Public schools are among the most significant investments that any community makes collectively. District leaders work to make the most effective use of resources to benefit students, to develop and manage the budget in a responsible and transparent manner, and to be accountable to taxpayers. Each spring the Board of Education adopts a budget for the coming school year for a community vote, which is typically held on the third Tuesday in May.
Annual budget vote by absentee ballot June 9
Menands residents will vote by mail on a proposed $9.82 million spending plan for the 2020-21 school year. All absentee ballots are due to the district by 5 p.m. June 9.
Under the proposed budget, spending would increase by $785,703 over the current year. A large portion of the increase can be attributed to costs associated with the capital project. These costs are offset by increased revenue in the form of state building aid, not from local taxes. Also contributing to the increase is greater transportation needs resulting from increased enrollment and issuance of new multi-year transportation contracts.
The proposed budget carries a tax levy increase of $234,917, or 3.36%, which is within the allowable tax levy cap as calculated by the state’s formula. As a result, a simple majority (50% plus one vote) is needed for approval.
The proposed budget maintains all existing programs and opportunities for students. It also continues to support the increasingly diverse student population and student needs, consistent with the district’s mission and goals.
“Despite many challenges the district faces in responding to the current pandemic, it continues to be important to the Board of Education and administration to put forth a budget that-while continuing to provide the quality programming our community has come to expect from Menands School-keeps the interest of taxpayers in mind,” Superintendent Dr. Maureen Long said.
In the event of a defeated budget, the 2020-21 tax levy may not increase beyond the amount of the 2019-20 tax levy. The district would have to reduce the proposed budget by $234,917, potentially affecting school programs, services, staffing and class sizes. This does not take into consideration any mid-year state aid cuts proposed by the Governor, which would require even further reductions.
Please take a look at our 2020-21 budget newsletter for a breakdown of the district’s expenditures and revenues, the three-part budget, and statements from board candidates!
More information on absentee ballots
In an executive order issued on Friday, May 1, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that this year’s school budget vote and Board of Education election will take place on June 9, exclusively by absentee ballot due to the COVID-19 public health crisis.
The executive order establishes a timeline of actions that schools must undertake leading up to this date, including sending an absentee ballot with a prepaid return envelope to all registered voters. Qualified voters are defined as U.S. citizens who are 18 years or older and have lived in the district for at least 30 days prior to the vote. Ballots must be received by 5 p.m. on June 9.
BOARD OF EDUCATION ELECTION
The order also waived the minimum signature threshold for Board of Education candidates. Individuals can declare themselves to be a candidate for the school board, according to the order, provided they meet all other legal requirements to get on the ballot. These include being qualified voters and having lived in the district continuously for one year prior to the election.
Candidates were required to submit a nominating petition by May 11. Incumbent Bill Nevins is the sole candidate for one open board seat.
2020-21 Budget Development Schedule
The following schedule is subject to change. Additional Budget Workshops may be added if necessary. Any dates and content are subject to change based on information available.
- December 9 – Present Draft 2020-21 Budget Calendar
- January 13 – Budget Workshop – Discuss Parameters, Updates/Projections
- February 3 – Budget Workshop – 2020-21 Budget Draft 1, Tax Cap if applicable
- March 1 – 2020-21 Calculation for Tax Levy limit to the Office of the State Comptroller, Tax and Finance & SED
- March 9 Budget Workshop – 2020-21 Draft 2
- April 7 – Budget Workshop – Canceled
- April 22 – Budget Workshop, held remotely
- May 11 – Budget Workshop, held remotely
- June 2 – Budget Hearing
- June 3 – Budget Notice Mailed – Final Budget Available
- June 9 – Budget Vote
- Final Budget 2019-20: $9,038,667
- Spending Increase: 3.53 percent
- Tax Levy Increase: 3.75 percent
- Final Budget 2018-19: $8,730,680
- Spending Increase: 2.14 percent
- Tax Levy Increase: 3.25 percent
- Final Budget 2017-18: $8,548,159
- Spending Increase: 2.54 percent
- Tax Levy Increase: 1.81 percent
- Final Budget 2016-17: $8,336,436
- Spending Increase: 3.41 percent
- Tax Levy Increase: 1.36 percent
Residents across New York State go to the polls on the third Tuesday each May to vote on the annual school budget and elect members to the Board of Education. Voters must be 18 years old, United States citizens, and have resided in the district for at least 30 days prior to the vote. You do not need to be pre-registered in order to vote, but personal identification may be requested at the polls.
Absentee ballot information
Absentee ballots are available for residents who will be out of town or unable to vote at the polls due to illness or disability. Please note the following deadlines for absentee ballots. To request an absentee ballot, please contact the District Clerk by phone at (518) 465-4561, Ext. 106 or in-person at the District Office, 19 Wards Ln, Menands.
- If you are requesting an absentee ballot by mail: Absentee ballots must be requested by May 11 if the ballot is to be mailed.
- If you are requesting an absentee ballot in person: Absentee ballots must be requested by the day before the vote (May 18) if you are picking up the ballot in person.
- Deadline for absentee ballots: All absentee ballots must be returned by 4 p.m. on the day of the vote (May 19).
The STAR Program
Homeowners who meet certain eligibility requirements through the New York State School Tax Relief Program – STAR – can have a portion of their home’s assessed value exempt from school property taxes. Learn more about the STAR program.