Board of Education approves proposed 2019-20 budget

The Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk Board of Education approved the proposed 2019-20 spending plan at their April 17 board of education meeting. Residents will vote on the proposed $48,062,317 budget on Tuesday, May 21. Under the proposal, spending would increase by $323,952, or 0.68% from the current year. The proposed budget carries a 2.75% tax levy increase which is below the district’s tax levy “cap” of 5.41%.

The proposed plan is guided by the five-year academic plan laid out by Superintendent Brian Bailey, Ed.D. earlier this year. That plan focuses on creating programs for RCS students that will better prepare them for the workplace and the world through the Four Cs: creativity, collaboration, communication and critical thinking.

If the budget is approved by voters, RCS would continue current programs and services.

It would also allow for:

  • A 1.0 FTE (full-time equivalent) Instructional Specialist split between A.W. Becker and Pieter B. Coeymans to assist the development and implementation of project-based lessons and learning – position reclaimed through a retirement.
  • Addition of middle school student “help desk” for technology.
  • Increased professional development opportunities for faculty and staff that would best suit our students’ needs and continue growth toward the five-year plan.
  • Increased access to technology with 300 additional Chromebook computers and continued PC replacement cycle in all schools.
  • A 1.0 FTE (full-time equivalent) Teaching Assistant to assist with work-based learning and internships at the high school.
  • Free PSAT/SAT and AP access for RCS High School students.
  • Establishment of a more robust credit recovery program for high school students.
  • Furniture for flexible and collaborative learning spaces in all schools.
  • Creation of makerspace areas, a space where students can explore interests, learn to use tools and develop creative projects, in the middle and high schools.
  • Build community connections and hands-on learning through field trips and volunteer opportunities.
  • A 0.5 FTE (full-time equivalent) in the business office to assist with human resources.
  • Partial funding for a therapy dog program and satellite mental health facility for students.

School Bus Proposition

In order to continue the school bus replacement plan, which helps maintain safe and reliable buses, the district is asking voters to consider the purchase of six new buses at an estimated cost not to exceed $648,802.74.

The proposed purchase includes three 42-passenger diesel buses with cameras, air conditioning and a five year extended warranty at an estimated cost not to exceed $111,705.92 each, minus $18,000 for trades. And, three 65-passenger diesel buses with cameras, and a five year extended warranty at an estimated cost not to exceed $114,561.66 each, minus $12,000 for trades. Currently, the state would reimburse the district for 59% of the purchase, or $382,000, over five years. The district would pay for the remaining cost using short-term bond anticipation notes from the General fund.

Repair Reserve Fund

Residents will vote to authorize to fund the Repair Reserve in the amount of $100,000, from the unappropriated 2018-19 fund balance, to be used for repairs of capital improvements or equipment, these repairs would be of a type not recurring annually.

Voter Parking

We are asking voters in the Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk School District to follow a new traffic pattern this year for the annual school budget vote on Tuesday, May 21 from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Similar to last year, the budget vote will take place in the new high school gymnasium at the rear of the school. However, this year voters will need to park in the new parking lot (the former tennis courts) located between the new gym and the bus garage. This is the only parking lot with direct entry to the new gym and all voters will enter the gym through the exterior doors facing the lot.

The best way to access the parking lot is by way of Albany County Route 101, behind the middle and high school campus. There will be signs on Route 9W and Route 101 directing voters to the proper parking area. For safety reasons, no voters will be permitted to drive through the center of the middle and high school campus from 7:00-7:45 a.m., 1:45-3:00 p.m., and 4:45-5:15 p.m. During these times voters must access the parking lot via Route 101.

image of map that highlights where Route 101 runs behind the school and points to where people should turn in order to get to the correct parking lot

Click here to read about the four candidates running for the RCS Board of Education.

Click here if you need information about obtaining an absentee ballot.