Council of Albany Neighborhood Associations Minutes: May 7, 2008
Guest Speaker: Dr. Eva Joseph, Albany School District, School
Dr. Joseph discussed the 2008 - 2009 proposed school budget. She stated that they began strategic planning for the budget last November and spent time deliberating what their mission was.
The budget for 2008-2009 will be $206 million, which is a 17.9% increase with a 2.49% tax levy increase. Dr. Joseph pointed out that this was one of the lowest increases in the Capital Region.
She than went over how the funds will be spent, detailing that 59% would go towards instructors and personnel, this is the lion-share of the budget. 21% of the budget will go towards capital (debt service), and 8% toward administration. Dr. Joseph explained that 12% this year will go for charter schools and that this total will increase to 34% in three to four years.
The goal of this budget is to maintain and expand where programs are successful, and Dr. Joseph than pointed out what those programs were. She stated that early childhood educationwas very important and that they plan to have full day kindergarten for four year olds next year.
Dr. Joseph than discussed the school construction that is currently underway, with the building of “state of the art facilities.” She explained that Giffen and TOAST will be the last projects and that next year decisions will have to be made about the middle schools.
The school district will continue to sustain its focus on small class sizes, strong academic programs, and safe and orderly schools. Dr. Joseph explained that there is discussion of program reduction, but very rarely do they talk of cutting enhancement programs. She went on to detail the full continuum of supports that the district offers such as the full service schools to help improve student behavior and that they are “smartly committed” to special education.
For 2008/2009, the school district will be focusing on improving programs, extending pre-k, and expanding or creating programs that work best for the students. She detailed how the school day next year will be extended by one full period for high school and the plans to create an Academy of Engineering.
Dr. Joseph also talked about the “Contract for Excellence” and how the district is receiving extra aid from that (with accountability). She pointed out that “we do it all the time” and did not require an award incentive.
Questions and answers followed:
impact of expanded school day
Guest Speaker: John Burke/Interim Director, Albany Public
John Burke discussed the Albany Public Library budget, and then went into detail about the Albany Public Library Branch Improvement Plan.
John emphasized that Albany has great libraries (on time, on
budget) and described the five projects that are currently in process.
The projects involved three renovations (
The Pine Hills Library will take over the entire building and double its size. Howe will become handicapped accessible and include a new parking lot, and Delaware will relocate to a former funeral home on Delaware Avenue. These projects will start in mid-June, take 10-12 months to complete (spring 2009).
The Arbor Hill library will be a single story building with an “exuberant” look and the New Scotland Avenue library (renamed the John J. Bach Library) will relocate to a lot next to the fire station and have a garden and trees integrated into the building.
John stated that the Arbor Hill library will be temporarily moved to the Albany Housing Authority on South Pearl Street and the Pine Hills library will move to a currently undisclosed place.
John also announced that a public budget presentation would take on May 13 and that more information was available in the newsletter. He went into more detail about the budget stating that the propose tax levy o f $6,471,966 represents a 4.13 percent increase and that it would cost approximately $3.80 more per year on a $100,000 home.
The next topic was the Library Board of Trustee seat that was currently open and would be on the May 20th ballot. John then took questions from CANA members.
Guest Speaker: Harris Oberlander, CO of Trinity Institution
Mr. Oberlander discussed Ultimate Housing Services, the microenterprise that he runs. He described what they as apartment turnover and cleanup. His workforce cleans up apartments and prepares them for new tenants. He explained that his employees understand the importance of detail and responsiveness and that work has been busy. He also explained that they do not have set rates but survey a project and give written estimates.
Minutes: Minutes of
the April 2, 2008 meeting were approved.
Committee on University and Community Relations: The next meeting was set for May 14th, and would update their “Spring, 2008 Six-Point Plan.” This is a plan for the departure of off-campus college students. Tom also discussed their recent advertising campaign.
Police Issues: Officer Matt Montesano discussed recent burglaries and the new command vehicle that was purchased with NYS Impact Grant Funds. He described it as a “mobile police station.” He also warned that since it is warm out to open windows on the first floor and garage doors are inviting targets for burglars.
Lynne Jackson discussed Capital Bicycle Month, their legislative agenda at the Capitol and the other cycling events taking place that month.
Mike O’Brien updated everyone on the status of the draft proposal that would regarding the Zoning and Planning Boards. More discussions were suggested.
Codes: Joyce discussed the recently completed” A-Z” codes guide.
The meeting adjourned at 8:58 pm.
May 7 Attendees