Voter approval for the City School District of Albany’s budget proposal reached 80% for the first time in history Tuesday, overwhelming support for a $307.3 million plan that will maintain all current programs and services, including those added during the pandemic.
The budget includes no tax-levy increase for the third time in eight years, supported by the state’s fulfillment of its promise to fully fund all schools statewide. The district anticipates a $16.4 million increase in state aid for the 2023-24 school year, and for the first time will receive 100% of the funding it is owed through the state’s Foundation Aid funding formula.
Voters approved the budget 1,611-403 in unofficial results, topping the previous record approval rate of 78% from a year ago. It is the eighth time in nine years the approval rate has topped 70%.
Voters also provided strong support for Proposition #2, a proposal to invest $9 million from a Capital Reserve Fund to offset inflationary costs on the Albany High School construction project. That proposal, which also will have no additional impact on taxes, was approved 1,598-409.
“We are deeply grateful to our community for supporting our budget proposal for next school year, as well as our plan to address the costs increases we have encountered on the Albany High School project during the pandemic,” said Board of Education President Vickie Smith. “We also are grateful to Gov. Hochul and our state legislators for following through on the commitment to fully fund all schools in our state.”
It is the seventh time in the last 10 years that the district’s tax-levy increase is under 1%. The average annual increase over that period of time is 0.9%.
For more information about the 2023-24 budget, please visit our Budget section.
Avoiding the fiscal cliff in 2024
The state made the commitment three years ago to fully fund the Foundation Aid formula for all school districts by the 2023-24 school year. Completing that phased process this year allowed the district to sustain funding for 73 positions currently supported by one-time federal COVID-19 relief funds.
Those funds expire in September 2024, and without the state’s commitment to full Foundation Aid funding the district would have faced a fiscal cliff for the 2024-25 school year.
The 2023-24 budget proposal also allowed the district to invest in 21.1 new positions, including 7.5 teachers at North Albany Middle School for the second year of the phase-in of the district’s middle school enrollment pattern.