Voters overwhelmingly approve 2012-13
budget proposal, plans to sell buildings
Nearly 70 percent say yes to $207.7 million budget
Voters gave overwhelming support to the City School
District of Albany's 2012-13 budget proposal
May 15, with nearly 70 percent saying yes to the
maintains academic, extracurricular and social-emotional programs for
all of the district's 8,700 students. The approval rate was the highest
since 71 percent said yes in Albany's first school budget vote in 1997.
The $207.7 million budget, which carries a 1.5
percent tax-levy increase, passed 2,892-1,318.
Proposals to sell the former Schuyler Elementary
School/Albany High School and the former Sunshine
Building also passed by even wider margins.
"We drafted a budget that provides for all of our
students with the resources we have while also taking into account what
our community can afford in these difficult economic times," said Board
President Daniel Egan. "We are grateful to our community for the strong
show of support for our city's public schools. We
are looking forward to our work over the next year
and beyond to raise achievement for all of our
The budget is an increase of less than 1 percent over the
current year -- six-tenths of a percent, or $1.2 million. It will eliminate 73.4 positions -- 38.4 regular or contractual positions,
and 35 substitute positions. These cuts will bring to about 325 the
number of positions the district has eliminated over the past
four years in the face of steep cuts in state aid to public schools
during the country's fiscal downturn.
Click here to
download the district's 2012-13 budget, which the board adopted April 3
and voters approved May 15.
The district will receive more than $400,000 less in state aid in
2012-13 compared to the current year, and nearly $10.5 million less than
it received for the 2008-09 school year.
The budget proposal also included payments of more than $35 million to
Albany's 11 taxpayer-supported, privately operated charter schools in
2012-13. However, the late-April announcement that Albany Prepartory
Charter School (grades 5-8) will close June 15 and the related unplanned
relocation of Achievement Academy Charter School (grades 5-8) could
reduce that figure slightly.
Propositions to sell two district buildings
In addition to supporting the 2012-13 budget, voters also approved the sale of two more district
Proposition #2 asked the public to authorize the sale of the
former Sunshine Building in Lincoln Park for not less than $125,000
(pending voter approval, the board voted at its May 3 meeting to
sell the building to the Boys and Girls Club of Albany for
$155,000). The measure passed 3,612-510 (88 percent approval).
Proposition #3 asked the public to authorize the sale of the
former Philip Schuyler Elementary School/Albany High School for not less than $2
million. The measure passed 3,723-405 (90 percent approval). A buyer
has not been identified for this building, which will continue as
the home for the district's alternative-education programs for
middle- and high-school students in 2012-13.
These are the fifth and
sixth buildings the district has put on the market in recent years.
Voters previously approved the sale of the former School 12, the
former Alternative Learning Center at 27 Western Ave., the Buildings and
Grounds headquarters at 270 Central Ave., and the former Philip
Livingston Magnet Academy on Northern Boulevard. All of those sales
have closed or are pending.
School budget seeks to balance student, community needs
The board voted at its April 3 meeting to approve the 2012-13 budget proposal.
The 1.5 percent tax-levy increase was less than half of the district's
tax cap under the state's new formula (3.05 percent). It is the second
year in a row that
the board has provided a budget that holds the tax-levy increase
below 2 percent.
In 2011 the
board approved a budget that had zero increase in the tax levy and
resulted in a decrease in school taxes for Albany homeowners. Over the
last four years the district's tax-levy increase has averaged 1.98
"Each of the last three years has been increasingly more difficult as
our community and state face fiscal hardships," said Superintendent
Raymond Colucciello, Ed.D. "These are the same hardships that our
families and schools face each day.
This board has and continues to work hard under these difficult
circumstances to maintain programs that our 8,700 students need and
Although the district will continue to support the
vast majority of the academic, extracurricular and social-emotional
programs it provides this year, the continued reduction in state aid
for 2012-13 will have an impact in some areas.
which includes the use of $9.9 million from the district's fund balance
and reserves, also includes $3.8 million in staff and program cuts.
Those cuts will:
Increase class sizes and eliminate some elective
courses at Albany High School and at the middle-school level.
Funding for art and music electives at Albany High, among the
proposed cuts in earlier drafts of the budget plan, was restored in
the final version the board approved April 3. The final version also
reinstated a partial cut that had been proposed in Albany High's
Career Explorations program for seniors; course offerings in that
program will remain the same in 2012-13.
Downsize two Cabinet positions and eliminate an after-school coordinator, an assistant
elementary principal, two social workers, and five
teachers and 12 support staff positions in Special Education.
Eliminate 15 daily
substitute teaching positions and 20 daily substitute positions for
Convert two prekindergarten
classrooms from district staff to qualified community-based
There were numerous opportunities for
community members to learn more about the 2012-13 budget proposal in
advance of the May 15 vote. These included:
Thursday, April 12
-- New Scotland-Woodlawn
Neighborhood Association, First Congregational Church of Albany, 405
Saturday, April 14 -- North Albany-Shaker Park
Neighborhood Association, Atria Shaker, 345 Northern Blvd.
Tuesday, May 1 -- Montessori Community Council,
Montessori Magnet School, 65 Tremont St.
Wednesday, May 2:
Council of Albany Neighborhood Associations monthly meeting, Albany
Public Library main branch, 161 Washington Ave.
William S. Hackett Middle School PTA meeting, 45 Delaware
Thursday, May 3
--Board of Education budget hearing, Albany High School,
700 Washington Ave.
Tuesday, May 8 --
Beverwyck Neighborhood Association, Orlo School of Hair Design, 232
N. Allen St.
Wednesday, May 9 --
Eagle Point Elementary School PTA, 1044
Thursday, May 10 -- Delaware Avenue
Neighborhood Association, Albany Public Library Delaware branch, 331
Monday, May 14
-- Albany High School PTSA, 700 Washington
The budget-development process
this year once again included
a Community-based Budget Committee that held two
meetings in January to provide information about the district's budget
Please call Clerk of the Board
Catherine Cutting at 475-6010 if you have any questions or would like