Voters approve 2013-14 budget by wide
66 percent support district's $212.9 million
Residents approved the City School District of Albany's 2013-14 budget
by a wide margin May 21, with more than 66 percent approval.
The $212.9 million budget passed 1,885 to 955. The budget
includes a 2.95 percent increase in the tax levy,
which is within the district's state-mandated "cap" of 3.36 percent.
"This shows that there are a large percentage of families that are
supportive of the work we are doing," said first-year Superintendent
Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard, Ph.D. "We also understand that there is much
more work to be done, and we look forward to doing that in the coming
year with this strong show of support from our community."
Visit our From the Superintendent section to read more from Dr.
The 2013-14 budget
eliminates nearly 60 positions. However, it
also takes advantage of an increase in state aid to provide additional
classroom support for students, including Albany High School freshmen,
and boost technology resources at all levels.
The final budget, which the board approved
unanimously April 11, also reinstated several cuts that
had been proposed earlier in the budget-development process. Those
restorations included Albany High electives in art and Chinese, music
positions at the elementary and middle levels, and a summer music
In total, the budget would eliminate 58.5 positions, 42 of which are
substitutes (16 teachers, 17 teaching assistants and nine security
staff). These cuts will bring to almost 360 the number of positions
that the district has eliminated over the past five years in the face of
steep cuts in state aid and rising employee and charter-school expenses.
2013 budget edition of Capital Education mailed to city residents
provided additional information about the budget. You can
check it out in our Publications
section, and you also
can download a 2013 budget fact sheet in .pdf format.
The proposed tax-levy increase of 2.95 percent is below the district's
state-imposed limit of 3.36 percent that would have required a higher
threshold of voter approval.
See below for more
information about the state's tax-levy limit.
Before finalizing the budget April 11, the board agreed to:
Restore Chinese I at Albany High School. The introductory year had
been proposed for elimination due to declining enrollment
Restore funding for a summer music program for grades 4-12 and
increase funds for new musical equipment
Fund the upgrade of all elementary and middle-school personal
computers and a district-wide move to wireless Internet capability
The budget also contains new initiatives, including:
Five days of professional development and training for teachers
Technology updates district-wide, including the replacement of 200
computers and the installation of wireless networks in all buildings
Three new high school teachers to support Albany High freshmen,
including one new English-as-a-second-language position
Some 52.5 percent of the budget's estimated revenue -- $111.9 million –
will come from local property taxes. State aid will contribute 32.4
percent, or $69 million, and the remaining 15 percent will come from a
variety of sources, including $7.5 million from the district's fund
Besides funding district schools and programs, the budget will fund just
under $35 million in payments to Albany's charter schools.
Community presentations about the 2013-14 budget proposal
The City School District of Albany welcomed the
opportunity to meet with community organizations to discuss the 2013-14
budget proposal in advance of the May 21 vote. We particpated in several community
meetings to share information and answer questions about the budget
proposal. Here is a list of community budget
presentations district representatives attended:
Thursday, April 18 -- Pine Hills Neighborhood Association,
LaSalle School, 391 Western Ave., 7 p.m.
Monday, April 22 -- Second Avenue Neighborhood Association,
Plumeri Community Room at Hoffman Park, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, April 23
-- South End Neighborhood Association, John A.
Howe Library, 105 Schuyler St., 6 p.m.
Wednesday, May 1 -- Council of Albany Neighborhood
Associations, Albany Public Library main branch, 6:30 p.m.
Monday, May 13 -- Albany High School Parent-Teacher-Student
Association, Albany High School, 700 Washington Ave., 6:45 p.m.
Tuesday, May 14 -- Board of Education budget hearing,
Delaware Community School, 43 Bertha St., 7 p.m.
Wednesday, May 15:
Scotland Elementary School Parent-Teacher Association, New
Scotland Elementary School, 369 New Scotland Ave., 6:30 p.m.
Uppper Washington Avenue Neighborhood
Association, Montessori Magnet School, 65 Tremont St., 7 p.m.
Monday, May 20 --
Arbor Hill Neighborhood Association, Arbor
Hill/West Hill Library, 148 Henry Johnson Blvd., 6 p.m.
Your voting location may have changed
Please note that your voting location may have changed this
year. The district reduced the number of voting
locations from 18 to 15 and the following locations were not used as polling sites:
Visit our "Where do I
vote?" section for more information about this year's voting
locations, including a searchable
street directory to find your polling place.
Uncertainty over state aid
The 2013-14 state budget that took effect April 1 included a funding
increase of nearly $6 million for the district, a badly needed financial
boost after four consecutive years of reduced or flat state aid.
However, one day after announcing that increase in late March, State Ed
recognized an error in its calculation of the district's charter-school
That error threatened as much as $4.2 million of the district's promised
State Ed said the error was due to a misreporting of the number of
Albany students attending some of Albany's 10 charters schools.
In the end,
State Ed's revised charter-school transition aid projection for 2013-14
restored nearly $1.3 million -- providing an opportunity to upgrade
technology, hire new teachers in the critical first year of high school
and restore many proposed cuts. But it still left
the district with a gap of almost $3 million compared to the enacted
2013-14 state budget -- and almost $6 million compared to the level of
state aid the district received in 2008-09.
The district’s 2013-14 budget proposal closed a shortfall of nearly $7
million from the current year. The district's anticipated revenue for
next year is about $30 million less than it was in 2008-09 due to the
compounded impact of declining state aid, increasing health and pension
costs and increasing charter-school expenses.
Follow these links to view previous drafts of the budget during the
Understanding New York state's 'tax cap'
It’s year two of New York state’s tax-levy
cap, and yet despite all of its publicity, there is a lot of
misinformation out there about it. Many school districts will come out
with tax-levy hikes of
than 2 percent for 2013-14. Are they over the cap? Not necessarily.
The City School District of Albany's tax-levy limit
for the 2013-14 budget is 3.36 percent, although the Board of Education
will not set a tax-levy increase until it approves a budget proposal in
April. The final tax rate for each property owner is determined during
the summer after the New York State Office of Real Property Tax Services
finalizes the percentages of local taxes to be paid by homeowners and
The district's tax-levy increases over the
past four years have averaged 1.98 percent. That includes an
increase of 1.5 percent last year, and zero increase the previous year.
Click on the icon at left to watch a short
video to learn more about the tax levy limit law and why it isn’t really
a “cap” at all.
Please call Director of Communications Ron
Lesko at 475-6065 if you have any questions or would like additional