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The Board of Education adopted the proposed school budget for 2018-19 at Wednesday’s public meeting at Donald P. Sutherland Elementary School. The proposed budget, which has been updated since the New York State budget was approved, totals $94,266,392, an increase of 2.29% from last year.

The proposed tax levy increase is 4.27%, which is below the New York State tax cap of 4.57% that applies to East Greenbush, requiring a simple majority to pass the budget on Tuesday, May 15.

The proposed budget maintains all current programs and includes funding for two additional elementary classroom teachers, a .5 ENL teacher and the restoration of a school resource officer at Goff Middle School. All school buses will also have their radios replaced, improving communication and safety.

“The proposed school budget preserves all academic programs, maintains prudent class sizes and ensures student access to extracurricular programs including music, arts, athletics and clubs,” said Superintendent Jeff Simons. “The district continues to offer excellent academic programs reflected by the district’s high rankings in the Capital Region and expanded opportunities for students. Due to state aid shortfalls in the last few years, the district’s budget proposes a 4.27% increase to the tax levy which remains under the New York State allowable tax cap and yields $2.3 million in revenue needed to avoid cuts to programs and restricted course offerings.”

The proposed budget’s tax levy increase dropped from 10.11% in the preliminary budget to 4.27% due to increased Foundation Aid from the state, health insurance savings and refunds, and reduced energy expenses.

The District has averaged a 1.24% tax levy increase over the last five years, the lowest among all Suburban Council schools.

In addition to the school budget, voters will decide on the purchase of 10 new school buses, a new bus purchase reserve fund and elect four Board of Education members.

As part of the District’s bus fleet management plan, it plans to trade-in 10 older school buses and replace with new buses that have better fuel efficiency, lower emissions, improved safety features and lower costs for maintenance and repairs. Nine of the buses would be purchased from the District’s Reserve Fund with no impact to taxpayers. The final bus would be purchased through a bond referendum with the first debt payment coming in 2019-20. The district would be reimbursed for approximately 62.5% of the total school bus purchase.

The new bus purchase reserve fund would replace the current fund, which was authorized by voters in 2010. It needs to be replaced because it has reached the limit of $5 million in deposits over its life under state law.

A bus purchase reserve fund acts like a savings account, allowing the district to store money for the sole purpose of purchasing buses. It also helps the district avoid the costs that come with borrowing.

Residents can learn more about the proposed budget at one of the upcoming budget meetings or by attending the public hearing on Wednesday, May 2 at 7 p.m. in the Goff Middle School cafeteria.

2018-19 Budget Vote and Board Election Ballot

Proposition 1: School Budget

  • Proposed school budget of $94.3 million
  • Tax levy increase of 4.27%, which is below the state tax cap of 4.57%
  • Maintains all programs and services
  • Addition of two elementary classroom teachers, .5 ENL teacher and school resource officer at Goff Middle School

Proposition 2: Bus Purchase from Reserve Fund

  • Two 66-passenger buses, four 28-passenger buses, two 22-passenger buses and one wheelchair bus
  • Purchased from voter-approved reserve fund so there is no impact to taxpayers
  • New York State will reimburse the District for 62.5% of eligible costs

Proposition 3: Bus Purchase from Bond

  • One 66-passenger bus
  • First bond payment would be made in 2019-20
  • New York State will reimburse the District for 62.5% of eligible costs

Proposition 4: New Bus Purchase Reserve Fund

  • Approve creation of a new bus purchase reserve fund for future bus purchases

Board of Education Election

  • Four Board of Education seats are available
    • Three seats with terms from July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2021
    • One seat with a term from May 16, 2018 – June 30, 2019