The Saratoga Springs City School District Board of Education adopted a 2008-2009 budget of just over $107 million at its meeting Tuesday night, April 8.
The budget, coming in at $107,353,350 shows a 2.92 percent from last year's budget of $104 million.
Superintendent Janice White said the proposed budget increase is on par with the projected consumer price index change of 2.8 percent, indicating that a majority of costs were comparable to those taxpayers might experience at home. She said the majority of budget increases were in areas where taxpayers would find them in their own homes: food, fuel and utility costs.
Despite those increases, White said, the district did not have to make drastic cuts in other areas.
We believe it is an educationally sound budget, she said.
White said the 4 percent tax levy increase stems from a decrease in state funding. The state considers Saratoga Springs City Schools to be a district of high income and high property value, she said, and that means state aid is not increasing at the same rate as the district's costs.
Tax rates will vary within the district's perimeter, increasing from 2 to 6 percent, depending on location, Assistant Superintendent for Business Kurt Jaeger said. For Saratoga Springs residents, the tax rate would increase an estimated 2 percent to $13.75 per $1,000 of assessed value, he said. Wilton and Greenfield taxpayers would probably pay more than 2 percent, Jaeger said, though those numbers were not final due to reassessments in those municipalities.
On the ballot the same day as the budget are three veteran Saratoga Springs Board of Education trustees running for re-election. Francis Palumbo, the current school board president, Mia Pfitzer and Jeff Piro, all first elected in 1999, are running as a team for three-year terms. According to a prepared statement announcing the trio's ticket, all three have held leadership positions during the nine years each has served on the board, "experiences which have equipped them to help the Saratoga Springs City School District continue to expand its position as one of the Capital Region's top school districts." Palumbo is a licensed landscape architect and site development group manager for C.T. Male Associates P.C. in Latham, an engineering firm. He has two children in the school district.