24-25 Budget; Proposed Capital Project Intro Provided at First of Funding Meetings

The annual series of budget committee meetings to develop the NCCSD 2024-25 budget kicked off March 5. This year’s introductory meeting also included a long-range committee presentation on the proposed 2024 Capital Project.

Laying out the solid foundation that’s been developed for both the budget and the Capital Project, Superintendent Kathleen Skeals shared with those in attendance and viewing on the livestream, how the district is “visioning forward.” 

“Our theme for this year is ‘building for the future,’ and you might think, ‘aren’t we always building for the future?’ Yes, of course,” Supt. Skeals said, “but during COVID and COVID recovery times it felt more like how are we going to get through today, tomorrow, and the next month.”

“So now is the time when we need to think about how we vision forward so our long range planning is doing the best we can for all of our children,” she added, “while ensuring we are providing opportunities that benefit all students and is in keeping with the district’s history of fiscal responsibility.”

Mission-Focused Budgeting

NCCSD’s mission is to ensure all students are provided the opportunity and necessary support to engage in relevant, challenging work which contributes to their academic and social growth and development.

“It is why we do this work,” Supt. Skeals said. “We exist to educate children and improve our community.”

Sharing a vast array of examples of student successes from the last school year alone – from national & international awards ranging from martial art titles to Thomas Edison Pitch engineering capstone projects, Supt. Skeals said North Colonie is helping students find their passions.

As state regulations continue to change, Skeals reiterated the district’s duty to support the ever-evolving needs of our students. “In alignment with the New York State Blue Ribbon Commission, North Colonie can and should further adjust and change to meet the changing needs and futures that await our students,” she said.

Executive Budget Proposal & Property Tax Cap

NCCSD is considered a “low needs” district by New York state, with 65 percent of revenue from property taxes, 31 percent from state aid, and the remaining from fund balance, reserves, and miscellaneous revenues. With Gov. Hochul projecting a state budget deficit, her administration is proposing savings through changes to school funding. For NCCSD, the proposed formula changes for Foundation Aid would reduce/underfund the district by an estimated $431,401, Assistant Superintendent of Business Cybil Howard said.

The preliminary tax levy limit for NCCSD is 3.98 percent, Howard said.

For more information, the full budget presentation and livestream are available.

Proposed Capital Project: Building for the Future

The Long-Range Planning Committee has been working with CSARCH and Schoolhouse Construction Services on a proposed Capital Project to go before voters on the May 21, 2024 vote. This would be the first of several phases needed to accomplish the work.

The first phase of identified work would be at Shaker High School and includes, in part: a two-story J-wing addition with science labs and general classrooms; kitchen/cafeteria renovations; science & music/auditorium reconstruction; HVAC control system upgrades; single occupancy toilet renovations; roof replacements; lower Maloy turf field; and Walker Field lights. Please see the full Capital Project presentation, which includes the full scope of work and images showing the locations of the proposed work. 

The total cost – before state building aid is applied – is $94,137,680. The current estimate for state Building Aid is $73,547,527 for an estimated ratio of 78 percent. As a result, the estimated tax rate per $1,000 of taxable value is $1.16. 

“What is awaiting our current and future graduates is not the world all of us have lived in,” Supt. Skeals said. “Our mission never changes but the context does change. We need to make sure our high school is set up not so students are going from class-to-class-to-class, but working collaboratively.”

Additionally, the long-range planning committee is considering a capital transfer for the May 2024 vote that would complete capital projects at many of the schools, including SHS. These proposed projects include: Blue Creek Elementary cafeteria abatement work; Latham Ridge Gymnasium ventilation; Loudonville elevator upgrades; districtwide radio replacements; and at SHS, resurfacing the existing running track and replacing the fencing and refinishing the gymnasium floor. 

The transfer to capital is currently proposed at $5,060,000. These funds are part of the Capital Project Reserve that the voters established in 2018 and will come at no cost to taxpayers.

The next in the series of budget meetings is Tuesday, March 12 beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the Shaker Middle School Auditorium. The topics for this presentation are: Facilities, Custodial, and Transportation Departments; Debt Service; Interfund Transfers. Join us in-person or via livestream. Visit our Budget and Finance webpage for additional meeting information.