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Insolvency looms for NY school districts ^

Posted on 11/21/2012 3:20:01 PM PST by DeaconBenjamin

BUFFALO, N.Y. — More than 40 percent of New York school superintendents say they will be unable to balance their budgets within four years if obligations and income continue on the current path, and even more say they won't be able to keep up with student instruction and services mandates.

A membership survey by the New York State Council of School Superintendents shows that amid a statewide push for improved student performance, districts are depleting reserve funds and cutting staff and programs to remain afloat, even with increases in state aid.

"The challenge school district leaders face is not just balancing budgets, but improving educational outcomes and providing students with the learning needed to excel in the real world," Robert Reidy, the council's executive director, said. "But under current state educational policies, it's becoming increasingly difficult to do both."

Gov. Andrew Cuomo this year increased the state's spending for its 700 school districts by 4 percent, or $805 million after three years of cuts or flat funding. The state spends about $21 billion on schools. Even with the increase, about 80 percent of districts are receiving less help from the state than they were four years ago, the council said. A spokesman for the governor did not immediately return an email seeking comment.

At the same time, New York implemented a property tax cap which generally restricts districts from increasing their property tax levy by more than 2 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is less, with adjustments by district for exemptions like pension costs.

About 60 percent of superintendents said the tax cap negatively impacted programs and services. Roughly the same percentage said the cap makes it more likely that they'll be able to negotiate cost savings with teachers unions.

At the top of superintendents' wish lists is reform of a law that guarantees teachers' salary increases even after their contracts expire and a cap on district contributions toward health insurance, according to results of the survey, provided to The Associated Press.

Of 296 superintendents who responded to the online survey from Aug. 16 to Sept. 3, 9 percent — or about 60 superintendents — anticipated financial insolvency within two years and 41 percent foresaw insolvency in four years.

Superintendent Mike Ford at the mid-size Phelps-Clifton Springs district in central New York is in the latter group, even after cutting 50 instructional and support positions in the last four years, closing a middle school and raising class sizes to the mid- to upper 20s. He called for a more equitable state aid formula and meaningful mandate relief.

"We're getting closer and closer to the edge of the cliff," he said.

Meanwhile, 18 percent of superintendents in the survey anticipated educational insolvency in two years, saying they would be unable to fund state- and federally mandated instruction and student services. Fifty-one percent said they would reach that point within four years.

"The primary concern for all of us as educators and superintendents is the programmatic loss we're seeing to kids," said Thomas Burns, district superintendent of St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES and the liaison to the state for 18 districts in New York's North Country. "Education is a very labor-intensive business. You need teachers and teacher aides and assistants to accomplish your mission, and so, for us to get our budgets in line, it means cutting staff and programs and that really affects the opportunities that our kids have."

Districts also reported spending more on teacher and principal evaluations following the state's adoption of a statewide evaluation formula. Districts reduced staffing by 3.9 percent this year, on top of last year's average 4.9 percent cuts, the survey found, and 59 percent of districts increased class sizes.

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Government; US: New York

1 posted on 11/21/2012 3:20:06 PM PST by DeaconBenjamin
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To: DeaconBenjamin

...hint, hint...fewer union teachers...

2 posted on 11/21/2012 3:24:12 PM PST by telstar12.5 (...always bring gunships to a gun fight...)
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To: DeaconBenjamin

Lord help you if you are homeowner.

An nothing special 4 bed/2bath house in the middle of nowhere upstate NY will cost around $8,000 in property taxes.

3 posted on 11/21/2012 3:38:20 PM PST by 2banana (My common ground with terrorists - they want to die for islam and we want to kill them)
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To: 2banana

lol we as upstate NYers are there already 3 bedroom 2 baths cost me almost $9,000 per year.

4 posted on 11/21/2012 3:48:32 PM PST by rstark56
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To: rstark56

...LOL, 3 bedroom, 2 bath 2200 SQ FT 1.25A here in St. George, UT about $1300.00..

get up off your ass, and get out..

..and they NY’ers are so smart..

5 posted on 11/21/2012 4:07:47 PM PST by telstar12.5 (...always bring gunships to a gun fight...)
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To: DeaconBenjamin
"Education is a very labor-intensive business . . .

Some forty years ago the UAW forced auto companies into manufacturing technology that increased productivity and needed far fewer union members.

A similar tidal wave will soon overwhelm teachers unions. Count on it, and gloat when it happens.

6 posted on 11/21/2012 4:12:57 PM PST by Jacquerie ("How few were left who had seen the republic!" - Tacitus, The Annals)
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To: telstar12.5

If NY believe in big gov big public worker unions, they better have the means to fund it. Right now they are sitting on shale oil and gas which can transform up state NY but the Dem environmentalist are preventing its development. If NY refuses to pick up money in the ground to solve their fiscal crisis, the remaining 49 states should not be forced to.

7 posted on 11/21/2012 4:13:52 PM PST by Fee
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To: DeaconBenjamin

When they run out of property owners to tax, they could levy an additional fee for sewer and garbage - very fitting for government schools.

8 posted on 11/21/2012 4:26:27 PM PST by elkfersupper ( Member of the Original Defiant Class)
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To: Fee

Meanwhile, 18 percent of superintendents in the survey anticipated educational insolvency in two years, saying they would be unable to fund state- and federally mandated instruction and student services.

Federal mandates...thanks to that compassionate conservative Mr. Bush and the GOP with “no child’s behind left”!

I’m sure BamBam will be adding to that burden and sexualizing and racializing the schools in this Nation even more.

And they are not going to improve student performance in schools until they get out of the multicultural thug/whore gutter.

9 posted on 11/21/2012 4:36:32 PM PST by SaraJohnson
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To: telstar12.5
get up off your ass, and get out..

We don't want to get out. It's home.

I'm really tired of hearing that. I'm not on "my ass" to begin with. Your comment is smug.

10 posted on 11/21/2012 4:49:01 PM PST by BfloGuy (Workers and consumers are, of course, identical.)
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To: BfloGuy

“We don’t want to get out. It’s home.
I’m really tired of hearing that. I’m not on “my ass” to begin with. Your comment is smug. “

Me too! I’ve lived my entire 72 years of life here in Northern California. Like you, this is my home. I am tired of these obsequious pricks here on FR who think that they have the whole answer, move out! I’ve been to St. George, UT, it’s a bucolic place. And if you have no other interest than living in a low-cost place with nothing to do (except maybe go to the Temple, if you are a Mormon), but sit in front of your home and watch little or nothing going on you’d love it there.
The other part of this that’s so disingenuous is that these idiots somehow think that what’s happened in NY and CA ( and a few other notable places) isn’t going to ever reach them where they are. I’ve got news for them. It’s coming to where you live too. These jerks may survive to their graves if they are lucky, but their kids will have it in spades, unless they stand up and fight rather than fold their tent looking for a place where they don’t have to fight ( for the present maybe).
And here’s the kicker for Mr. St. George. My grandparents owned a beautiful polygamist home in downtown Provo, Utah (you know Brigham Young U. and all that). They rented one half to another family and the upstairs to students. Well when they died a bunch of years ago the family sold the place. I drove by a few years back to see what had happened to it, and you know what, there were FIVE MEXICAN FAMILIES living in it! Someone asked me (in Spanish) why I was taking a picture of “their” home.

11 posted on 11/21/2012 5:49:45 PM PST by vette6387
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