Budget Committee Meeting Summary: March 20

PLEASE NOTE: The schedule (dates and locations) for the remaining 2023-24 Budget Meetings has changed. This information was updated 3-27-23 to reflect those changes.

The North Colonie CSD Budget Committee heard reports from the directors of transportation, maintenance, and custodial services during its March 20 meeting, as well a report on the district’s proposed debt service and interfund transfers for the 2023-24 school year.

The March 20 session (recorded livestream) was the first of two Budget Committee meetings this week due to a revised schedule after the snow storm postponement last week. The topics up for discussion on Wednesday, March 22 are instructional technology and technology equipment and the Smart Schools Bond Act. That meeting will take place at 7:00  p.m. in the District Office, 91 Fiddlers Lane. 

Highlights from the March 20 presentation include:

Transportation is transporting more students over more miles during the current 2022-23 school compared to last school year. Director Denise Towne said 5,968 public school students will be transported over 945,000 miles compared to 5,862 public school students over 765,697 miles in the 2021-22 school year.

One thing that has not consistently grown is our driving staff,” Ms. Towne said, referring to a driver shortage that is impacting public schools across the nation. “We were at 78 drivers when transporting less than 5,500 students and now down to 64 drivers and have almost 6,000 students.”

Also not unique to North Colonie is researching and planning for the full implementation of zero emission buses by 2035, which is a statewide mandate. Superintendent Kathleen Skeals said all 700 districts in New York state need to train drivers and train mechanics, and are researching and working collectively, for example, on how sports competitions will work since an EV gets a maximum of 100 miles; so during competitions charging at each others’ districts will need to be arranged. 

“The district is currently researching the infrastructure needs and meeting with national grid representatives, bus vendors, and engineers, in order to be thoughtful and intentional about the planning process so that the conversion can occur as seamlessly as possible,” Superintendent Skeals said.

The current replacement schedule of buses needs to continue in the meantime, and 8 new buses to be purchased is in line with prior years, Ms. Towne said. “The ones we purchased last year have still not been delivered; we are hoping they will arrive in May and June.

“Typically it takes a few months and now it’s 18 months and potentially longer,’ she added. “We have buses that were slated to be off the road last summer that are still on the road and spent $80,000 to maintain them.”

Also on transportation’s equipment replacement schedule is a new mobile lift, that can be used on either diesel or EV’s, to replace one that is 20 years old.

Concluding a series of questions from BOE members regarding EVs, the timeline for implementation and how it must overlap with replacing existing diesel buses, Board President Linda Harriosn thanked Ms. Towne and her team for their “outstanding job. The entire community is grateful for your work.” 


Custodial Director Mark Wiegert shared data regarding his staff which is responsible for cleaning 12 total buildings, in addition to minor building repair and snow removal work as part of their responsibilities to support the students and staff. On average, a full-time custodial worker, cleans 28,000-31,000 square feet per day. 

The custodial department is requesting to purchase one new piece of equipment.  A new Kubota would not only replace an aging piece of equipment at SHS, but as a UTV it will have multiple uses in multiple seasons.


Maintenance Director Brian Craft’s team of 20 maintenance workers cover 284 acres of property. Among the projects they are intending to complete are: exterior door security upgrades; the SMS student run Help Desk, and the SHS M wing first floor to improve fresh air for the old counseling center area.

Debt Service

Assistant Superintendent for Business Scott Hoot said the projection is the overall debt service will go down to $7.7 million. The 2001 debt service authorization makes the last payment of $2.4 million in the current 2022-23 school year. 

The remaining $24.9 million of the $106.3M capital project will go to market in June 2023 and NCCSD is opting to go to market along with 93 districts as part of a DASNY pooled financing. This debt service will be interest only during the 2023-24 school year. 

Interfund Transfers

Mr. Hoot said that like last year, the Capital Fund transfer will be zero. Proactively, the school lunch fund is proposed at $50,000. The special aid fund is proposed at $290,000 and funds approximately 20 percent of summer special education costs.

North Colonie CSD is now funding and delivering education to its growing enrollment of now 6,100 students in a post pandemic world. The district’s three major pillars continue to guide the work – Academic Excellence, Equity, and  Social Emotional Health, she added. With a key question that needs to be asked:

“What if we help all students find and pursue their passions, give them the knowledge, skills, and opportunities to pursue their passions, and show them how their unique talents and gifts can contribute meaningfully to our society?” Supt. Skeals said. 

PLEASE NOTE: The schedule (dates and locations) for the remaining 2023-24 Budget Meetings has changed. This information was updated 3-27-23 to reflect those changes.

Monday, April 3: 7 p.m. at Shaker Middle School Auditorium.

  • Topics: Staffing, Anticipated Building Enrollment, and New Programs and Initiatives

Wednesday, April 5: 7 p.m. Shaker Middle School Auditorium

  • Topics/Action: Proposed Budget Review, Updated Tax Cap, Property Tax Report Card, Approval of Schedules, and Board formally adopts the proposed budget.

Wednesday, May 3: 7 p.m. Shaker Middle School Auditorium.

  • Topics/Format: Budget Hearing/Forum & Meet the BOE Candidates

Tuesday, May 16: 6 a.m. – 9 p.m. District Office, 91 Fiddlers Lane, Latham.

  • Budget Vote

For more information please visit our Budget & Taxes web page.