Niagara Gazette

Local News

November 20, 2012

School superintendents worry over finances

Niagara Gazette — BUFFALO — 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.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
House Ads
AP Video
Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page

Do you think cigarette sales to non-Native American customers should be taxed on reservations?

Yes. Items should be taxed like they are everywhere else.
No, the indian reservations are sovereign land and they are selling them on their land.
Not up to me. Native Americans decide the rules on their land.
Don't care. Smoking isn't good for you.
     View Results