S. Colonie adopts $91.1 million school budget

One of the major problems the district faced was the $20 million in mandates handed down by the state and federal governments. Miller said it is unfeasible to eliminate those costs from the budget and said she hopes legislators are more considerate next year.

"If it passes a tax cap, it must take the mandates into account," she said of the proposed 2 percent tax cap. "I think there are some misnomers with the property tax cap and I think the general public would need a lot of education on it. It we be a 2 percent cap on the levy. In Colonie, there's three different taxing entities they could shift based on equalization rates due to changes and assessments. So people would then be voting on the tax levy maximum, they wouldn't be voting on the budget."

For next year, Miller said the aid from the Federal Education and Jobs fund will be gone, already adding a $1.1 million to the district's deficit for next year. She said that is something it will have to take into account.

Casey said with the new teacher evaluation system proposed by Governor Andrew Cuomo, he is questioning as to who is going to pay for it.

"Who is doing the evaluation?" he said. "And if a teacher is fired, are they going to fight it? Then we'd have to hire a lawyer because they would go through the unions."

There was some issue with the public over the $1 million increase in the budget for teachers' salaries. Miller said Superintendent Jon Buhner has been in discussions with the collective bargaining units, but said it has to be a mutual agreement to reopen contract negotiations.

"It cannot be one-sided," she said. "Both sides have to mutually agree to open discussions."

Casey said that both side are frustrated. He said teachers do want to look at their contracts. But after a few years of working on school budgets, he said he's now able to understand how to construct a schools budget.

"You have to go through and make this work for kids," he said. "We're stewards of the taxpayer dollar. We have to spend prudent and get more bang for our buck."

He encourages more people to come out to the school board meetings or even run for a school board position to get a better handle on exactly what goes on in constructing a district budget.

"There are a lot of things people don't see when they don't come to meetings," he said.


Vote on this Story by clicking on the Icon


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment