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State commitment to equity supports 2022-23 budget proposal
The City School District of Albany has proposed a $288.2 million budget for the 2022-23 school year, a proposal that is supported by the state’s commitment to fully funding Foundation Aid and that continues to limit the tax impact on our community.
The proposal would maintain existing programs and services while supporting new investments. In conjunction with separate one-time federal COVID-19 funding, the budget also would continue to support additional academic and social-emotional programs and staffing for students more than two years into a worldwide pandemic.
For the second year in a row, the proposed tax-levy increase is less than 1% – 0.9% – as the Board of Education and district work to minimize the impact on taxpayers while also planning for student needs over multiple years. This long-range planning is especially important with the district’s one-time federal COVID-19 relief funds set to expire in September 2024.
Including the proposed 0.9% tax-levy increase, the district’s tax-levy increases over the past nine years have averaged just under 1% annually.
The budget proposal also is supported by $3.8 million from the district’s reserves and fund balance.
The board unanimously approved the proposal at its April 18 meeting.
“COVID-19 has presented significant challenges for students nationwide, and that certainly has been our experience,” Board President Anne Savage said. “If approved by the voters, next year’s budget will provide students with the enhanced academic and social-emotional supports they need. The long-overdue Foundation Aid increase, in combination with the one-time federal funds, means we are able to provide the resources students need while continuing to hold the line on property taxes.”
The budget would support the new middle school feeder enrollment pattern that will be phased-in beginning in September.
Other new investments proposed include a playground at Edmund J. O’Neal School of Excellence for students in the Albany International Center and Dual Language programs, additional security, maintenance and English as a New Language staffing, HVAC and pool maintenance, and athletics supervision (see proposition story and budget glance on this page for more information).
There also are two board seats up for election on May 17. Members Ellen Krejci and Tabetha Wilson are running for re-election.
Foundation Aid funding increase
Urging the state to address its long-standing inequities in Foundation Aid funding has been a top legislative priority for the district. The state made a commitment last year to fully fund Foundation Aid for all New York school districts by 2023-24, and its budget for 2022-23 maintains that promise.
Our district currently receives about 78% of our full Foundation Aid funding, representing a gap of about $26 million. The state’s budget for next school year makes up a little more than half of that gap, providing the district with a $14.9 million increase.
That would allow the district to continue to fund staffing intended to help build back from the pandemic, including instructional positions to accelerate academic growth and student support positions to address social-emotional and mental health needs.
“We are grateful to Gov. Hochul, our local Assembly and Senate representatives, and the entire State Legislature for following through on their commitment to fully funding Foundation Aid by 2023-24,” said Superintendent Kaweeda G. Adams.
“Reaching this level of state funding on a timeline that aligns with the sun-setting of our one-time federal COVID-19 funds will allow us to sustain many of the programs and services that our students and families need now more than ever.”
Middle school enrollment planning
The budget proposal includes staffing and program investments to support the new middle school feeder enrollment pattern that will be phased-in beginning next school year, including additional sixth-grade staffing.
The district also is proposing up to six additional CDTA tripper routes so that middle school route times do not increase in 2022-23.
Federal COVID-19 relief funds
Separate from the budget proposal, the district also will continue to invest one-time federal COVID-19 funds in 2022-23 to support additional staffing and programs. These investments will have no impact on taxes.
The district will use the balance of its Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) funds, about $1.3 million, to support after-school and extended-day opportunities, including intramurals for grades 3-5 and programs with community partners. This is the final year that CRRSA funds are available.
The district also will use about $13 million in American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds to support programs and 93 staff positions in 2022-23. This is the second year of the three-year federal ARP funding.
Visit our budget glance section on this page for more information about the budget proposal and how our one-time COVID-19 relief funds will support students next school year.
Two propositions also on the ballot
In addition to the 2022-23 budget proposal, voters also will be asked to consider two school district propositions May 17.
Proposition #2 would authorize the district to complete $10.1 million in energy upgrades through an energy performance contract, or EPC. Proposition #3 would allow the district to purchase three small plots of land in Arbor Hill for a playground and recreational space for Edmund J. O’Neal School of Excellence.
Neither of these proposals would have any additional impact on taxes.
This proposition would authorize the district to conduct up to $10.1 million in facilities projects to increase energy efficiency at four schools.
The entire cost of this work would be paid for by state building aid and energy savings the district would realize over 18 years through an energy performance contract with Day Automation.
