May 17 city voters will go to the polls
to vote on a yet to be announced school
It had better contain a zero percent
property tax increase, and all regular
polling places open to allow for maximum
legal voter participation.
Also on the ballot, should appear the
1. Shall the city schools be consolidated
with the city government?
2. Shall one property tax roll established
to finance both?
3. Shall the Mayor be responsible and
accountable for the operation and
performance of city schools?
4. Shall the Mayor and Common Council
be responsible and accountable for the
operation and performance of city schools?
5. Shall the City of Albany return to a
k-8 neighborhood school system?
6. Shall all city schools be designated
charter schools with more local control
The property tax payers of the City of
Albany can no longer support two
separate forms of government each
with their own large budgets and
two separate property tax rolls/dates.
The city school population comes
largely from households that pay no
property taxes to support the city
school system. Many come from
households on public assistance
including section 8 and other public
A complete review of the Albany
County Social Services needs to be
made, with the goal of reducing
the growing property tax burden
that is related to the growth of
the dependent populations in the
Cities of Albany, Watervliet and
Less than one third of housing
units in the city are owner-occupied
by an aging population on fixed
Uptown Albany neighborhoods pay
the lion's share of the property taxes
that support city government and
These interrelated phenomena must
be examined and addressed if the City
of Albany government and the city
schools are to continue to exist and
to serve the needs of all city residents.
The current 2 percent property tax
cap legislation being promoted at
the state level is nothing more than
a guaranteed property tax increase
each year, In 10 years that amounts
to a 20 percent increase.
That is not property tax relief!
The most effective way to proceed
is to mandate a freeze on property
tax increases for three years and
for the state to remove all unfunded
mandates on city schools.
The State Education Department
needs to be significantly reduced
in size or eliminated.
State Ed skimmed off half the
Race to The Top federal funding
recently received by NY State.
That 3 billion dollars should
have been allocated to school
aid rather than to financing
a bloated bureaucracy.
Top heavy, highly paid school
administration need to be trimmed.
More locally devised and controlled
curricula, geared to the real needs
of students are needed.
Attitudinal and behavioral changes
are required of students and their
When learning is not valued , no
motivation , no effort to learn and
conducive learning environment is
lacking, learning will not occur.
Parents with children in city schools
need to participate in the education
of their children and need to share
in paying the costs of operating the
Consolidation of city schools with
city government, creation of one property
tax roll to fund both, return to a K-8
neighborhood school system and
making the Mayor or Mayor/City
Council responsible/accountable for
city school operation/performance would
be a major step toward reducing school
spending and property taxes in the City
Would it be too much to expect to
make maximum use of the expense and
effort of holding a school budget vote
on May 17 that puts these questions
before all city voters?
If these questions were to appear on
the May 17 ballot, the voter turnout
would far exceed the usual 7 per cent
of eligible voter turnout.
Should city voters answer the above
questions in the affirmative, local
state legislators, who represent the
City of Albany could introduce the
necessary legislation to amend state
law accordingly; the Common Council
could issue the requisite Home Rule
Request to the State Legislature.
The State Legislature could act
to provide for the above changes before
the Legislature leaves Albany in June.