At the budget hearing to outline the 2014-15 spending plan for North Colonie Central Schools, questions was raised as to why the district is boosting taxes to the maximum amount allowable, even though it isn’t in financial distress.
The hearing, which took place at Shaker Junior High School on Wednesday, May 7, touched on the adopted budget and gave district residents a chance to meet the candidates running for school board. Voting on the budget and the board of education election will take place Tuesday, May 20.
The proposed tax levy increase for 2014-15 is 3.63 percent, the maximum allowable under the tax cap. In discussions leading up to the budget adoption, district officials made it clear the district is not suffering the same hardships as many others in the state because it is still receiving aid for annexing Maplewood Elementary, which was shut down in 2011.
Superintendent Joseph Corr said the district went with the maximum increase because officials did not want to tap too much into the reserve funds in order to provide the same level of services to students.
“It’s a combination of maintaining programs, facilities and opportunities for students. Voters have previously approved similar tax rates 2-to-1, and we feel there is support in the community. We feel it’s important maintain reserves and not deplete them,” said Corr.
The final tax rate will be determined August by the town of Colonie.
There are three candidates running uncontested for three seats on the board of education, each seat has a five-year term.
Pennie Grinnell is running for the seat of Mary-Ellen Raup. Grinnell, who lives in Watervliet, works for the New York State Office of Children and Family Services as a supervisor of the Child Abuse and Maltreatment Hotline. She is the vice-president of the PTA at Blue Creek Elementary, where her two daughters go to school.
Patrick Masson is running for the seat of Joan Hart. Masson, of Loudonville, is the director for the Open Source Initiative, a non-profit. He volunteered for the Loudonville Elementary Building Committee and is a member of the PTA and Special Education PTA. His two sons went to school in the district.
Avideh Sadaghiani is running for the seat of Mary Nardolillo. She currently works at the New York State Office of Information Technology Service as an IT Specialist. She is involved in the Shaker Junior High School PTA and has a child attending Shaker Junior High School.