Wednesday, December 07, 2011

An Excellent Suggestion!!

School boards approve most significant mandate

Once again, Jody Siegel of the Monroe County School Boards Association laments the lack of mandate relief from Albany (Nov. 27 essay).

Reminder: The most significant spending mandates school district residents support result from the employee contracts (wages and benefits), which are approved by school boards. Spending is the real issue; taxes are a result, not a cause.

I would like Siegel and her school boards to agree on and publish a list of the mandates they want the public to lobby to have eliminated. The key word is "eliminated." Mandates they want us to pay for with a different tax should not be on this list.

I look forward to real progress on mandate issues. I hope school boards will publicly recognize the cost of mandates they impose on taxpayers is as important as mandates imposed by Albany.



Anonymous said...

I'm not clear that salary is a mandate in the sense that the state or federal government imposes an external obligation onto another entity that did not legislate it for itself. You are stretching meaning of the word mandate out of its normal context.

SCATS said...

To 12:08PM ~~ I think you've completely missed the point. Kackmeister is merely recognizing that the bulk of a school district's budget is the wages & benefits portion. It often exceeds 80% of the total. Given that, he wants to hear WHAT MANDATES Siegel & Co. want eliminated ... since we already know she's never going to touch the part that comes under the contracts.

Anonymous said...

What Jody is always on about are the infamous "unfunded mandates". She acts as if the state can't dictate what we must have as programs unless the state funds them. My understanding of the editorial writer's challenge is to have the school boards choose which mandates they want eliminated completely. It seems in the liberal whining, that they want the mandates to continue but they want them to be funded by the state or the federal coffers, as if that was free money.

Again there are many programs and services that we assume are mandates but are really frills. They have been enumerated on here many times like having different specific teacher for elementary library and art and music and PE . We don't need those as separate classes any more than we need math or social studies to be a separate class at that level. There is no mandate for a librarian at each school. One central librarian could according to the law be the director for paraprofessionals or just plain folk at each of the district's libraries.
But Jody and her out to rubber chicken lunches crew will never choose anything to be cut. They will just whine that the state doesn't pay enough.

Anonymous said...

3;03 is an outstanding posting.

Very well said

Anonymous said...

Does this mean I get a raise?


Anonymous said...

To 3:03PM.........outstanding posting!

I have asked for years for the school district and crew to TELL us exactly what these "unfunded mandates" are and no one and I mean NO ONE will tell us including the mouthpiece for the Monroe County School Board Assoc.

Everytime the media (D&C or TV) report on school budgets they always let the school districts spout the "unfunded mandate" mantra. But not one single one of those reporters will FORCE these elected and/or publically paid folk to provide a list of the "unfunded mandates" and the corresponding costs BEFORE they allow the dumb comment of "unfunded mandates" to be published.

If the D&C is really interested in doing some investigative reporting this might be a good area to poke around in. I bet if one of those reporters called Seigal to ask her about those specific unfunded mandates she so freely talks about, she would not be able to provide a list for the reporter. Neither would anyone on the school board because they do not know either. The news people need to be more responsible in their reporting.

I would LOVE to see Librarians eliminated at all schools in Greece save one to oversee the library sytem we have. They employ teaching assistance who could easily run libraries. Since it is not a mandate we could save millions EACH year in over bloated salaries and bennies for the 'librarians." But no one wants us to know this is NOT a mandate because it would force the district to justify WHY the hell they are spending millions of dollars on postions they don't need to have.

SCATS said...

To 6:06PM ~~ You've written an excellent piece as well as 3:03PM's. I totally agree about the farce that passes for "reporting" by local media. They do NOT check facts in most of their stories. That's helpful when school district's want to sell a capital improvement project as some sort of dire health & safety only plan (like yesterday's). Suddenly TODAY, the media tells us that dugouts were included. Very timely ;)

Anonymous said...

check out this link posted by blindbrook central. it provides a comprehensive listing of "unfunded mandates" and associated costs that are borne by the local districts when no funding is provided at the legislative level. I agree....I wish NYSSBA (NYS School Boards Association) would start playing nice in the sandbox and begin to identify those mandates schools could do without. THAT will never happen.

SCATS said...

To 6:37AM ~~ Thanks for the link. That's quite a list!! Some items sound redundant and I thought of some things I don't think I saw on the list. It gives lots of insight into the problem though.

Anonymous said...

Nice big list. Thanks.
And yet there are some instances where the state funds part of the expense as in transportation and building reimbursements and we are told we should use those funds or "someone else will". In most of those cases we have to spend our own tax money to get the reimbursement. For example this last bond vote included money to be spent from our existing capital reserve fund. That money in that reserve did not appear spontaneously. It was received from Greece school tax payers in a previous year or years. So they were not being totally honest about the dollar per year cost per 100 grand house. They will be spending money we all contributed a few years ago. Full disclosure would be appreciated.

SCATS said...

To 11:50AM ~~ That's a very good point about the use of reserve funds & "full disclosure." Oh well, they are "semi-transparent" ... just like mud!

Anonymous said...

Semi-transparant or semi-non-transparant?