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S. Col taxpayers get a break

Amount owed comes in under projected increase

The South Colonie Board of Education on Tuesday Aug. 31, announced that school taxes will only go up by 1.25 percent, a significant decrease from the 3.17 percent originally projected for the 2010-2011 school year.

The change is due to a lack of new construction projects, few challenges in the assessment and more vacancies in tenant space, according to Colonie Sole Assessor Ron Monfils.

We're still better off than some other towns, said Monfils. "Also, we didn't get as much of a tax base."

Board President Brian Casey said this will help the school district, adding that they will be able to bring back some of the programs they had cut under the original budget.

"We may implement some programs we had to cut," he said. "Some things like field trips, extracurricular activities and the afterschool program."

He added that they will be able to bring back teachers that were furloughed, or as Casey said, "laid off."

"We're going to make sure that the money taxpayers have given us is to educate the kids," he said. "Our mission is to educate the children."

Beverly K. Miller, the assistant superintendent for management services, said the reason for the uncertainty in what the tax rate would be is due to the school budget being voted on in May while the equalization rates and the changes in assessment have still not been figured out.

"Traditionally, districts vote in May, the equalization rate is set in July and the assessment is set in August," she explained. "School districts never know the full information. They go on estimates."

Casey said that having a late New York state budget made things harder. He added that he hopes they can get some of the recently awarded Race To The Top funding now so the district could plan more things and find the needs for the 2011-2012 school year.

Other towns in the district, such as Niskayuna and Guilderland, will have a tax rate of $16.11 per $1,000 and $18.95 per $1,000 respectively.

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