Three of Saratoga County’s biggest school districts proposed school budgets this year that stay within property tax limits while increasing spending on student programs and services.
The Shenendehowa, Saratoga Springs and Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake school boards — which all benefited from the state’s decision to end Gap Elimination Adjustment budget cuts — are putting budgets up for voter approval next month that increase spending at least 1 percent.
Saratoga Springs’ $118 million budget for next year increases spending 1.1 percent, allowing the district to expand its science and engineering program — Project Lead the Way — to Caroline Street and Dorothy Nolan elementary schools, train elementary librarians to teach computer coding and add a handful of teacher and administrative positions.
The Shenendehowa budget increases spending 2.1 percent to more than $166 million for next year. The budget adds teachers at the middle and high schools to keep up with enrollment, bolsters mental health services, expands summer programs for ninth- and 10th-graders and invests in mobile devices for sixth-graders.
In Burnt Hills, the $63.9 million budget increases spending 1.87 percent and restores a summer writing program while expanding other summer programs, maintaining class sizes, offering more college credit options, and funding extra sports coaches and athletic offerings.
“The budget includes continuous improvement in our educational program in order to maintain our schools and our community’s expectations in what we value in our schools,” said Maryellen Symer, assistant superintendent for instruction.
All three of the districts kept their overall tax levy increases under their state tax-cap limits. Saratoga and Shenendehowa both kept the increases below 1 percent, while Burnt Hills proposed a levy increase of 1.32 percent — below its 1.45 percent maximum tax levy increase.
The three budgets, which got school board approvals last week, will go before voters on May 17.
Reach Gazette reporter Zachary Matson at 395-3120, [email protected] or @zacharydmatson on Twitter.