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Niskayuna Schools discuss budget after voter rejection
NISKAYUNA -- Taxpayers filled the Niskayuna Board of Education meeting after voters rejected a proposed budget last week. Many told the board they could not afford increases the district was seeking and told them to continue looking for places to cut.
Superintendent Susan Salvaggio laid out a new, reduced budget, which requires a 3.95 percent increase from taxpayers. The reductions would come from outsourcing school bus transportation and additional layoffs. Initially, the district proposed eliminating 21.83 positions, but added 7.5 after the budget failed.
Salvaggio took the unusual step of discussing bus contract negotiations outside of executive session. The collective bargaining contract with bus drivers expired last year and she told the board the district has put forward multiple offers that were rejected and have not received any counter-offers. Salvaggio told the board mediation was unsuccessful and both sides declared an impasse.
There is a risk the district could face a lawsuit by outsourcing transportation, but Salvaggio told the board the district’s legal counsel believes they are in the best position to win following the rejection of the budget by taxpayers and lack of a counter by the bargaining unit.
The board did not adopt a budget during its meeting Tuesday and scheduled another workshop Wednesday evening. A public hearing is scheduled for June 11 ahead of a second budget vote on June 18. If voters reject the budget again, the district must go into the next school year without any tax increase.