Thursday, April 14, 2011

ACSD School Board Passes 2011-12 Budget

ACSD School Board passes 2011-12 Budget
The ACSD School Board passed the 2011-12 budget on Tuesday with a vote of 7 -0. The budget for next year will be $206,528,639 with a 1.7% raise in the tax levy. Below is the rundown. As always, if you find any mistakes they are mine and no one else’s. Many thanks to all who worked so hard to create this budget.
Part of the budget is an additional $532,872 “Administrative Efficiency Aid” from the state. This was given to 70 out of 700 districts in the state that had extraordinarily efficient administrations.
First, an answer to robocalls that were going out to Albany residents. As an opinionated aside, I am appalled in this economy that money is being spent on this. We’re cutting programs and someone is out there spending money on something so petty? Why not use the money for good, to help children?
Setting the Record Straight:
Recent Phone Survey in Albany is providing misleading information:
1. Claim: Enrollment in the district is decreasing
a. Fact: Between September 2008 and 2009; enrollment increased by 466 students.
2. Claim: The District has $15 million of Unappropriated Fund Balance
a. Fact: The District has incorporated $9.3 million of this money into the 2011-12 budget. The remaining amount represents about 1 ½ payrolls.
3. Claim: The proposed High School construction project will raise taxes.
a. Fact: The taxpayer share of the proposed $11.4 million construction project will be paid in full by EXCEL aid. There will be no increase to the taxpayers as a result of this project. 100% paid by State-aid.
Schedule of Budget Activities:
Please note, because the board passed the budget, there is no April 14 meeting at DCS.
April 28: Budget Newsletter Mailing
May 5: Board meeting and Budget Hearing
May 17: Budget Vote Day
- Discussions with bargaining units to modify labor contracts ongoing. If bargaining does not work then there will be more layoffs.
- Mandate relief?
- There was a discussion at the board meeting about the specific dollar amount of the tax levy. Last year, because of decrease in STAR funding and because of the shift of taxes from the depressed commercial real estate to residential real estate, the 3.97% tax levy increase was much higher for most homeowners. The school district can only control one out of three components in a tax bill, the specific tax levy. The other two are controlled by outside offices: 1. STAR exemption, which funding for this is controlled by the state. And 2. Assessment, which is finalized in July and controls the tax shift spoken of above from commercial to homeowners.
Tier I, II, III- Staffing Reductions:
To date, 91 positions have been identified as follows:
4.0 Administrators
52.5 Teachers (note: most of these reductions will be done through atrician)
34.5 Non-Instructional Staff
91.0 Positions total
Reductions- Tier I
Because my last post included my full notes on the Tiers, I will only include updates from this meeting to these sections.
Description Savings
HS Teachers (15) 1,080,000
Home School Coordinators (2)* 156,000 (real number= 78,000)
The Board voted to save the Pine Hills Elementary HSC at an additional cost of $78,000.
Security/ Hall Monitors (3) 144,000
Administrators (4) 504,000
Counselors (2) 144,000
Social Workers (2) 144,000
Pre-K (9 teachers, 9 TA’s) 531,000
Clerical (3) 144,000
Middle School Teachers
Teacher (1) 72,000
TA/ Assistant (1) 43,000
Art (.6) and Health (.4) 72,000
Reading Teacher (1) 72,000
Coaches Math (3) and ELA (2) 360,000
TA/ Assistant (3) 129,000
Special Education Teachers (9) 657,000
Special Education TA’s (10.5) 451,500
Prioritize Textbooks 280,000
Add’l. 5% Reduction 250,000
- Rprs. Supplies, Equipment, Field trips, contr.)
Total 5,233,500* (real number= 5,155,500)
Tier II and III
Tier II Reductions
Description Savings
Middle School Foreign Language 219,000
- start 7th instead of 6th
Middle School Summer School* 36,000
*This will now be paid for by a grant. Will also work to improve quality of it.
Adult Tuition-Based Programs 5,000
Operations and Maintenance Staff (2) 113,760
Technology AV Position 48,000
Total 421,760
Tier III Reductions
Description Savings
Abrookin Vocational Program (3) 216,000
Reduce Phys. Ed. Teachers 108,000
- 1.5 due to Pre-K reorganization
Total 324,000
New Items Included in Budget
New Items Included Additional costs
Teacher assessment mandate (1 FTE) 72,000
Department chairs 30,000
(linked to Admin. Reductions)
AVID Program (1 FTE plus resources) 100,000
*Pine Hills Home School Coordinator 78,000
