education

“This is the first time since the implementation of the tax cap there has been uncertainty about what we expect for state aid in the budget,” said Andrew Van Alstyne, Guilderland’s assistant superintendent for business.

As Berne-Knox-Westerlo Superintendent Timothy Mundell laid out the district’s progress toward its next budget while the district waits on lawmakers to finalize a state budget, conversation centered around one of the few things the district can control at this point — whether or not to go ahead with its annual bus purchase.

In addition to the potential loss of more than half-a-million in state aid under the governor’s proposed executive budget, Berne-Knox-Westerlo has been designated a moderately-stressed district by the state comptroller, due to diminished reserve funds.  

Noting the $1.7 million budget gap “before we even add anything,” Superintendent Marie Wiles said naming top priorities is important.

The audit notes that Guilderland lost about $5 million in net position due larging to increased costs for pupil transportation and tax certiorari expenditures as well as an increase in net pension liabilities.

“He says, ‘My job isn’t to change minds. It’s to open minds,’” said Superintendent Marie Wiles of Guilderland’s new DEI director, Derek Westbrook. “I just love that. That’s what education is all about.”

Board member Nathan Sabourin reported to the others that the policy committee is “going to make some revisions to the dress code in light of some of the requests from students and others regarding sports attire.” Members of the girls’ track team in the spring had said they wanted to be able to wear sports bras.

The state will conduct outreach to the State Education Department and BOCES to survey needs for test kits and masks. After the requests have been submitted, the state will deliver the requested tests and N-95 and KN-95 masks to each BOCES for distribution to school districts.

Guilderland residents will pay $18.62 per $1,000 of assessed value in school taxes this year, which is a 2.3-percent increase over the previous year. When voters went to the polls to pass the $120 million school budget last May, the district had predicted a 2.66-percent increase. Property owners in the other three towns partially covered by the Guilderland school district will have a higher-than-predicted rate.

The Voorheesville School Board approved the rates at a special Aug. 18 meeting. 

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