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2015-16 budget development

Voters overwhelmingly approve budget, two facilities propositions

Albany voters approved the City School District of Albany's 2015-16 budget in record percentages May 19 and also gave strong approval to both facilities propositions on the ballot.


The $224 million budget for 2015-16 received 72 percent of the 3,070 votes cast. That surpassed the 71-percent approval for Albany's first school budget vote in 1997.


Proposition #2, which includes a proposal for a new artificial-turf athletic field at Albany High School, and Proposition #3, for facilities updates and improvements at 14 buildings, both passed by wide margins.


"Your support on our 2015-16 budget and both propositions gives me a sense of direction and hope for our students and families, and our community," said Superintendent Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard, Ph.D.


The 2015-16 budget includes a tax-levy increase of less than 1 percent (0.98 percent) for the second year in a row and the third time in five years.


Click here to see the budget proposal the Board of Education adopted April 16.


The budget will provide programs and services for a growing student population and move the district forward on the path toward its 2020 Vision. The budget includes a number of new programs and supports, including more than 20 new teachers throughout the district. New items for 2015-16 include: 

  • 2.5 new reading teachers at the elementary level

  • Four new Academic Intervention Services (AIS) teachers at the middle-school level, three in math and one in English-language arts. One math teacher will be at North Albany Academy. The remaining three new AIS middle-school positions will be assigned based on specific needs to be determined.

  • Additional staffing to accommodate enrollment growth at several elementary schools (Giffen, New Scotland, North Albany and Sheridan Prep)

  • Four part-time hall monitors at Albany High

  • Social-emotional supports at Albany High and William S. Hackett Middle School

  • Expansion of the Alternative Learning Center program to serve more students

  • 3.4 new nurses due to increasing enrollment across the district

  • Seven new English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) teachers to meet new state mandates and serve the district’s rapidly growing ESL population (ESL will be known as English as a New Language, or ENL, beginning in 2015-16)

  • New course offerings at Albany High, including a College and Career Preparation Seminar for freshmen, Electronic Media Art, Digital Filmmaking and Television Production, several career and technical education courses, and a Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) program

  • An additional reading teacher at Giffen and one at Albany High

  • A total of six new psychologists, social workers and behavioral specialists throughout the district

  • Investments to provide greater consistency in prekindergarten instruction across the district

  • Additional data and research support

  • Restoring three positions cut during the recession: an instructional supervisor, an assistant director of  pupil personnel services and an extended day coordinator

  • A college and career readiness coordinator and a teaching assistant/testing coordinator at Albany High

The increase in state aid for 2015-16 also has allowed the district to develop a budget that reduces its dependence on its savings -- fund balance and reserves -- to make ends meet. The district allocated $8.2 million in fund balance and reserves in developing the budget for the current year; the 2015-16 budget reduced that dependence on savings to about $4.6 million. On the recommendation of staff, board members agreed that decreasing the district’s reliance on its dwindling fund balance and reserves was a priority to aid with long-range fiscal stability.


Tax-free facilities propositions

Thanks to the community's support, the district will match funds from its savings with state aid for two tax-free facilities projects that will add a new artificial-turf athletic field at Albany High School and support routine updates and improvements at 14 buildings district-wide. Both of these projects will be done with no additional tax impact on residents or businesses.


Proposition #2 supports a $2.5 million artificial-turf athletic field at Albany High as well as improvements to the school's rear athletic fields. The district will invest $841,360 from its fund balance and state aid will cover the balance. The field will allow Albany High's varsity football, soccer and new lacrosse teams to play home games at school regularly for the first time in the city's history. Please click here to read more.


Proposition #3 supports $13.9 million in renovations at 14 buildings throughout the district. The district will invest about $4.9 million from its Capital Reserve Fund and state aid will cover the balance. The project includes $4 million at Albany High School to repair an exterior wall that partially collapsed during the winter, as well as related repairs to the pool area that were discovered following the wall collapse. Please click here to read more.


Tax levy information 

The proposed tax-levy increase of 0.98 percent for 2015-16 is less than half of the district's "tax cap" of 2.26 percent for 2015-16. The district never has exceeded its state-mandated “tax cap.” Including the tax-levy increase voters approved for 2015-16, the district has had an average tax-levy increase of 1.26 percent over the past five years.

  • 2015-16 -- 0.98 percent

  • 2014-15 -- 0.87 percent

  • 2013-14 -- 2.95 percent

  • 2012-13 -- 1.50 percent

  • 2011-12 -- 0 percent (no tax-levy increase)

Get informed. Then get involved.

The City School District of Albany's annual budget-development process includes dozens of public meetings throughout the winter and spring, and the opportunity for all community groups to have a district representative provide a presentation about the proposed budget in April and May. This year, the budget-development process once again included two January budget workshops, and school-based workshops at all 16 schools in February.


The Board of Education approved the 2015-16 budget-development process and calendar at its Dec. 11 meeting.


You also can download the budget line-item detail report. The report shows three years’ of actual expenses, budget variances for the 2011-12 through 2013-14 years, and the budget for the current fiscal year. It’s important to note that each year all salary lines in the budget are based upon actual individual salaries and positions, and the terms of the labor contracts. Therefore, past variances in salary lines will be automatically addressed in the upcoming 2015-16 budget. The use of “zero-based budgeting” for all salary lines is a standard operating procedure in the district and has been for years.


Here are key dates and milestones in the district's budget-development process:

We also make frequent use of this website and social media tools such as School News Notifier, Facebook and Twitter to provide information and updates. More than 3,740 people take advantage of Albany SNN to stay informed on what's happening in the district, and our Facebook page has more than 1,330. Twitter is our newest social-media tool with nearly 200 followers; we encourage you to sign up today. Use the respective links to sign up if you're not already registered.


Please call Director of Communications Ron Lesko at 475-6065 or send an e-mail if you have any questions or would like additional information.


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