State Aid Update for 2011-2012
Please allow me to provide you with an update regarding the status of our state aid for the
2011-2012 school year.
As you may know, the Governor's proposed budget included a 1.5 billion cut in state aid to
local school districts, under the title "Gap Elimination Adjustment" or GEA. The actual impact
of that cut on our district was approximately 11% once all factors were taken into account,
not the 2.9% as initially stated by the Governor's office.
At great issue is the fact that most rural, central upstate school districts, as well as small city
districts around the state suffered a vastly disproportionate share of the projected cuts as
contrasted with other much wealthier districts. For example, the Northville District share of
the cuts represents $1247 per student on an overall budget of 9 million. However, the
Tuckahoe district, a downstate district of similar size to us but with a budget of 16 million, is
projected to lose only $396 per student. The Fonda-Fultonville District is projected to lose
$1871 per student, as contrasted with the similar sized downstate Bronxville District, whose
budget is nearly double FFCS's but which is projected to lose only $245 per student.
Jim Beirlein, SHeldon Ginter and I joined with Fulton County Chamber of Commerce
President Wally Hart, representatives from the HFM BOCES administration and BOE, the
Superintendents and BOE members of the B-P and FFCS Districts on Sunday and Monday
at the New York State School Boards Association State Issues Conference in Albany. Our
goal was to meet with our local legislators to present a complete and accurate accounting of
the disproportionality of the proposed GEA cuts, and to advocate as strongly as possible for a
change in the formula that was used to calculate these cuts.
We met for over an hour with Assemblyman Butler, Senator Farley and Senator John
Flanagan, who serves as Chair of the Senate Education Committee. The group reviewed the
data with them, and cited examples of the impact that these cuts will have on our individual
districts. Our request to them was to refuse to accept the current formula, and to work
diligently to create a formula that will consider factors such as poverty levels (free-reduced
lunch numbers), local income data, and other important factors that limit the ability of local
taxpayers such as ours to make up for the lost state aid. We are also advocating that if the
tax cap is enacted, there must be substantive mandate relief that will actually make a real
difference in our current mandated costs.
I'd like to be able to tell you that we were wholly successful in our quest for equity, but I
cannot do so. I can state, however, that Sen. Flanagan did make the statement that, "We
need to find a compromise on the inequity of the GEA cuts."
Our advocacy work continues. We have been invited by Wally Hart to attend a meeting with
the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors tomorrow morning at 8 AM, at which time we
will discuss their endorsement of the tax cap proposal and what that means to local districts.
We have also scheduled a press conference for tomorrow at 11 AM at BOCES to state our
opposition to the proposed GEA cuts, and to publicly solicit the support of our legislators to
fight the inequities.
In the meantime, every letter, phone call, email or other form of contact with Senators Farley
and Flanagan and Assemblyman Butler helps. A simple but heartfelt expression of objection
to the proposed cuts makes a big difference. Yours just might be the letter that convinces our
legislators to adjust the formula and equalize the cuts. Every voice counts.
Thanks for listening.
Northville Central School
FROM: Kathy Dougherty, Superintendent of Schools
Northville Central School District
Ph: 518-863-7000 x 4121
RE: Public Budget Forum Held
DATE: Feb. 15, 2011
The Northville Central School District held a Public Budget Forum at 6 PM on Tuesday, February 15 in the school auditorium.
The purpose of the Forum was to present information that is either directly or tangentially related to the 2011-2012 budget, including portions of data taken from the following information:
- A historical perspective on the district’s revenues since 2006, including NY State aid, tax levies and STAR funding
- A historical perspective on the district’s expenditures since 2006 by amount and percentage of the budget, including breakdowns by the budget categories such as salaries and benefits; building maintenance and operations; special education costs; BOCES fees; curriculum and development and supervision; transportation; debt service
- The historical change and projected change in assessed values and full values of all district properties since 2006 by township, including a discussion of equalization rates and their impact upon district revenues
- An analysis of fund balances and reserves since 2006
- The impact of the NY State Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) on state aid allocations
- Projections of revenues, expenses and fund balances from 2011-2016
- Projections of the costs of employee benefits through 2016, including health insurance and mandated retirement system contributions
- Comparisons of projected revenues versus expenditures through 2016
- The impact of the outstanding Hudson River – Black River Regulating District tax payments on the district budget
The information was presented by Mr. Bruce Ellsworth, NCS Business Manager; Mrs. Kathy Dougherty, NCS Superintendent of Schools; Dr. Richard Timbs, the district’s Project Financial Advisor; and members of the NCS Board of Education. Dr. Timbs retired as District Superintendent of the Erie 2- Chautaugua- Cattataugus BOCES, which is located in western NY, after a lengthy and distinguished career as a school district administrator. He currently serves as Executive Director of the Statewide School Finance Consortium, an independent agency that provides financial research and guidance to member school districts and other policy-making entities.
The Forum also included an open period for public comment on these topics, as well as for the solicitation of comments and suggestions related to budget priorities and district spending. Questions related to the Forum may be addressed to Superintendent Kathy Dougherty at 863-7000 x 4121, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.