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Community passes 2018-19 school budget

Male student bowing on stage while other cast members look onThe vast majority of Albany voters supported the City School District of Albany's 2018-19 school budget on May 15.


The budget passed 2,329-909, a 72 percent approval rate. Voters also approved the district’s Capital Reserve Fund by a vote of 2,457-766.


In addition, the community elected three Board of Education members in the district’s first May board vote. Learn more here.


Voters backed the $249.4 million budget the Board of Education approved at its April 12 meeting. The budget supports several important new investments and continues all current programs and services in 2018-19.


It's the third time in four years that more than 70 percent of voters said “yes” to the district’s budget proposal.


The budget supports all current academic, social-emotional and extracurricular programs and services for more than 9,600 district students. That includes full-day prekindergarten, music instrument instruction at all schools beginning in third grade, middle- and high-school foreign language programs and Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate classes at Albany High School.


The plan also includes about $3.7 million in new staff and programs to keep up with enrollment growth and programmatic priorities, meet state mandates and continue to invest in the district’s multi-year academic plan.


The district is scheduled to receive an increase of about $3 million in state Foundation Aid in 2018-19. The budget proposal also includes an investment of about $6 million from the district’s fund balance and reserves.

The budget includes a 1.33 percent tax-levy increase. That would be the district’s first tax-levy increase in three years, and it falls below the district’s state-imposed “tax cap” of 1.97 percent. If the budget is approved, the district’s average tax-levy increase of the past five years would be less than 1 percent – 0.634 percent.


In addition to the budget vote May 15, voters had an opportunity to vote on the following school-related items:

  • A proposal that would establish a new Capital Reserve Fund.

    • There is no money associated with this proposal and no impact on taxes. The fund would have a cap of $18 million and would be used to help pay for future facilities work, potentially including construction projects through the district’s middle-school configuration process as well as facilities improvements at all 21 buildings district-wide.

    • If approved, the district would deposit funds into the Capital Reserve Fund over time and voter approval would be required to use money from the fund for future projects.

  • Board of Education elections.

    • The state moved Albany’s school board elections from November to May last summer to be in line with nearly every other public school district in New York. The terms of President Sue Adler and board members Ellen Roach and Tabetha Wilson expire June 30. All three seats are up for election. Ellen Roach, Tabetha Wilson and Damarise Alexander-Mann were elected; learn more here.

The district received an increase of about $600,000 in its Community Schools funding from the state for 2018-19 and will use those funds (about $3.9 million in total) to continue to support the growth of Community Schools models and programming at the Tony Clement Center for Education and five elementary schools: Arbor Hill Elementary School, Giffen Memorial Elementary School, Philip J. Schuyler Achievement Academy, Sheridan Preparatory Academy and Thomas O'Brien Academy of Science and Technology (TOAST). These initiatives, developed in partnership with families and community members, will provide additional services to support students and families, including services beyond the traditional school day.


The proposed budget will fund $36 million in payments and expenses related to charter schools. In addition, the budget will pay more than $1 million to meet the cost of new unfunded state mandates.


Some 46.3 percent of the budget’s estimated revenue – $115.5 million – will come from local property taxes. State aid will contribute 40.5 percent, or $100.9 million. The remainder will come from a variety of sources.


Please visit our BoardDocs section to review budget materials throughout the entire budget-development process, which formally began Feb. 1.  


Get informed. Then get involved.

The City School District of Albany's annual budget-development process includes dozens of public meetings throughout the winter and spring, and the opportunity for all community groups to have a district representative provide a presentation about the proposed budget in April and May. In addition to budget discussions at each board meeting throughout February, March and early April, the 2018-19 budget-development process once again included two January budget workshops, and community presentations in early March.


The Board of Education approved the 2018-19 budget-development process and calendar at its Nov. 16 meeting.


Here are key dates and milestones in the district's budget-development process:

  • Tuesday, Jan. 9  -- Public budget workshop I, 5:30-7 p.m., Albany High School media center.

  • Wednesday, Jan. 17 -- Public budget workshop II, 5:30-7 p.m., Albany High School media center.

  • Thursday, Jan. 18  -- Board of Education meeting, Albany School of Humanities, 7 p.m. Review of Gov. Cuomo's 2018-19 state budget proposal.

  • Thursday, Feb. 1 -- Board of Education meeting, William S. Hackett Middle School, 7 p.m. First-draft budget proposal.

  • Thursday, Feb. 15 -- Board of Education meeting, Stephen and Harriet Myers Middle School, 7 p.m. Further discussion and revisions on first-draft budget proposal. Download the presentation.

  • March 1 -- Board of Education meeting, Eagle Point Elementary School, 7 p.m. Second-draft budget proposal.

  • March 5-8 -- Community budget presentations. Please visit our District News section for specific dates and locations.

  • Thursday, March 15 -- Board of Education meeting, Albany High School, 7 p.m. Further discussion and review of second-draft budget proposal. Download the presentation

  • Wednesday, March 28 -- Board of Education special meeting, Giffen Memorial Elementary School, 5:30 p.m. Consideration of Capital Reserve Fund (The board voted unanimously to approve a proposal for voters to consider to establish a new Capital Reserve Fund).

  • Tuesday, April 10 -- Board of Education special budget meeting, Albany High School, 6 p.m. Third-draft budget proposal. Download the presentation.

  • Thursday, April 12 -- Board of Education meeting, Albany High School, 7 p.m. Final budget proposal presented for adoption. Download the presentation.

  • Tuesday, April 24 -- Community budget presentation, South End Neighborhood Association, Albany Public Library Howe branch, 105 Schuyler St., 6 p.m. Download the presentation.

  • Thursday, April 26 -- Community budget presentation, Arbor Hill Neighborhood Association, Arbor Hill Community Center, 50 N. Lark St., 5:30 p.m. Download the presentation.

  • Wednesday, May 2 -- Community budget presentation, Council of Albany Neighborhood Associations, Albany Public Library Washington Avenue Branch, 161 Washington Ave., 6:30 p.m. Download the presentation.

  • Thursday, May 3 -- Budget hearing, Arbor Hill Elementary School, 6:15-6:45 p.m.

  • Monday, May 7 -- Community budget presentation, Pine Hills Elementary School PTA, 6 p.m. Download the presentation.

  • Tuesday, May 8 -- Community budget presentations:

  • Thursday, May 10 -- Community budget presentation, Buckingham Lake Neighborhood Association, Albany Public Library Pine Hills branch, 517 Western Ave., 6:30 p.m. Download the presentation.

  • Tuesday, May 15 -- School budget vote and Board of Education elections

We also make frequent use of this website and social media tools such as School News Notifier, Facebook and Twitter to provide information and updates. We encourage you to sign up today. Use the respective links to sign up if you're not already registered.


Please call Director of Communications and Operations Ron Lesko at 475-6065 or send an e-mail if you have any questions or would like additional information.


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