The proposed budget is under the state-set cap by about $16,000, and would raise tax rates for property owners in the towns of New Scotland, Guilderland, and Berne between about 2.7 percent and 3.2 percent, depending on the municipality. 

There will be a public hearing on the budget on May 7 before district residents vote on May 21. They will also vote for the lone school board candidate, incumbent Lisa Joslin. 

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.  

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. 

The tax rates for the 2023-24 school year adopted by the school board on Aug. 15 turned out to be based on an error, said Assistant Superintendent for Business Andrew Van Alstyne on Aug. 17. The board will adopt new tax rates next week, he said.

The public hearing for the proposed law will be held on June 14 at 6:30 p.m. at the Berne Senior Center, 1360 Helderberg Trail. 

Superintendent Marie Wiles concluded of the 2023-24 budget, “On some levels, this was a fortunate year that we were able to maintain everything that we have been doing and lower the class sizes in the middle school, which was a huge priority, and begin to transition items that were funded by our federal dollars into he general fund. So I think we’re in a very good spot.”

Guilderland Superintendent Marie Wiles noted that currently Guilderland is allotted $5,400 for each pre-kindergarten student, “which doesn’t begin to cover the cost for the community-based partners that we have.” She went on, “They feel and rightfully so — and were pleased to continue to work with us — that they can actually do better just by being independent and getting self pay from parents who can afford it.”


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