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NYer's head to polls for school budget voting

Today is the day voters decide the fate of school spending plans across the area.
Two big suburban districts are among those looking to exceed the states 2% property tax cap: South Colonie and Niskayuna.
Both will need a super-majority to exceed that tax cap which means at least 60% of voters must approve the budget plan for it to pass.


Albany:
Proposed budget: $212.9 million.
Spending change from 2012-13: 2.54% increase
Tax impact: 2.95 increase
Details: For the second year, the budget does not exceed the 2% tax cap. It includes an increase in state aid to provide additional classroom support for students, including Albany High School freshmen, and boost technology resources at all levels. It would eliminate 58.5 positions, 42 of which are substitutes (16 teachers, 17 teaching assistants and nine security staff) -- bringing the total number of cut positions over the past five years to almost 360.

South Colonie:
Proposed budget:  $92.3 million
Spending change from 2012-2013: .49% increase
Tax levy impact: 4.98% increase; Needs super-majority
(exceeds tax cap - .55% over district's tax levy limitation)
Other: Program/positions cut or adjusted in this budget include:
- Consolidation of modified sports teams. (Intramural sports are still available).
- Reduced Teacher Assistant, clerical, and monitor support.
- Languages in grades 5-6 will not be offered.

Niskayuna:
Proposed budget: $76.3 million
Spending change from 2012-2013: 1.31% increase
Tax levy impact: 5.76%; Needs super-majority
(exceeds tax cap -- 1.1% over district's tax levy limitation)
School Board: Six candidates seek three seats on Board of Education.
Debbie Gordon (i)
David Hudson (i)
Patricia Lanotte
Kevin Laurilliard
Matt Petrangelo
Jeanne Sosnow (i)

Other: In the budget 8 full-time support staff positions and 13.83 teaching positions will be eliminated. Final layoff number will be lower than these figures due to attrition through retirements and resignations.
Freshman athletics has been cut as well as some high school electives.
The budget maintains all district schools, class sizes within current ranges, full-day kindergarten, all current music ensembles and student clubs.


Saratoga:
Polls open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Caroline Street, Division Street, Lake Avenue, Geyser Road, Dorothy Nolan and Greenfield elementary schools.
Proposed budget: $112.6 million.
Spending change from 2012-2013: 2.62 percent increase
Tax impact: 2.9% tax levy increase
Details: 12 positions will be cut in this budget but no layoffs as all have been implemented through retirements and resignations.
School Board: The candidates are incumbents Russell Danforth, Ernest Gailor and Regina Gapczynski and newcomer Stephen Verral



Bethlehem Central School District Budget:
Proposed budget: $90.4 million.
Spending change from 2012-2013: 2.51 percent increase
Tax levy: 3.59% increase
Details: Potential reductions in the proposed spending plan include the deferment of building projects, reducing hall monitors by 1.0 full-time –equivalent (FTE) positions, 0.2 Health instruction and the reduction of four levels of sports to three.
School Board: Diane Giacone Stever (i) -- Michael w. Cooper (i) -- Christine E. Beck


Schenectady:
Proposed budget: $159 million.
Spending change from 2012-2013: 2.08% percent increase
Tax levy impact: 1% increase
Details: A total of  137.55 positions were eliminated in the final budget, however 32.6 positions were added by way of program modifications, leaving a net reduction of 105 positions.
Some programs, including the Special Education model, will undergo more dramatic change.
 

Troy City School District:
Proposed budget: $97.4 million
Spending change from 2012-2013: percent
Tax levy impact: 2.99% increase
Details: No full - time employee layoffs; 5 positions reduced through retirements or attrition. Cuts limited to 1 foreign language (3 languages remain) and Drug‐Free Program in elementary schools
(program remains in Middle School and High School)  
 
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