HUdson Highlights - Budget News (2017-2018)

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The annual school budget vote and Board of Education election is on Tuesday, May 16, 2017 between the hours of 12 noon and 9 p.m. Click here for polling locations.

What am I voting on?

Voters will decide on the following items:

  • A $46,566,172 budget for the 2017-18 school year
  • Selection of one Board of Education member
  • Donation of land to the City of Hudson

Budget Improves Student Supports and Programming

On Tuesday, May 16, the Hudson City School District community will vote on a proposed spending plan for the 2017-18 school year, as well as two other propositions.

The $46,566,172 proposed budget not only maintains all current programs, but provides increased student supports, enrichment activities and enhancements to programs. The proposed budget increases spending by $655,801, which is a 1.43% increase from the 2016-17 budget. The District would be able to continue the wide variety of student supports and programs without a large increase in the general budget due in part to utilizing grant funding to offset expenses whenever available.

The estimated tax levy increase is 2.19 percent. This increase is below the District’s allowable tax levy limit calculated under New York State’s tax cap guidelines. As a result, qualifying residents would receive a property tax refund from New York State.

The District faces rising costs in the areas of contractual obligations and special education services to meet increased student needs. Staffing and program expenses make up for approximately 70% of the District’s operating costs. Therefore, each year administrators are asked to carefully evaluate specific student needs and building necessities.

“This budget was developed with the intent to maintain and improve all programs within our schools,” said Dr. Maria Lagana Suttmeier, Superintendent of Schools. “We remain strongly committed to our Destination Graduation goals and, in partnership with our community, our main focus is on preparing all students for college, career and citizenship through multiple academic, extracurricular and civic opportunities.” Two students display a poster about density

In an effort to better provide our students with a balanced academic and co-curricular education, the budget includes the addition of several key staff.

To preserve recommended class sizes in accordance with the Hudson Teachers’ Association contract, the budget would add one Grade 5 teacher and one Grade 6 teacher. A secondary-level math coach would be hired for additional student support in mathematics. The proposed budget would also add a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and a Behavior Specialist to work with all students throughout the district.

Last year’s budget added a part-time music position to accommodate the growing student interest in the arts, however student interest continues to swell. Therefore, the proposed budget includes increasing the music position from part-time to full-time.

“Enrollment in band, in particular, has nearly quadrupled in the past three years and it continues to grow,” said Hudson Senior High School Principal Antonio Abitabile. “With new musical groups gaining popularity, such as drumline and jazz ensemble, there is a need to add staff.”

“This year, we are looking to add an art educator for a similar reason,” continued Mr. Abitabile. “Routinely, many of the students who select an art class are not enrolled because the classes are at capacity already.”

In addition to voting on the proposed budget, residents will also elect one member to the Board of Education and consider a proposition to donate a parcel of land behind John L. Edwards Primary School to the City of Hudson (read more below).

What You'll See on the Ballot


Shall the Board of Education of the Hudson City School District, Columbia County, New York be authorized to expend the total amount of $46,566,172 during the school year 2017-2018 and to levy the necessary tax therefore?

PROPOSITION 2: Donation of Land to the City of Hudson

Shall the donation to the City of Hudson of an area encompassing 1521 square feet (0.035 acre) as depicted on a drawing made by Crawford & Associates dated January 23, 2014 entitled: “Nonmotorized Path Encroachment Pedestrian & Bike Connections to Charles Williams Park City of Hudson, Columbia County P.I.N. 8780.14” pursuant to the terms of the Statement of Donation and drawing attached thereto and for the public use set forth therein be approved?


In 2014, the City of Hudson was awarded a Safe Routes to School grant to build additional sidewalks so that city children would have safe places to walk to and from school. In order to install sidewalks in this area, voter approval is needed to authorize the school district to donate a small corner of land behind JLE to the City. The City would maintain the sidewalks and the school district would implement a pedestrian safety curriculum.

The land touches the Dugway Road bike path (see shaded area on map below):

black and white map show 1521 square foot area behind primary school


To elect one (1) member to the Board of Education. The seat is a three-year, non-paid term effective July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2020.

