Residents to vote on $105 million school budget proposal May 18

Plan maintains programming; focuses on student health, wellness and safety

On May 18, 2021, Guilderland residents will vote on the proposed $104,979,570 budget for the 2021-22 school year. The proposal carries a 1.89% spending increase over the current year and a 1.28% increase to the tax levy, which is at the district’s levy limit.

A safe return to in-person learning

The proposed budget focuses on a safe return to in-person instruction in 2021-22 while preserving the academic and extracurricular opportunities that our community has come to expect. The spending plan also focuses on students’ mental health and well-being. Due to lower enrollment, the district would replace a full-time special education teacher with a school psychologist at the high school to better meet the demand for mental health support for students impacted by prolonged stress and the life disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Focus on equity and diversity continues

The proposed budget would also include a full-time equity, diversity, and inclusivity coordinator to oversee the district’s work to foster a safe, diverse school environment where all are heard, seen, safe, valued, respected and welcome. 

Earlier this school year, the board of education formed a standing Equity and Diversity Committee to provide direction, support and oversight of the district’s ongoing work to become more diverse, equitable, inclusive and antiracist in its policies, practices and programs. The board of education has also acknowledged the need for a dedicated equity, diversity, and inclusivity coordinator.

“We are preparing for in-person learning, provided we have the clearance to bring everyone back,” said Superintendent Marie Wiles. “While we cannot anticipate what all facets of learning will look like, we are preparing to welcome all students through the doors of our buildings.  We will continue to provide a high quality educational experience where all students  are heard, respected and belong.”

In-person voting resumes

Voting will be in person from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., at the elementary school in the voter’s residential zone. Absentee ballots will not be mailed to all registered voters as they were in 2020. 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.

In addition to the budget proposal, residents will also:

Voters to decide on a replacement school bus and delivery vehicle purchase proposition

A separate proposition will appear on the May 18 ballot to replace aging school buses and a maintenance vehicle at a total cost of $1,033,200. The purchase would include eight 66-passenger buses, two with chains, and a 2003 delivery/courier vehicle with 180,000 miles.

The new buses will replace vehicles that are 10+ years old. The New York State Department of Transportation requires that all school buses pass rigorous inspection criteria. Maintaining older buses to meet those criteria is extremely costly, often costlier than the value of the buses once they are more than 10 years old. 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 by $493,350.

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