An EPC is a financial tool used to pay for facility upgrades with future energy savings, without impacting an organization’s budget. An EPC constitutes a partnership between an organization and an energy service company – in this proposal, between the district and Day Automation.
The district’s contract with Day would guarantee energy savings that would pay for the portion of the work not covered by state building aid. The entire cost of the work would be paid for after 16 years, with the final two years of energy savings under the contract with Day also guaranteed to the district.
The energy efficiency projects would be at Albany School of Humanities (ASH), Arbor Hill Elementary School, Stephen and Harriet Myers Middle School, and William S. Hackett Middle School.
The work would include HVAC and electrical upgrades, lighting improvements and solar installation. Additional work at other schools may be considered in the future.
This proposition would allow the district to purchase three plots of land for the construction of a new playground and additional recreational space at O’Neal, which is located at 50 Lark St. and is home to the Albany International Center and Dual Language programs.
The cost of the parcels would be no more than $1,800 plus closing costs. The district would buy the parcels from the Albany County Land Bank.
Two are located at the corner of Lark and Third streets, and would be used for the playground. Construction costs for the playground are included in the district’s budget proposal for next year. The third parcel is behind the school on Second Street and would be used for outdoor recreational space in the future.
|Revenue ▼||2021-22||2022-23||$ Change|
|Local - Other than property tax||
|Property tax||$ 121,259,962||$ 122,351,302||$ 1,091,340|
|State||$ 128,177,131||$ 143,880,616||$ 15,703,485|
|Federal||$ 620,000||$ 1,050,000||$ 430,000|
|Other||$ 9,322,931||$ 9,994,600||$ 671,669|
|Total revenue||$ 270,267,867||$ 288,157,361||$ 17,889,494|
|Expenditures ▼||2021-22 (Adopted)||2022-23 (Proposed)||$ Change|
|Maintenance & operations||$ 14,681,575||$ 18,226,536||$ 3,544,961|
|Capital/debt service||$ 19,300,394||$ 19,004,073||-$ 296,321|
|Program including transportation||$ 178,024,060||$ 190,048,292||$ 12,024,232|
|Charter school tuition||$ 37,709,259||$ 38,735,785||$ 1,026,526|
|Total revenue||$ 270,267,867||$ 288,157,361||$ 17,889,494|
Looking for a detailed breakdown of the proposal? You can download the complete 2022-23 budget statement.
2022-23 budget at a glance
Total – $288.2 million
Tax-levy increase – 0.9%
- Less than 1% for the sixth time in nine years
- The average proposed increase over that time has been just under 1% annually
What the budget supports
- Full-day prekindergarten in all 12 elementary schools and at 12 community locations
- Three magnet elementary schools
- Expanded bilingual Dual Language Program
- Science-technology-engineering-math (STEM) focused initiatives at all grade levels
- Social-emotional supports at all grade levels
- Band, chorus and orchestra starting in third grade
- Athletic teams and intramurals for students in grades 7-12
- Community Schools initiatives at seven schools: Arbor Hill, Giffen, North Albany, Schuyler, Sheridan Prep, TOAST and Tony Clement.
- Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and University in the High School courses at Albany High
- AVID college- and career-readiness programs, high school and middle school
- CTE pathways at Albany High’s Abrookin Career and Technical Center
- Albany Marching Falcons band and color guard (including winter guard and indoor percussion ensemble)
- Albany International Center (K-12), Tony Clement Center for Education (grades 9-12)
- Grant-funded professional development aligned with our vision, mission and goals (focus on equity)
What’s new in the budget
- Investments to support the transition to a new middle school feeder enrollment pattern, including additional sixth-grade staffing and CDTA tripper routes
- A playground for students at Albany International Center and the Dual Language Program, located at Edmund J. O’Neal School of Excellence at 50 Lark St. Please note that there also will be a separate item on the May 17 ballot – Proposition #3 – that, if approved, would allow the district to purchase land for this project
- Additional security staff and equipment
- Additional custodial workers, as well as maintenance equipment for snow removal and school deliveries
- Additional English as a New Language teachers
- An additional speech therapist
- Increase in sports supervision to support growth in the athletics program and a return to regular competition levels
- Additional funding for technology hardware and software
- Continuation of our HVAC preventive maintenance program
- Funding for a pool service contract to support all five district pools
- Continued expansion of the Dual Language Program
- Increased energy costs (electricity, natural gas)
Federal COVID-19 relief funds
These investments will have no impact on taxes.
