District to get $128K less from state

Greater Amsterdam School District officials learned Wednesday that they will be receiving about $128
PHOTOGRAPHER:

Greater Amsterdam School District officials learned Wednesday that they will be receiving about $128,000 less than anticipated in state aid following legislators’ adoption of a state budget.

School board members were expected to adopt their district’s proposed $53 million budget but delayed action after learning of the new state aid calculations earlier in the day.

According to Roger Seward, the district’s business manager, the decrease in state aid shouldn’t send school board members scrambling. But they will have a variety of options to consider when they meet April 23, he said.

Seward said the decrease in state aid is tied primarily to a decrease in the amount of Contract for Excellence, or C4E, money, which the state requires the district to use on new programming aimed at trouble areas.

The district was expecting $1.4 million in C4E money, which was going to fund a variety of initiatives from new magnet school programs to language teachers, a literacy coach and a guidance counselor.

Seward expected that money would either be allocated from other sources to maintain the new program initiatives or a few of them might be eliminated.

The school board is expected to finalize a budget proposal for district taxpayers to look at following a summary of options by administrators at the April 23 meeting. A public hearing on the budget is scheduled for May 7. The budget goes to voters May 20.

District officials should be better prepared for how residents will react to the proposed budget when voters go to the polls thanks to surveying expected to take place.

The survey on the district’s Web site is aimed at soliciting voters’ views on the district’s proposed budget. Administrators along with the district’s communications specialist, Greg Coffey, developed the questions. Administrators said they believe the information will be helpful in identifying last-minute changes or interpreting the district vote.

Seward said this service is partially a reaction to the district’s failed budget votes during the past three years.

Superintendent Ronald Limoncelli said the survey will also allow more people to comment on the proposed budget without having to speak at the public hearing. He said that typically, the school board only hears from a few residents during the scheduled hearing.

Currently, the district’s proposed budget increases spending by 6.73 percent but does not call for an overall tax increase. The proposed budget would use $1.58 million in surplus funds. The proposal is expected to collect $17.58 million from taxpayers in the district’s eight municipalities.

Currently, school district taxpayers living in the city of Amsterdam would see a rate increase of 39 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. Taxpayers who live in the town of Amsterdam would see a rate decrease of $3.46 per $1,000 of assessed value under the current budget proposal.

Categories: Schenectady County

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