2020-2021 Budget


Budget Information and Communications

2020-21 Budget Newsletter

2019-20 Budget Newsletter

Fiscal Emergency  – Message from Superintendent

How did we get here? – Video

Fund Balance Analysis – Chart

Overview of Taxes – Video

Historical Taxes – Chart

Tax Comparison – Chart

5/18/20 School Board meeting and adoption of budget – Facebook Live recording

Budget Website Tutorial – Video

Special Education Costs – Video

Annual Budget Hearing – Livestream

Interview on Capital Pressroom

Interview on Spectrum

Deeper Dive in Historical and Comparative Taxes


2020-21 Budget Summary

Three Part Budget

Tax Roll Exemptions

Administrative Compensation Report

Property Tax Report Card

NYS School Report Card

Legal Notice

Assessment Rolls

2019-20 School Tax Bills

Office of State Comptroller Statewide School Tax Rates

STAR exemption/rebate:

Star Website – Sign up / Learn More

STAR Exemption Amounts

Article about changes to STAR

Will taxpayers lose the STAR rebate because the school exceeds the tax cap?

No, the STAR exemption or STAR credit (a newer methodology for new homeowners) is still in effect for individual taxpayers whether a district remains within the tax cap or not.

The property tax relief credit, which resulted in taxpayers receiving a check in or around the fall required a resident’s school district to be tax cap compliant.  However, that program, which began in 2016, was fully phased in 2019, and as a result, will not be available for 2020.  There is no rebate opportunity to lose this year.


How will this affect me?
We have developed a Tax Calculator so that each individual taxpayer can understand the increase.

What will the ballot look like? 
Please see a copy here:  Ballot

When are Ballots Due now?

Ballots must be hand-delivered to the Rensselaer County Board of Elections by 5:00 p.m., on Tuesday, June 9, 2020, or must be postmarked by no later than June 9, 2020 (one day later than in past years as a result of a recent legislative amendment) and received by mail by Rensselaer County Board of Elections by 5:00 p.m. on June 16, 2020, or the ballot will not be counted.

How do I find out if I am registered?
Call the Board of Elections at 518-270-2990.

How do I register to vote?
Call the Board of Elections at 518-270-2990.

What is the last day to register to vote?
According to Executive Order 202.26, May 26th is the last day, but we would recommend that you do so as soon as possible.

How much do we spend compared to others?
According to the NYS Fiscal Accountability Summary, our per-student spending is below both the high needs school average and the state average for spending.

What might it look like if there was not a -11.1% tax levy in 2017?

What will happen if the budget does not pass?
Unfortunately, due to the severity of the fiscal emergency, the school will not be able to have extra curricular activities or sports.  We will need to eliminate non mandated electives, and reduce the number of reading specialists that help to teach critical skills to our neediest elementary students.  We may need to increase the distance for walkers that are not eligible for bus transportation.  This is a difficult situation.

How do absentee ballots work and how are they kept anonymous?

We want to remind all community members who are submitting absentee ballots for the School Budget Vote and Board of Education Election to remember to include your name, address and signature on the outside of the return envelope. Signing the envelope is the same as signing the voter roll when you are voting in person. The purpose of doing this is to protect the voter from someone else voting as them.

We understand that the absentee ballot itself, and filling out the absentee ballot return envelope, are probably new for most of our residents and you may have questions about how we process these absentee ballots, particularly how the Board of Elections ensures voter anonymity.

They are able to ensure voter anonymity through a two-step process as required by law. First, prior to the ballot envelope being opened, specific Election Inspectors compare the voter’s name and address on the envelope to our registered voter roll to confirm that only residents of the District are voting. These same Election Inspectors make sure the envelope is signed to ensure that no one other than you is using your ballot to cast a vote.

Second, once this information has been certified by these Election Inspectors the ballot envelope is opened, the ballot, without being unfolded, is immediately separated from the return envelope and the folded ballot is placed into the ballot box with the other folded absentee ballots. Then, a different set of Election Inspectors whose sole job is to record the votes as presented on the ballot removes the ballots from the box and records the votes, without knowing who submitted that ballot. Again, while most residents have not previously voted using absentee ballots, it is very important for our community to know the Board of Elections is utilizing the same absentee ballot process for this year that has been used in past budget votes and elections for those residents who may have been temporarily out of the area, or for other reasons were unable to cast their ballot in person. Vote integrity and voter anonymity are essential to our budget vote and Board of Education member election and by utilizing this two-step process the Board of Elections is able to safeguard the voting process.

Why does the Board of Elections handle Rensselaer City School District’s vote and not other schools?

The canvassing of the ballots for Rensselaer’s annual election and budget vote is conducted pursuant to Election Law and not Education Law.

With the exception of Rensselaer, every Small City School District in the State has its elections governed by Article 53 of the Education Law Section 2601-a

Rensselaer’s elections are specifically included in Section 2502 of the Education Law.