- 93 total staff positions
- Restoration of grades 7-8 at Tony Clement Center for Education
- Social-emotional learning programs and supports
- Enhancing summer school
- After-school and extended-day opportunities, including intramurals for grades 3-5 and programs with community partners
How your tax bill is set
Q: How will the proposed budget affect my taxes?
A: The City School District of Albany is proposing to increase its tax levy by 0.9% for 2022-23. However, your overall tax bill may change by a different percentage:
- If the value of your property changed, or your exemptions changed;
- If your STAR reimbursement changed; or
- If the change in the total assessed value for your property's category (homestead or non-homestead) is different than the change in the “Adjusted Base Proportions” for each category that the City of Albany set in December.
Q: How are my final school tax bill and tax rate set?
A: Your school tax bill is determined by four factors, three of which are outside the district’s control.
- School tax levy: The total amount of money a school district needs to collect from property owners each year – $139.4 million in the 2022-23 proposed budget. There is a 0.9% increase proposed for 2022-23, which is less than the district’s tax cap of 2.4%. This is the only factor the school district controls.
- The state School Tax Relief Program, or STAR: Partial school tax exemptions for owner-occupied homes (see the chart below).
- Your property assessment and your exemptions: The assessment is an estimate of the value of how much a property would sell for under normal conditions and is set by the City of Albany during the summer each year. Certain exemptions are available. For example, by law, not-for-profit entities are generally exempt from property taxes.
- The homestead vs. non-homestead “Adjusted Base Proportions:” These proportions were set by the City of Albany in December, and they are used in combination with the total homestead and non-homestead assessed values to determine the final tax rates for each category.
Once all factors are set, the final tax rate determines how much of the levy each property owner pays.
Residential taxpayers may also be eligible for the new NYS Homeowner Tax Rebate Credit, a percentage of the existing STAR benefit. Basic STAR recipients with incomes below $250,000 and Enhanced STAR recipients are eligible.
|School Tax Relief Program (STAR)|
|School tax||2021-22||2022-23||Estimated change*|
|Without STAR exemption||$ 3,293||$ 3,323||$ 30|
|With Basic STAR||$ 2,678||$ 2,728||$ 50|
|With Enhanced STAR for seniors||$ 1,923||$ 1,953||$ 30|
*Estimated school tax bill for a typical taxpayer whose home is valued at $150,000.
The final tax rate will be set in late summer after the City of Albany finalizes its tax assessments and those assessments are reviewed by the New York State Office of Real Property Tax Services.
By the numbers
Percent tax-levy increase in the proposed 2022-23 budget, less than 1% for the sixth time in nine years
“Freight Farm” at Albany High – a 17,000-lb. garden in a box that grows plants in water instead of soil
Jazz ensembles at Albany High: the Jazzmanian Devils and the B Flats
Themed academies at Albany High: Citizenship, Discovery, Innovation and Leadership
Albany High student-artists whose work was selected for the High School Regional Juried Exhibition
Albany High junior Neel Chittur's time in the 3,200 at the state indoor track meet, breaking the school record for the second time this year
Number of languages spoken by district students
Sports teams available to students in grades 7-12
Albany High’s 2021 graduation rate – the highest in the 17 years of the state’s current accountability system
Albany High seniors inducted into National Honor Society this year
Musical instruments Albany Fund for Education donated in 2021, from autoharp to zither
Students nominated for recognition since November in the Do the Right Thing program, an APD partnership
Pieces of art by district students displayed at the Empire State Plaza Student Art Exhibit in March
Projection-based interactive white boards in classrooms throughout the district
Full-day prekindergarten spots for 3- and 4-year-olds in 2022-23
People following the district on Facebook @albanyschools
Chromebook laptop computers in the district’s inventory
Square footage of new additions included in the North Albany Middle School facilities project
Email updates sent to families via SchoolMessenger from September-March
Number to call to schedule a virtual budget presentation for your organization (don't forget the 518!)
The City School District of Albany will hold in-person voting with 15 locations citywide. Polls will be open from 7 a.m.-9 p.m.
