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North Colonie adopts school budget

The North Colonie Board of Education adopted a nearly $90.1 million budget Monday, March 23, which is almost $1 million more than the originally proposed $89.2 million budget for the 2009-2010 budget year.

The increase represents the restoration of 2.6 staffing cuts that were originally proposed as two elementary school positions became vacant through retirement, and 0.6 positions at Shaker High School, according to Assistant Superintendent for Business Tom Rybaltowski.

With the new adopted budget comes an estimated 2.9 percent tax rate increase for district residents and a 4.4 percent increase in the overall levy.

What is different about this budget over previous years is that the tax rate will remain the same for both the businesses that lie within the school district, as well as the homes, because the adopted budget includes a plan for the district to go from a two-tier tax rate to a one-tier tax rate system.

The advantages of moving from the district's current two-tier tax rate system to a one-tier system are great, said Superintendent of Schools Randy Ehrenberg. First, residential property owners would see a smaller rate increase than commercial property owners, as the gap between the two rates would be eliminated.

School officials said another benefit of moving to a one-tier tax rate is that it is easier to explain it to the public.

According to Board of Education President Joan Hart, the North Colonie Central School District has had the two-tier tax rate for 10 years, and has been seeking a way to provide a break.""

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