
next meeting will be Wednesday, May 12 at the Albany Police Department at
committees need new leaders and members who will identify the relevant issues,
get involved, and follow through. Members
are urged to volunteer for these committees.
The meeting adjourned at