Saturday, April 02, 2011

From "World Class" To "Welfare Case" ?

WHEC-TV's website reports that the Greece Central School District will get extra $1.8 million in state aid under Cuomo's budget agreement.

"We live budget to budget each year because we are heavily relying on state aid. In years past, we could predict how much money we would get from the state, but now the state is figuring what they need to balance their budget and then cutting our aid. It's difficult for school districts to put together a long-term financial plan." ~~ Lou Alaimo, Asst. Supt. for Finance (Article outlines Greece's school bus driver's contract terms )

SCATS ~~ If either you or I heavily relied upon NY State to support our families, we'd be called a welfare case! What's the difference when it's a school district? Watching GCSD "budget" for next year is a lot like being behind that person at the grocery who is buying sirloin & shrimp with his food stamp debit card!
Monday, April 4, 2011 BOE, 6:30 pm
Budget Study Session
To Spend the "Extra" $1.8million


Anonymous said...

That should pay for everything. 18 art and music and librarian teachers should be covered by that even if they were making 100,000 each including benefits. And the tumbling team and marching band could then be covered by "chump change" that we were going to give to a new superintendent. The new guy should just accept $100,000 and let us have our schools of choice. See? Problem solved.

SCATS said...

To 10:26AM ~~ BITE YOUR TONGUE! They already "saved" art & music and the 30 minutes they were going to lop from the school day. With the $1.8 million "extra" they should fund the repairs we need to make ASAP so we don't have to vote on a capital improvement proposal in the Fall. I'd hate to see them "waste" the money holding an unnecessary vote ;) Rememver, they said it was a waste to let us revote the defeated budget last year ;)

Anonymous said...

I don't think 4th grade instrumental music has been saved yet. And other news outlets are saying the amount is $1.1 million. Does anyone really know the amount?
Will a more balanced set of decisions emerge from the BOE or will the insanity continue?

Anonymous said...

Love the "welfare" reference Scats! What better way to recognize a district that continually uses free and reduced lunch numbers as the excuse for nonperformance. They take the "free" money then give out huge salaries to people who don't produce results. Greece is a welfare case.

Anonymous said...

And the reason this money is not being used to lower the tax rate is??
Who's money is this??

Tom Kackmeister said...

I just received at my mailbox a flyer (from the unions no doubt) listing all the "cuts" in the proposed budget. The flyer urged me to contact the school board with my concerns. I have sent the following on to the school board and the administration:

Greece School District School Board and Administration:

Re: Proposed Budget Discussions:

I feel compelled to offer my recommendations for resolving the budget issues currently under discussion.

Re: Classroom cuts in the first proposed budget: I believe a reasonable approach to that issue would be to use 100% of any money saved from pay and benefits concessions from employee groups and their associated unions be used to restore classroom program cuts. The majority of those savings would come from the teacher group and they should have a major roll in determining the priorities for restoring programs or class time. (More below) I believe this is a rational recommendation as the primary source of the money would be from teachers and they are also the group most vocal about wanting programs restored “for the kids“.

Re: Any additional State Aid: I recommend any additional state aid be funneled to the many capital repair programs that are not currently in the proposed budget. The first priority would be those projects which relate to any safety issues and the second priority to projects that could benefit the longer term operating budget. The emphasis here should be to eliminate the need to have an additional spending vote later in the year.

Other: I recommend the board continue to urge the administration to look for additional cuts in the administration budget as well as the bussing budget. Any additional savings from this review should be shared to support additional classroom and capital project needs. The actual allocation would be determined by a priority list provided to the board by the administration in conjunction with representation from key employee stakeholders.

More regarding proposed program cuts: The various unions (particularly the teachers union) have demonstrated an outstanding ability to organize supporters for their priorities. I believe that organization ability could also be channeled to urge volunteer contributions to a fund they would use to restore any additional programs they feel were not supported by the changes outlined above.

Tom Kackmeister

(My version of WIN_WIN)

Anonymous said...

Green flyers in mailboxes? Is that GTA's work?

