South Colonie adopts budget

The Colonie Central School district will send an $89.4 million budget to voters in May, a spending plan with less than a 1 percent increase in expenditures.

There is a proposed tax levy increase of 3.25 percent for Colonie residents, 5.05 percent for Niskayuna residents and 7.15 percent for Guilderland residents.

The district held a series of workshops beginning in January to help come up with a budget to present to voters.

For the last six months this has been a long and demanding process for everyone involved, Superintendent John Buhner said.

He said a lot of hard work went into the budget process with the ultimate goal of "protecting academic integrity."

The budget was difficult and forced school officials to "often times mak[e] decisions we really did not want to make," Buhner said.

Despite facing a $3.7 million reduction in state aid, Buhner said the budget going to voters on May 18 includes some cuts in order in expenses to offset excessive tax hikes.

"As a district we are sensitive to the financial challenges that our community is facing in this recession and we realize that the massive reduction in state aid should not result in significantly higher property taxes, Buhner said. "With that said, we have made approximately $3 million in reductions to the district's overall expenses."

District officials are also planning to use half of its fund balance- $4.5 million to help offset some of the state aid cuts.

"I do believe we have built a sound budget," he said.

The budget calls for the elimination of eight Kindergarten through sixth grade positions, eight grade seven through 12 positions, two teaching assistant positions, 6.9 special-education teaching assistant positions and the elimination of 20 temporary and probationary monitor positions, the BOCES safety administrator and the operation and maintenance supervisor, according to information from the district.

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