April 11, 2011

Rainy Day Reserves?

District Presents Third Draft of Budget

School officials presented the third draft of the 2011-12 budget to the Board of Education on March 31, agreeing to a number of options that would cut spending by $238,437 over the 2010-11 budget. The district is considering further cuts to reduce the impact on taxpayers. The Board is scheduled to adopt a budget on Thursday, April 14.
(what do you think? leave a comment)

Points to consider:
What would a 6% increase mean for small business owners and our Senior Citizen?
  •  Senior citizens don't necessarily understand the focus on the extracurricular activities and sports.  When seniors were applying for colleges the focus was on grades, not sports. "Seniors don't understand why sports is so important and only see taxes going up. They wonder if they will be able to support a budget with a tax increase based on extracurriculars." Students now  trying to get into  good schools and in order to be a well rounded student, these extras are taken into consideration. It was explained that sports make up just 2% of the budget in Schodack.
  • The 14 volunteer members of the Board of Regents offers no explanations and does not communicate with the BOE.
  • Can  teachers' step raises be re-negotiated?
  • Can mandates services be opposed?
  • Could teachers pay the same health care rates as state employees? 
  • What role does the NYS Education Department play? 
  • Why can't we use our reserve funds?

Governor Andrew Cuomo had some strong words  for school districts that are crying poor and insisting his proposed education funding cuts will force them to fire teachers and hurt kids. "It's a threat, it's a game," the Governor says that over the past decade school districts have received double digit increases and asks districts to" find inefficiencies like every family and every other business in this state." Like this state government the 10% reduction and we're asking schools to take a 2.7% reduction. "I know there is waste and abuse in school districts," he said."this is not about a teacher in a classroom. It's about less bureaucracy, less administrative overhead, less superintendent salaries, less high salaries for administrators. More efficiency in transportation, more efficiency in back office, more efficiency in payroll."

Just how much money do New York state’s school district have stashed away in reserve funds? It’s a crucial question as Governor Andrew Cuomo said, the “day where government can just throw money at the problem, and raise more taxes…are over”  

He urges districts to utilize their reserves. Districts know there will be more money from government next year; a 4% increase.  Reserves are Money for a rainy day...guess what, he said "It's raining, guess what it's pouring." 

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