Absentee voting also is an option, including an additional absentee option due to COVID-19.
|1st||All||City Parks and Recreation Building
7 Hoffman Ave.
|2nd||All||Giffen Memorial Elementary School
274 South Pearl St.
|3rd||All||Sheridan Preparatory Academy
400 Sheridan Ave.
|4th||All||North Albany Middle School
570 North Pearl St.
|5th||All||Arbor Hill/West Hill Library
148 Henry Johnson Blvd.
|6th||All||William S. Hackett Middle School
45 Delaware Ave.
|7th||1-5||Delaware Community School
43 Bertha St.
|7th||6-8||William S. Hackett Middle School
45 Delaware Ave.
|8th||1-4||Maria College, McAuley Building
308 South Manning Blvd.
|8th||5-9||Albany School of Humanities (ASH)
108 Whitehall Road
|9th||All||New Scotland Elementary School
369 New Scotland Ave.
|10th||All||Pine Hills Elementary School
41 North Allen St.
|11th||All||Albany High School's Abrookin
Career and Technical Center
99 Kent St.
|12th||1-3||Italian American Community Center
257 Washington Ave. Extension
|12th||4-9||Montessori Magnet School
45 Tremont St.
|13th||All||Pine Hills Elementary School
41 North Allen St.
|14th||All||Maria College, McAuley Building
308 South Manning Blvd.
|15th||All||Eagle Point Elementary School
1044 Western Ave.
The City School District of Albany automatically sends absentee ballots to people the Albany County Board of Elections designates as having a permanent disability. Concern about potential exposure to COVID-19 also is an option the state is allowing for requesting an absentee ballot again this year.
Those who want to vote with an absentee ballot because of illness, hospitalization, vacation, studies, business or incarceration must apply for the absentee ballot.
If you are interested in voting absentee due to COVID-19 concerns, you can select that option by checking “temporary illness or physical disability” on the absentee ballot application.
You can call (518) 475-6015 and ask to have an application mailed to you, or you can download one at albanyschools.org/vote.
If you want an absentee ballot mailed to you, the district clerk must receive your completed application at least seven days before the vote – by Tuesday, May 10 at 4 p.m.
If you want to pick up your absentee ballot in-person at the district headquarters in Academy Park, you must have your completed application to the clerk by 4 p.m. the day before the budget vote – Monday, May 16.
All absentee ballots must be returned to the clerk by 5 p.m. on the day of the vote – Tuesday, May 17.
Two board seats open
Two City School District of Albany Board of Education seats will be up for election May 17.
Board members Ellen Krejci and Tabetha Wilson both are seeking re-election to four-year terms. Krejci was first elected in 2015 and, if re-elected May 17, will serve her third term. Wilson was appointed to fill a vacancy in 2017 and elected in 2018 to a full four-year term. She would begin her second full term July 1 if re-elected.
The deadline to submit petitions was April 27. No other candidates submitted the required petitions to run; Krejci and Wilson will be the only two candidates on the ballot.
Visit albanyschools.org/boe for more information.
What if the budget is not approved?
If voters do not approve the budget, state law gives the Board of Education three options:
- Put up the same proposal for another vote;
- Present a revised budget proposal for voter consideration; or
- Adopt a contingency budget.
If the board opted for a second vote and it also failed, state law would require the district to adopt a contingency budget.
For 2022-23, a contingency budget would be $286,559,811 and would hold the tax levy to its current level as required by state law.
In addition, a contingency budget requires cuts to specific areas: the district would need to eliminate $1,597,550 from the proposed budget to meet those requirements.
The state closely regulates any district operating under a contingency budget. It prohibits spending on student supplies, equipment and certain raises, to name a few items. Community groups also are required to pay to use school buildings when a district is operating under a contingency budget.
This would mean that, in addition to the prohibited spending noted above, the district would have to consider cuts to staffing and programs to meet the new contingency requirements.
Library vote information
In addition to school-related items on this year’s ballot, residents will be asked to vote on the Albany Public Library’s 2022-23 budget proposal and choose people to fill four seats on the library’s Board of Trustees.
The library’s proposed budget for 2022-23 is $7,372,420. The library’s Board of Trustees unanimously approved the proposal on March 8. The total tax levy includes a 2.5% increase, which is below the library’s tax cap.
The proposed increase would mean the owner of a $150,000 home would pay approximately $5.98 more in library taxes next year.
There are 10 candidates vying for the four open board seats.
For more information about the library budget or trustee votes, contact Stephanie Simon at (518) 708-3912.