The North Colonie Central School District adopted a more than $88 million budget at the Monday, March 24, Board of Education meeting.
According to Shaker High School Parent Teacher Student Association President Nancy Russell, this year's budget increase is almost 2 percent down from last year's adopted 2.4 percent increase, credited by board members as the smallest increase in a decade.
Thomas Ryboltowski, assistant superintendent for business, said it is difficult to compare last year's budget increase to this year's. It's not really an apples-to-apples comparison because next year we're combining districts with the Maplewood"Colonie Common School District and taking on their entire budget," he said referring to the annexation of the Maplewood School, which was approved by the board in October.
Ryboltowski said the Maplewood-Colonie Common School District's budget is currently about $3 million, and the district supports kindergarten through eighth grade.
According to Russell, the school district was given more leg room for the budget due to other advances in the district being approved earlier this year. These advances include Maplewood's annexation, expected to generate the receipt of around $30 million over the next 14 years in Operating Incentive Aid, and the EXCEL vote, a $7 million capital funding project that will cover infrastructure repair and individual school improvements.
"These infrastructures are the nuts and bolts of the schools," said Russell.
By having these costs already covered by the state, the board was able to develop a budget with less of an increase than last year.
Kim Greiner, principal of the Bought Hills Elementary School, said infrastructure funding will cover the cost of the elevator being built in the Maplewood School.
"Things that are put on the back burner get covered as well with less cost on taxpayers directly," she said.
Ryboltowski said this year's budget will represent a 3.75 percent tax rate increase. However, the board expects that the annexation of the Maplewood-Colonie Common School District will help stabilize tax rates in the future. Officials said the breakdown of the impact on taxpayers will be available on the district's Web site, www.northcolonie.org, in the coming days. See spotlightnews.com for updates to this story.