Budget & Taxpayer Information

2020-21 District Budget Development

Development of the Greater Amsterdam School District’s 2020-21 budget is now underway. A preliminary rollover budget was presented to the Board of Education on Feb. 19 and March 18 by School Business Manager Colleen DiCaprio. Upcoming dates of interest include:

  • April 8: Board of Education votes on tentative budget, 6 p.m., AHS media center
  • May 5: Public hearing on proposed 2020-21 budget, 6 p.m., AHS media center
  • May 19: Public vote on proposed budget and Board of Education elections, noon to 9 p.m..

2020-21 Budget Update – March 27, 2020

State’s fiscal uncertainty clouds GASD 2020-21 budget development process

Faced with a great deal of uncertainty over the fiscal impact the Coronavirus pandemic is placing on New York state, the Greater Amsterdam School District continues the process of preparing a budget for the 2020-21 school year.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in his daily COVID-19 press briefing on Thursday, said the state now faces a $10-$15 billion deficit due to the virus’ impact and other economic factors, and as such, school districts should be prepared to receive less state aid than originally projected in his executive budget released in January. He also told school leaders that if state revenues are not meeting projections at quarterly benchmarks during the new fiscal year, additional state aid cuts may be coming as the school year progresses.

“We have to address this revenue loss so we’re going to adjust the budget through the new fiscal year to reflect our actual revenue,” Cuomo said. “This means on day 1 we intended to give you $100 but we don’t have $100 so we are going to give you $95. But I can only give you $95 if I get $95. And I’ll let you know quarterly how much money I’m getting and how much I can give you so you can plan accordingly.”

The governor added that while the $2.2 trillion COVID-19 federal stimulus package passed by Congress has “a lot of good things” to help unemployed workers, families and closed businesses in New York state, it does not help local and state governments and address the governmental losses.”

“A $10-15 billion deficit is a ton of money for the state of New York’s budget,” Cuomo said. “We were waiting to see what the federal government did before seeing what we had to do because water flows downstream, right? New York state will receive $5 billion from the stimulus bill but it’s earmarked only for COVID virus expenses. It does nothing to help our lost revenue to the state.”

Meanwhile, GASD has been involved in the budget development process since January and has made two public presentations to the Board of Education thus far. The school board expects to adopt a budget at its meeting on April 8. A public hearing on the adopted budget is scheduled for May 5 prior to the annual budget vote and school board elections on May 19.

Where are we at now?

The budget draft presented to the school board is a conservative “rollover” spending plan which maintains current programming and staff in the 2020-21 school year. The budget-to-budget increase from this year to next is 1.9 percent or about $1.47 million to cover contracted salaries, rising expenses and obligations added in the 2019-20 budget.

The district is also proposing a new class for special education students with autism, returning them from BOCES programs to their own school district. The move would save the district about $100,000 next school year and place these students in the least restrictive environment for learning. The district also expects to lower health insurance costs next school year by $1.2 million.

GASD has had four straight years of 0 percent tax levy increases while the cost of living over that time has risen 6-8 percent. The district has tapped into its fund balance (or savings) to help offset those costs. This year the district had discussed a possible 3.5 percent tax levy increase to meet expenses, which is well below the state’s mandated tax levy cap for GASD of 8.62 percent. This will with certainty be revised and adjusted in light of the governor’s announcement of further aid cuts due to the state’s growing deficit. State lawmakers have until April 1 to pass a state budget.

A 3.5 percent tax levy increase, as discussed at the March school board meeting, would mean City of Amsterdam school taxpayers with a home assessed at $100,000 would pay about $10 more per month or $120 more per year in school taxes in 2020-21. However, all other homeowners living in the school district’s jurisdiction (depending on the town) would see a tax reduction.

“With the vast uncertainties school districts are now facing at the state and national level, we have to take a very conservative approach,” said Dr. Raymond Colucciello, GASD Interim Superintendent of Schools. “We are doing the best we can to preserve educational initiatives for our students.”

Still more discussions will take place before the GASD Board of Education adopts a budget on April 8. In the meantime, the district will monitor the state’s progress on its budget and continue to review all line items and make adjustments. Budget reduction meetings are also being planned in the coming weeks.

Please check the district website and your mail for complete budget information prior to the May 19 vote.

Bus Purchase Proposition and Board of Education election

GASD residents will also be asked on May 19 to vote on a proposition to purchase two additional school buses and security cameras at an estimated cost of $225,000, with 90 percent of the cost eligible for state aid reimbursement. The district owns 15 school buses, eight of which have or are approaching the 100,000-mile odometer mark. Three of those 15 buses were approved by voters for purchase last May.

Three seats are also up for election on the seven-member Board of Education on May 19, each carrying new three-year terms. Petitions and information about running for the school board are available on the district website and can be downloaded from the Board of Education page. All petitions must be returned to the Clerk of the Board at the Central Office no later than 5 p.m. on April 29, 2020. The names of at least 100 qualified voters is necessary to nominate a candidate for the Board of Education. Any question, please email the District Clerk Lorrie Schell at lschell@gasd.org.

2019-20 District Budget

Greater Amsterdam School District residents approved the $77,202,687 proposed budget for the 2019-20 school year. For the fourth consecutive year, the budget proposal maintained a 0 percent tax levy increase and also remained below the district’s tax levy cap.

The budget increased spending by 5.87 percent, or $4,283,863 over the 2018-19 school year. Along with preserving all existing programming and maintaining low class sizes at GASD, the proposed spending plan also includes funding for new and expanded academic offerings. 

The Audit Committee & Financial Statements

School district finances are subject to internal and external auditing, which promote both accountability and transparency. The Greater Amsterdam School District Audit Committee, which is comprised of Board members and community members, is charged with providing independent advice and recommendations to the board.

Each year, in accordance with New York State regulations, an independent auditor conducts a review of the districts’ financial statements. After the audit is completed, it is reviewed by the Audit Committee and accepted by the Board. This typically takes place in the fall. View the most recent audited financial statements.