Funny that information does not acknowledge that the school elementary school day has been restored and that the major "did you know item" is reduction of the school day

Anonymous said...

I don't see the logic of your post. the school district is s public instituton which relies on public funding. The state is a public entity that can fund public entities just as the federal government can. The state can allocate funds for the public good. Self-suffieciency while it may be desirable is not a requirement.

The school distirct is not a private enterprise or a business.

Maybe you could clarify your objection

Ps being on welfare does not make one an object of ridicule. There for the grace of god

SCATS said...

To 12:12PM ~~ The actual amount doesn't matter because the public accepts anything they are told. This is Greece, remember? As for instrumental music, it doesn't matter that it hasn't been "restored." The point to cutting these things is that they must find ways to reduce the budget. The crisis doesn't end this year, so any delay just puts off the surgery until the tumor is even larger. Maybe next year, they will do what they need to do: CLOSE BUILDINGS, ELIMINATE SCHOOL CHOICE & REDUCE BUSSING! Oh wait! It's Greece so that will never happen ;)

To 12:35PM ~~ Thank you! You "get" my point :)

To 12:37PM ~~ I give up. Whose money is it??

To 1:50PM ~~ You don't see the logic? Does this mean you don't realize that the school district sends out property tax bills to homeowners every fall? Those are some pretty big bills too, helping make Monroe County the highest in the nation for property taxes. If they can't live off the taxes they collect, why should NY state kick in? You do realize State Aid is JUST ANOTHER TAX YOU FUND VIA YOUR PAYCHECK, RIGHT??

Regarding your "PS" ... don't try to tell me I'm ridiculing welfare cases when 9 people on our school board listen to some very HIGHLY PAID administrators point to the number of kids on "free & reduced lunches" and say that's why the other well-compensated district employees ... i.e. teachers ... can't raise test scores, graduation rates, etc. I didn't create this excuse. They did ;)

Anonymous said...

I thought we live budget to budget because we are required to have a balanced budget each year. Should each one stand on its own? If there is an ongoing need for maintenance, etc, that should appear each year, shouldn't it?
It would be nice if we could guarantee so much each year from the state, but it is time to realize that the state is just one more collection agency pulling in tax dollars and spreading them around. No big secret here as to why the state doesn't have a clue on its income; they raise taxes, drive out wealthy taxpayers, retirees, and businesses and then are dumbfounded when the tax revenue drops!

SCATS said...

To 2:55PM ~~ BINGO!

Anonymous said...

Re 1:50 I am not defending everyhting or even most of what the sd does nor am I saying they spend their money wisely, but simply the premise of your argument that one goverenment entity getting funds from another is "welfare" Governmnets routinely tranfer funds to school districts to equalize economic disparities, or simply because the state acknowledges a duty to contribute to public education. In fact the state gives money to all school distrits Do they then all get "welfare"
Often the state favors the wealthy in this "welfare" scheme. Rather than redistruting the moeny to help those is more distress it favors those already favored by fate.

The NYT reported

"Consider this comparison between the wealthy Syosset school district in Nassau County and the downtrodden district of Ilion, in economically distressed Herkimer County upstate. Under the new budget, Ilion, which runs its schools on little more than $25 million a year, will lose nearly $1 million. Syosset, with a budget of more than $188 million, will receive a smaller cut of about $760,000."

New York City schools were also particularly shortchanged because their expected allocation of state aid of $6.2 billion was cut by $840million.

Thus while I appreciate your sharo criticisms of the district which is mostly on target I do not think you can criticize school districts simply because some their funding comes from the state.

Anonymous said...

I received one of those flyers too yesterday. Poorly done by the way and it tells people to contact the school board but contains no information on HOW to do so. When a person or organization is not willing to put their name on something like this I just toss into the gargage. It's not worth the paper it is printed on.

SCATS said...