Carrie Otty, the current Board of Education President, is running for re-election.No one else picked up a petition so she is the only candidate on this year’s ballot. Taxpayers may either vote for Mrs. Otty or write in a candidate of choice who resides within the HCSD. Click here to learn more about Carrie Otty.

Ensuring College & Career Readiness

Whether college or career is the next step after high school, it is essential that all students have the skills they need to obtain and maintain a job. The District offers a variety of opportunities and programs in grades K-12 to help students develop the skills they need to succeed as college students, working professionals and active citizens.

An interconnected curriculum, extracurricular activities and opportunities to partner with community-based organizations form the basis of a well-rounded education in grades K-8. At Hudson High School (HHS), students are able to choose from a variety of course offerings, including courses that allow them to pursue career skills or earn college credits before graduation. The challenging nature of Advanced Placement or college-level classes in high school can better prepare students for rigorous college coursework and can save on tuition costs.

This year, the District introduced a new life skills program for special education students at HHS. The Practical Assessment Exploration System (PAES Lab) is a national hands-on assessment program that systematically develops entry-level job skills, work interests and abilities.

Additionally, PAES Lab training includes basic career and vocational skills that meet Career Development and Occupational Studies (CDOS) criteria. This is noteworthy due to changes in the state graduation requirements that may allow for alternative pathways to graduation. Specifically, some general education students may be eligible to receive high school diplomas by accumulating a sufficient number of CDOS hours in addition to some Regents exams. The future possibilities of the PAES Lab can provide opportunities for all of our students to graduate with career readiness.

Students preparing acorn squash

Examples of Electives

  • Science — Engineering; Forensic Science; Marine Science; Physics; Food & Nutrition; Technology I (Production Systems & Transportation Systems); Technology II (Architectural Drawing & Principles of Engineering)
  • Art — Studio Art; Pottery & Sculpture; Drawing/Painting; Digital Photography; Digital Animation
  • Other — Participation in Government; Self Help & Personal Enrichment

Examples Advanced Placement (AP)Students hold teapots they sculpted with clay

  • AP Biology
  • AP Environmental Science
  • AP World History 9 & 10
  • AP American History

Examples of College-Credit Courses

  • Calculus
  • English Composition
  • English Composition & Literature
  • Critical Issues in Health
  • Pre-Calculus Students speaking with a child to learn about child psychology in Psychology 101
  • Psychology
  • Italian 4
  • Sociology
  • Spanish 4 & 5

Examples of Other Continuing Programs

Literacy Programs and Resources

Early childhood literacy is vital for student success in secondary coursework and beyond. There are several programs and initiatives in the District aimed at strengthening literacy and reading skills such as:

  • Read Across America and TumbleBooks at John L. Edwards Primary School
  • Hudson Reads and Read-a-thon at M.C. Smith Intermediate School
  • Hudson Children’s Book Festival, which hosts children’s and young adult authors/illustrators
  • Extended learning time and enrichment activities with literacy specialists (K-8)
  • Access to digital libraries

School Culture

We continually strive to promote a positive school culture that focuses on diversity, inclusion and community. Since Hudson and the surrounding area is home to a diverse population, including many families who speak languages other than English, the District encourages cultural inclusion.

A recent example is the annual first grade play. This year, first graders at John L. Edwards Primary School performed their school play in English as well as Bengali.

Furthermore, we are proud to offer a diverse cafeteria menu that includes both hot and cold food items that are halal, kosher and vegetarian. At times, the menus are supplemented with fresh produce grown in a school garden by students at the Junior High School (as part of a farm-to-school program).

Questions & Answers

Why is a 2.19% increase within the tax cap?

When New York State passed the Property Tax Cap law, elected officials often referred to the new law as a “2% tax cap.” But the law they passed requires schools to use an eight-step formula to determine how much they can increase their tax levy, which does not always work out to be an even 2 percent. Very few school districts actually have a 2% tax cap because the formula causes the cap to vary from district to district.

