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Guilderland adopts $91M school budget

Coaching cuts stayed, enrichment cuts made; tax hike set at 3.4 percent

— Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk, D-Duanesburg, said Guilderland students visited her office to insist funding for enrichment programs. Tkaczyk has visited other Board of Education meetings throughout the 46th Senate District to hear budgetary concerns first-hand.

“These were four middle school students who demanded that they be challenged,” she said. “I said, ‘Look, I’m doing all I can.’ They wanted a commitment from me. They were not letting me forget that their school was important with classes that they needed to challenge them.”

Aid restored at last minute

Tkaczyk said she, along with fellow Capital District legislators, pushed for at least $350 million of additional state aid from what Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget offered. The adopted state budget included more than $936 million over last year, according to Tkaczyk.

“I think (Cuomo) did listen to a lot of the advocacy that was going on around the state on this issue,” Tkaczyk said. “This is the first year I have seen so many people come to Albany to talk about this.”

The preliminary state aid projections for Guilderland total more than $21.4 million, which is about $374,000 more than what was originally expected before the state budget was passed. District officials pointed out that Guilderland received less aid in this school year than what was promised.

“While there is still a lot of work to be done to eliminate the GEA entirely and to reform the foundation formula that determines state funding for schools across the state, we are very appreciative for some relief during this very difficult financial time,” Wiles said. “We are in a better position than we were a couple of weeks ago.”

O’Connell said after the meeting the adopted budget “made the best of a very difficult situation,” and she was pleased to be able to restore some proposed cuts to maintain programming.

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