To 8PM ~~ Believe it or not, I do understand how govt funds are distributed. What you seem to be overlooking is that GCSD's budget grows bigger every year, despite a shrinking student population. Our property tax bill grows most years too, as does the amount coming from State Aid. Everyone is telling GCSD to do more with less. They are NOT! The LARGER share of their funds comes from State Aid, not our local tax coffers. The message from Uncle Cuomo is to get used to less, much less. By adding back in art & music this year, how much worse are we making things for next year? If ridding the HS of small classes were the "answer" I don't believe art & music would have been cut to start with. I'm getting the impression that just like the stereotyped welfare case in line ahead of you at the store, GCSD refuses to give up its taste for pricey school models (schools-of-choice), unnecessary bussing, half-filled schools, etc. At the same time, the powers that be are electing to gut high school elective offerings! Then they wonder why they can't keep kids in school. Amazing!!

To 6AM ~~ Fortunately, my neighborhood was ignored. I think the GTA member who lives around the corner was too busy getting her nails done to hand out flyers on a Saturday.

Anonymous said...

At the risk of becoming a broken record, can't we use technology to spare the "low enrollment" classes from being cut? Why can't one teacher provide the lectures and have the class broadcast through the TV studio we built at Olympia to the other schools? Horrors! We might even find some other districts that want to use the broadcast to allow them to provide a class in their district that they only have a few students taking. We could really look at more efficient educational practices. If an "non=professional" could see this opportunity, how many more are available from the professionals?

Anonymous said...

A better way to approch the funding problem would be to look for alternatives to the property tax as a primary way of funding education.

Crtics from all political stipes have questioned the usefulness of property tax.

Perhaps our new governor bent on reform should consider alternatives,

Anonymous said...

I like the idea of using any new state aid only for those necessary capital projects related to safety. Otherwise they will come back at us later and scare folks into passing an additional spending plan.

And do take the teachers up on their willingness to talk. Just maintain that pay freezes have to be a part of the package. Non negotiable. Do not let them win the public relations battle!

SCATS said...

To 11:45AM ~~ Technology? What technology? If you say that word too loudly, we'll be voting on another $1 million technology proposal ... "funded 80% back through BOCES." I wonder what happened to the 80% that time?

To 11:49AM ~~ Let's have the politicians pay it ;)

To 12:05PM ~~ I agree! By the way, do you realize that the BOE was told the district needs $170 million in repairs? Big number, eh?

george hubbard said...

Apr 03, 2011

To: SCATS 8:29am

Re: GCSD budget revenues.

1. Proposed 2011-12 budget book shows:

1a. Budget total: $195.9M (100%)

1b. Tax Levy: $96.2M (49.1%)

1c. State Sources: $71.1M (36.3%)

There are many numbers to keep track of... does this help?
Comment/question postings invited.
George Hubbard

SCATS said...

To Geo Hubbard ~~ Thank you. I'm curious, was the tax levy portion around 52% in the recent past (5 yrs or so)? For some reason, I thought I heard admin. tell the BOE this spring that 52% came from local property taxes. Maybe the ratio of aid to tax has changed?

george hubbard said...

To: SCATS 1:53pm

Re: Tax levy percentage.

1. Re: curious... local property taxes could have been as high as 52%... I don’t recall.

2. Also remember, percentages could have drifted around resulting from variations in the third biggest piece... Monroe County sales tax sharing... small, but no insignificant.

2a. 2011-12 proposed budget sales projected $9.24M (4.7%)
Comment/question postings invited.
George Hubbard

SCATS said...

Thanks George.

george hubbard said...

Re: Proposed budget.

1. THREE PART budget, pg 59 comparing next year 2011-12 to this year makes for interesting analysis.

2010-11__2011-12__$ CHANGE______BDGT COMP'NT

$193.6M__$195.9M__+2.25M__+1.16%__TOT BUDGET

$_41.5M__$_42.5M__+1.0M___+2.5%___EMPL BENEF

$_14.1M__$_14.6M__+0.5M___+3.4%___DEBT SRVC

3. Two big pieces (66%) of yr-to-yr increase are indirect expenses... growing 2x and 3x the average 1.16% budget increase.
Comment/question postings invited.
George Hubbard