May 13, 2013
To our Niskayuna School Community Members:
As many of you are aware, the Niskayuna School District faces a substantial budget gap for the coming 2013-2014 school year. This budget gap is attributable to diminished revenues, mainly from reduced state aid over the course of the past five years, and rising costs, a substantial percentage over which the district has no control (pension contributions, health insurance). When the 2013-2014 budget discussions began, a nearly 12% tax levy would have been necessary to close the budget gap without effectuating any cuts.
On April 9, 2013, after much deliberation, the Board of Education adopted a budget which represents a budget to budget increase of 1.31%, and a tax levy increase of 5.76%. This budget is over the “tax cap,” or “tax levy threshold” which is calculated at 4.66% (and not the “2%” we hear discussed). The proposed budget requires the support of 60% of the voters.
If the proposed budget falls short of the required 60% support on May 21st, New York State law allows for another budget vote in June on either the same budget or a revised budget. If the Board of Education chooses to propose a budget at the tax cap/tax levy threshold, which would require a simple majority of voter support, it is estimated that at least another $560,000 in reductions from the current budget proposal would be required. Items that were discussed as potential reductions but ultimately maintained in the proposed budget could be considered again. These include closing a school, returning to half-day kindergarten, eliminating sixth grade foreign language, and/or many, many other budget items which were considered during budget deliberations. A detailed list of additional potential budget cuts can be reviewed on the district web page under the Board of Education’s meeting materials section.
If a second budget vote is unsuccessful, the Board of Education would be required by state law to adopt a contingency budget. A contingency budget would require a 0% tax levy increase, necessitating an additional $2.94 million in reductions beyond those in the proposed budget up for vote on May 21st.
As you consider how you will vote, please add this information to the myriad of other considerations you will also weigh.
Niskayuna School District PTO Council
The Niskayuna PTO provides collaborative opportunities for parents and teachers to enrich student experiences to the fullest. This website connects you to these collaborative opportunities. By providing this online service, the PTO strives to increase volunteer participation, help bridge the gap between school and home, and foster a sense of shared purpose across the entire school district.
The number-one reason to get involved with the PTO is to benefit your child. In doing so, you also help your school. But there are many more advantages. Here are just a few: