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Majority Of NY School Budgets Pass

small desks in a school classroom
Paul Tuthill

New York voters approved 99 percent of school district budgets Tuesday, according to results compiled by the New York State School Boards Association. The average tax levy increase for the 2021-22 spending plans across more than 650 districts was 1.3 percent, according to the Association. Foundation Aid from the state budget passed in April is helping many districts restore programs and services cut a year ago.

The Albany City School District’s $270 million proposal passed with 76 percent support. 

“We are looking at maintaining our current staffing programs,” said District Superintendent Kaweeda Adams. “We are looking at providing support to our Albany International Center. We're looking at moving our sixth graders to the middle schools so that we can have….part of what we've been doing over time is looking at how our sixth graders can be better served at the middle school level. And so we would be able to incorporate all of our sixth graders at the middle schools that we have. We're looking at restoring some of the athletic programs that we had to discontinue in the fall.”

Adams says based on feedback from families, the district is planning two teaching models for the fall. 

“At the elementary level, we are looking at full in-person five days a week, wearing a mask and socially distanced at three feet,” Adams said. “And that's based on building capacity of 75%. That also includes our sixth grade, which will be housed at the middle school, but they will be cohorted very similar to the fifth grade and elementary schools so that we are able to have the sixth graders full in person five days a week with three feet social distancing. We are looking at grades 7 through 12 in the same capacity of being full in-person, three feet, social distancing, and 75% building capacity. If we exceed the 75% building capacity, then our seventh through 12th graders would go to a hybrid model, which would mean students would attend school every other day.”

Voters also elected members of local boards of education on Tuesday. In Schenectady, social activist Jamaica Miles was elected to a three-year term starting in July.

“Getting into that room and being at that table will give me the opportunity to ensure that the money that I fought gets spent in a way that’s equitable for our school district,” Miles told WAMC while voting was underway Tuesday.

Schenectady’s roughly $219 million budget passed by a vote of 1,150 to 269. 

NYSSBA says voters in New York filled some 1,500 vacancies on local school boards.

Jim is WAMC’s Assistant News Director and hosts WAMC's flagship news programs: Midday Magazine, Northeast Report and Northeast Report Late Edition. Email: jlevulis@wamc.org
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