- Total Budget: $104,979,570
- Spending Increase: $1,946,875 (1.89%)
- Tax Levy Increase: $962,403 (1.28%)
- Bus, Vehicle and Equipment Proposition: $1,033,200
School Budgets in 60 Seconds
Watch the video below for a quick overview of how school budgets are developed in New York
State Foundation Aid Funding Plan
The 2021-2022 enacted state budget includes language stating that, for the 2021-22, 2022-23 and 2023-24 school years, each school district receiving a foundation aid increase of more than 10% or $10,000,000 a school year must post a plan of how the funds will be used to address student performance and need, including but not limited to:
- Increasing graduation rates and eliminating the achievement gap;
- Reducing class size;
- Providing supports for students who are not meeting, or who are at risk of not meeting, state learning standards in core academic subject areas;
- Addressing student social-emotional health; and
- Providing adequate resources to English language learners, students with disabilities, and students experiencing homelessness.
For the 2021-22 school year, the Guilderland Central School District received a foundation aid increase of $1.5M.
As part of the budget development process for the 2021-2022 school year, the district engaged community stakeholders through several ThoughtExchanges to seek advice on spending priorities to consider for the upcoming school year. More than 1,300 participants produced 1537 thoughts and 66,716 ratings, resulting in the following top priorities from stakeholders: maintaining low class size; focusing on student and staff mental health, maintaining academic programs and staffing levels, returning students to in-person learning, changing the start and end times of the school day, improving Wi-Fi, technology and facilities.
Following the release of the first draft of the 2021-2022 budget, the district hosted a live-streamed question-and-answer session to address issues and concerns about the proposed spending plan. The spending plan that was adopted by the Board of Education on April 13 reflected the priorities shared by the community; the budget was ultimately passed with 68% approval. You can review the full budget here. Please contact Marie Wiles, Superintendent of Schools at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions.
Increasing graduation rates and eliminating the achievement gap.
The district will maintain all current staffing and programs to close achievement gaps and to support students ultimately be successful graduating from Guilderland High School. Among the existing programs to increase graduation rates and eliminate the achievement gaps are Academic Intervention Services, co-taught classes, tutorial programs, opportunities to meet with teachers after school. There are also summer school opportunities at Farnsworth Middle School and Guilderland High School. Eligible Students with Disabilities can also participate in Extended School Year programming. At the elementary level, each school has a school based support team that meets to identify students who are struggling and to develop plans for intervention. Each building is staffed with a math specialist to support both teachers and students in that content area. Each building also offers reading support and intervention for students who are below benchmarks in reading
In addition, the 2021-2022 school budget includes the addition of a Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to assist with the identification and resolution of potential achievement gaps for some student groups.
Reducing class size.
The 2021-2022 spending plan is based on the premise that all students will return for in-person instruction in September 2021. Elementary class sizes will return to pre-COVID levels and are set at 18-23 students in grades K-2; 21-25 students in grades 3-5. Middle School class size guidelines are set at 24-26 students; high school class size guidelines are set at 15-30 students. The budget includes 4.7 FTEs to be used if needed to address large class sizes caused by unanticipated increases in enrollment.
Providing supports for students who are not meeting, or who are at risk of not meeting, state learning standards in core academic subject areas.
The district will continue to fund all programs and services that provide additional support for students who are not meeting, or who are at risk of not meeting, state learning standards in core academic subject areas. Some of those supports include: Academic Intervention Services in math, science, social students and English; additional math support sessions; co-taught classes in ELA, social students, Algebra 1, Geometry, Biology, and Earth Science for students with disabilities and English language learners. There is also Academic Tutorial Support, Resource Room Support, our Focus Program (in-house alternative education), as well as alternative education options located at South Colonie CSD and APEX Credit Recovery options.
In addition, the spending plan for the 2021-2022 school year also expands the district’s literacy coaching model at the elementary level with the addition of a 1.0 FTE coach.
Addressing student social-emotional health.
The district will continue to fund all programs and services that address student social-emotional health. The framework for those programs and services is articulated in comprehensive school counseling programs. Those supports include social workers and school counselors who (at the elementary level) conduct classroom lessons on topics like fostering resilience, coping skills, mindfulness, self regular, etc. There are also school psychologists located in all school buildings who conduct evaluations, assist with the CSE process, serve on crisis teams, etc.
The district has an on-site mental health clinic located at Farnsworth Middle School, however this clinic is available by referral to all GCSD students and their families. Also at FMS, students are assigned to a “House” (a school within a school) which includes a House Principal and House Secretary. Teachers work in teams and have daily planning time to discuss student needs and plan accordingly to meet those needs.
The district also has a long standing social service facility animal program with service dogs in all seven buildings. Guilderland High School and Farnsworth Middle School also offer a host of programs to support students, including, Sources of Strength (Suicide Prevention), Training for Understanding (Anti-Bias) and numerous co-curricular clubs, such as Alliance, Muslim Students Union, Jewish Students Union, Black Student Union, etc.
In addition, in 2021-2022 the district will add another school psychologist to the staff and implement The Positivity Project in grades K-8, with a plan to expand to the high school in 2022-2023.
Providing adequate resources to English language learners, students with disabilities, and students experiencing homelessness.
The district will continue to fund all programs and services to support our English Language Learners and students with disabilities, including push-in and pull-out services, and a co-teaching model of instructional delivery across most of the district. In addition, the district offers extended school year programming for qualifying students with disabilities, and a three-week summer program of ELLs. These summer programs are in-person and transportation is provided.
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