This year, the maximum tax levy calculated for the Hudson City School District was 2.81 percent. However, the Board of Education decided to reduce the tax levy for taxpayers and propose a budget with a smaller increase of 2.19 percent. A school district is considered tax cap compliant as long as it does not increase its tax levy by more than the amount determined by the eight-step calculation.

Why isn't the tax cap really 2 percent?

Ever wonder why New York’s Property Tax Cap isn’t really a 2% cap even though elected officials often call it that? Here is a 4-minute video that explains how New York State uses a formula to determine each school district's tax cap number, which rarely works out to 2 percent.

Is there a property tax freeze credit this year?

The property tax rebate replaces the more well-known property tax freeze credit that provided property tax rebate checks to eligible taxpayers in 2014 and 2015. This rebate applies to the years 2016 through 2019. Because the District is tax cap compliant, some taxpayers are eligible for the rebate. Taxpayers who receive the STAR exemption and make less than $200,000 a year should receive a rebate check from New York State. For information about the program, please visit the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance’s website.

What happens if the budget is defeated?

If the budget is not approved on May 16, the District may submit the original budget or submit a revised budget to the voters on June 20, or adopt a contingency budget that levies a tax no greater than that of the prior year (0 percent increase in tax levy). If the resubmitted/revised budget proposal is not approved by the required margin, the Board of Education must adopt the contingency budget. In that case, the district would not be allowed to increase the tax levy to the extent necessary to fund items of expenditure excluded from the tax cap.

What if I have questions?

Additional information about the budget is posted on the district’s website, www. For further information, please call the District Office at 518-828-4360, ext. 2100.

Budget Breakdown

REVENUES: Where money comes from to pay for Hudson City Schools

Revenue Source


2017-18 Proposed

Change ($)

Tax Levy




Projected State Aid




Other: Rents, Tuitions, Misc.








Grand Totals




EXPENSES: How money is spent at Hudson City Schools

Expense Category


2017-18 Proposed

Change ($)

General Support












Employee Benefits




Debt Service








Grand Totals




Three-Part Budget

By law, school districts must divide their budget into three components—program, administrative and capital—and compare them to amounts from the previous year. Hudson City School District’s three-part budget breaks down as follows:

Program 2016-17 2017-18
Amount 33,228,711 33,771,196
% of total 72.38% 72.52%

Program costs include the salaries and benefits of all teachers and staff delivering pupil services (such as library, guidance, health, social work, speech therapy and athletics); also textbooks, instructional materials, equipment, extracurricular student activities, BOCES program costs, and transportation costs.

Administrative 2016-17 2017-18
Amount 4,233,082 4,343,903
% of total 9.22% 9.33%

Administrative costs include the salaries and benefits of administrators, supervisors and administrative clerical staff; public information and printing; insurance costs; legal and auditing expenses; and Board of Education expenses.

Capital 2016-17 2017-18
Amount 8,448,579 8,451,074
% of total 18.40% 18.15%

Capital costs include the salaries and benefits of maintenance and custodial staff; plus debt service, tax certiorari and court-ordered costs, operation and maintenance costs, and utilities.

Tax Impact

The following table illustrates the average tax impact for each city/town in the Hudson City School District (no STAR exemption):


Assessed Home Value

Tax Paid (2016-17)

2.19% Levy Increase




$ 100,000

$ 1,717.95

$ 1,755.57

$ 37.62


$ 100,000

$ 1,734.48

$ 1,772.47

$ 37.99


$ 100,000

$ 1,734.47

$ 1,772.45

$ 37.98


$ 100,000

$ 1,734.47

$ 1,772.45

$ 37.98


$ 100,000

$ 1,865.02

$ 1,905.86

$ 40.84


$ 100,000

$ 1,927.19

$ 1,969.40

$ 42.21


$ 100,000

$ 1,545.18

$ 1,579.02

$ 33.84

Note: to determine the tax difference based on a home value of $150,000, multiply the amount in the “Difference” column by 1.5. For an assessed home value of $200,000, multiply the amount in the “Difference” column by 2, and so on.