*Attendance Residency Verification 40,000
* Both of these items were passed as additional spending in the Board meeting)
Total 202,000*
(*Real number: 320,000)
Impact of a Contingency Budget
A board member noted that for such a small difference in the contingency budget vs. the regular budget, families and communities are most hit because of the community use of buildings and grounds. Schools are often used by community groups. Aftercare is often at schools and those groups having to pay to use the space pass that cost onto the parents, many of whom cannot afford the added cost.
Student Supplies (348,626)
Community use of buildings and grounds (40,800)
Certain equiptment (144,739)
Certain salary increases (44,467)
Total (578,632)
A contingent budget would reduce the tax levy by .54% or about ½ of 1%
Although there were many cuts, it was important to the school board and administration to share how many programs were still being offered in Albany, despite many other districts cutting programs drastically and closing schools.
Offered at each level:
Elementary Programs:
The CSD of Albany will provide:
- A strong Early Childhood Program, including full day Prekindergarten.
- A core program in Reading/ Writing, Math, Social Studies, and Science, complete with current researched-based text resources and Academic intervention supports.
- A strong encore or special subject program of Art, Music (instrumental, choral, *and general music * my addition), and library services, as well as health education.
- School choice for families, including *strong neighborhood schools (*my addition), Magnet, and the Dual Language Program
- A four- week half day summer school program focused on early literacy and mathematics
- Class sizes established per the recommended guidelines
- Literacy coaches to support classroom instruction and deliver embedded professional development , coupled with support from instructional supervisors
- Special education services in compliance with commissioner’s regulations
- Before and after school programming at current levels
- A smooth transition for all incoming students and their families
- System-wide baseline assessments to gauge student progress in ELA and Math, and the establishment of performance targets in these core subjects (percentage increases) will be developed to keep student achievement in the forefront of all building and district level goals.
Middle School Program:
- Instruction designed to enable students to achieve core curriculum learning standards.
- Academic supports will remain unchanged
o AIS for math, ELA, science, and social studies
o ELA and Math Coaches
o Instructional Supervisors working with staff
- Summer Transition Program for Middle to High School
- Art, music, and library programs will continue
- Technology-focused summer academy for 6th and 7th grade
- Adherence to class size guidelines
High School Programs:
- School re-design to four theme-based academies
o Discovery
o Citizenship
o Leadership
o Innovation
- AVID college-bound support program
- APEX Saturday credit recovery program
- International Baccalaureate Program components will remain unchanged
- Increase enrollment in honors courses and include more students
- Instruction designed to enable students to achieve State learning standards
- Student choice will dictate electives offered
- Academic support will continue
o AIS in ELA, math, science, and social studies
o Instructional Supervisors working with staff
A Board Member pointed out the many more programs Albany High will continue to offer they are:
- 17 AP Courses
- CTE (career and technical education) Courses
- Full complement of foreign languages including: Spanish, French, and Chinese
- Exploration program
- Project Lead away
- Photography and other art classes
Most discussion I have added to the pertinent points in the above notes. There was one other item of mention from the board, the role of the state in funding education. One board member mentioned their frustration that the state instead of treating local districts as partners, was treating them as adversaries. They also mentioned the state has the mandate to educate its population and also the ability to tax income, a more fluid and adaptable taxing resource, as opposed to the defined property tax, which local school districts can tax. Another board member expressed deep appreciation to the citizens of Albany for continuing to support the children of the city.

1 comment:

  1. As a local resident who cannot attend the board meetings because I work during those times, thank you for posting this report.