Plan maintains programming, focuses on academics, safety and reducing class size
The Guilderland Central School District Board of Education unanimously adopted a $119,772,194 spending plan for the 2023-24 school year during the Tuesday, April 4 board meeting. This represents a 2.66%* increase in the tax levy, which is below the district’s maximum allowable tax levy limit.
This budget meets the needs of GCSD students by aligning with the district’s goals of educating the whole child, to ensure that each and every student is ready to succeed in the future. In addition to rigorous academics, this budget supports the programs that contribute to the social and emotional well-being of GCSD students, such as music, the arts and athletics. The adopted budget supports the following areas:
Safety and well-being. Student and staff safety is a top priority for GCSD, as well as for stakeholders, as expressed in the ThoughtExchange that was conducted in November 2022. A safe and secure environment enables students to feel more at ease and be more engaged, resulting in a positive educational experience.
Operations. Transportation, technology, human resources, maintenance and facilities are just a few of the departments necessary to operate the Guilderland Central School District on a daily basis. These departments work with the objective of providing clean, safe, engaging and empowering learning experiences for the more than 4,800 students who attend Guilderland schools.
Extracurricular activities. The 2023-24 budget maintains and supports all current interscholastic and extracurricular opportunities while supporting cross country and track coaches at the modified level and adding eSports and unified bocce teams.
Instruction. The budget preserves robust academic offerings at all levels with a commitment to addressing stakeholder priorities, as conveyed in the November ThoughtExchange. By adding instructional staff and enhancing data capabilities, the district will be better able to target instructional resources in all seven schools. This budget targets literacy, serving an increase in ENL needs, providing adequate resources to high-needs students and supporting students who are not or who are at risk of not meeting standards. In addition, the budget allocates for expanded Career and Technical Education opportunities and increases in science, business comprehensive skills program and World Languages.
The primary focus for the 2023-24 school year is the reduction of class size, particularly at Farnsworth Middle School. Last year the district began this work by creating two additional sections for grade 8. In the 2023-24 school year, GCSD plans to transition grades 6 and 7 from 14 homerooms to 16. Smaller class size helps to address gaps in learning, behavioral issues and social emotional/mental health issues. Reducing class size is beneficial, particularly in classes that require equipment and/or work stations such as family and consumer sciences (FACs), technology and science. The targeted reduction will result in average class sizes of 24 students for grade 6 and 24.9 students for grade 7.
Voters to decide on a replacement bus and equipment proposition
A separate proposition will appear on the May 16 ballot to purchase school buses and a maintenance vehicle, at a total cost of $1,206,000*. The purchase would include six 65-passenger buses, three with chains and three without, two 35-passenger buses and one dual-wheel chassis, one-ton pickup truck.
The new buses will replace aging vehicles. The New York State Department of Transportation requires that all school buses pass rigorous inspection criteria. Annually, the district has replaced some aging buses with new buses, to maintain a fleet in overall good condition. Approximately 50% of the bus purchase would be returned to the district in the form of future state aid, reducing the cost to local taxpayers.
Residents will elect three board of education members
The Guilderland community will elect three members to the board of education. The candidates will each serve a three-year term of office (July 1, 2023-June 30, 2026). Candidate information will be made available on the district website after all candidate petitions have been submitted by the April 17 deadline.
Budget vote day is May 16
Polls will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., at the elementary school in the voter’s residential zone. Qualified voters who wish to vote by absentee ballot must submit an application to the district clerk at least seven days before the vote if the ballot is to be mailed, or the day before if the ballot is to be picked up at the district office. Click here for more information and the absentee ballot application.
*This story was updated on April 18, 2023 to reflect a change in the tax levy increase from 2.77% to 2.66% and on April 19, 2023 to correct the amount of bus proposition.