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North Colonie prepares budget presentation

The North Colonie School District met Monday, March 31, to discuss the PowerPoint presentation it will use to explain its budget, which was adopted Monday, March 24.

According to Assistant Superintendent for Business Thomas Rybaltowski, the most important difference between this budget and those of years past is the inclusion of the annexation of the Maplewood Commons School District.

This is our first year accounting for Maplewood, he said. "The district has been separate for over 50 years, in fact, I think since the 1920s, and this year it will cease to exist and become part of our district."

While last year's "all-encompassing budget," said Rybaltowski, was $79.5 million, this year's is about $88.5 million. However, the increase represents several new elements being added to the school district.

Superintendent of Schools Randy Ehrenberg said these additions will "directly impact students' lives."

A few of the line items covered in the budget include more physical education time for grades one to three; a foreign language department, which will begin in grades five and six; an "at risk" program at Shaker Junior High School, which will help students struggling with behavioral or non-academic issues manage their problems so that they are able to do well academically; the "RISE" program, which will assist non-special education students at Shaker High School who require a more intensive education program to graduate; and an increase in the technology budget, following the current four-year replacement cycle for computers the district is on.

Rybaltowski also pointed out that the North Colonie Central School District has a unique method for paying for its bus service.

"Funding of buses is within our budget," he said.

By paying for buses with cash, as opposed to borrowing money from outside lenders, as many school districts do, the North Colonie Central School District is actually able to save money by not accumulating interest, said Rybaltowski.

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