COLONIE The North Colonie Board of Education adopted a 2013-14 budget on Monday, April 22, that carries a 4.32 percent increase to the tax levy, which is within the state tax cap.
The board voted unanimously to adopt the $98.2 million budget, which will go to a public vote May 21. The budget increases spending over the current year’s plan by 4.25 percent and although the district will not be exceeding the tax levy limit, the approved budget hits the maximum levy limit of 4.32 percent.
The district will also be receiving an additional $290,000 in state aid, $251,000 of it attributed to the Gap Elimination Adjustment. Superintendent D. Joseph Corr said he recommends the district uses the remaining money to increase the fund balance, which stands at about $4 million.
Administrators said the district looks to attrition for savings and has not laid off any full-time instructional employees. Officials said they are not proposing any program cuts this year. Some attrition will be determined based on enrollment-driven reductions.
As in recent years, the increase in spending was attributed to rising costs for the district. The Teachers Retirement System contribution rate will be increasing, bringing the district’s share of the contribution up to 20.9 percent. Officials said more than 60 percent of the 2013-14 budget increase, about $2.5 million, is due to rising pension costs.
“The largest single reason for the increase in our 2013-14 budget is due to the increase in ERS and TRS rates,” Assistant Superintendent for Business Thomas Rybaltowski said in a statement.
Officials said savings were sought in other areas, including cuts to utilities of $550,000, maintenance projects by $73,000 and debt service by $183,000.
Some other enhancements will be made, administrators said, including elementary professional development. Six instructional coaches will be used to help with the new Common Core Learning Standards and restricting special education services.