two thousand twenty
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By John Addyman

   LYONS (Mar 8 11) – “This isn’t like any other year,” said Lyons Schools Superintendent Rick Amundson at tonight’s school board meeting, “when you’re dealing with decisions, none of which are desirable. It’s very difficult.”
   The school board has already committed itself to use $500,000 of its end-of-fiscal-year fund balance and impose a 2% tax increase to try to close the gap between next year’s budget expenses and the diminished revenue anticipated because of the governor’s school-aid cuts.
   But that gap, explained by Assistant Superintendent for Business Mike Pangallo, is still at $1.2 million – despite the $500,000 infusion from the fund balance and the revenue expected from the tax increase.
   Two weeks from tonight, Amundson and Pangallo will bring details to the board that will provide options – a mixture of program and staff cuts, plus withdrawals from dedicated fund reserves – to whittle down that $1.2 million figure.

   In the audience were three dozen teachers, some of whom may well feel those coming reductions.
   Amundson told the board he was thinking somewhere in the range of $400,000 to $600,000 in cuts, and using $600,000 to $800,000 in reserve funds. He said his figures would show the board “what $400,000 in cuts look like, and what $500,000 in cuts looks like. The higher that (cuts) number is, things start looking really bad…there’s no way we can cut $400,000 without cutting people’s jobs.”
   One teacher, from the back of the library, asked when staff members would know that their job might be on the line.
   “Anyone whose job will be on the board two weeks from now – I will have talked to them beforehand,” Amundson said. “The decision-makers are the board members. It’s their job.” He opened his arms to gesture to the six board members who sat around him. “This is what they were elected to do.”
   School Board president Sharon Tiballi told the teachers moments later, “There isn’t one of us who ran for the board to cut programs or people’s jobs. This really stinks. We know how hard you all have worked to increase those test scores. We know there are problems in the classrooms. But education has changed since we were in school. The governor is forcing us to do this. It really stinks.”
   The Lyons budget for 2010-11 is $18.7 million. With salary increases projected at $171,979 for next year, benefits going up by $242,724, transportation costs rising $173,039 – but BOCES costs falling $193,491 – the 2011-12 budget is $19,141,623 – before any cuts. Revenue, including the $500,000 from this year’s fund balance and a 2% tax levy increase, is $17.9 million; thus, the $1.2 million shortfall.
   Pangallo said the reserve funds could come out of the retirement system fund, the bus fund, unemployment insurance and debt service – about $1.5 million total. The district would still have $3.4 million in reserve. Amundson and Pangallo said that amount was “appropriate,” according to outside auditor Ray Wager.
   Amundson had prefaced the budget discussion with a plea for everyone to keep writing to legislators about the inequity of the way cuts have been distributed, impacting upstate poor districts much more severely than the downstate wealthy suburban districts.
   “More and more comments are being heard,” he said. “Upstate New York and the districts in the Finger Lakes have really gotten the shaft. It’s time for communities all across the state to get going and get the word out to your legislators. There’s still time to make a difference.
   “All were asking is, ‘Be fair. Do the cuts equitably.” We’re not asking for more aid – we know that can’t be done. We’re just asking that the cuts be done equitably.”
   Wayne County districts will lose an average $1,456 in state aid per child. In Lyons, the figure is close to $1,200 per child. School board members in the county are caught between a rock and a hard place.
   Pangallo stressed that the budget being presented was severe. “We’re putting ourselves at risk, we’re budgeting so tight,” he said. “This is a no-nonsense, no-frills budget. There’s no excess in here whatsoever.”
   “I pray we get a little bit of aid restored and we can go back into the budget and decide which cuts not to make or which reserve we’re not going to take money out of,” said Amundson.
   Another teacher asked Pangallo what savings would be realized if a wage freeze were instituted district-wide. “$247,000,” said Pangallo. 


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  1. Anonymous Said,

    There’s still time to make a difference !!!
    I Quote ~ We only pray that the answers arrive soon . Such sadness for all.
    signed : A concerned Wayne County Resident

    Posted on Tue Mar 08, 10:49:00 PM EST

  2. Anonymous Said,

    Wake up folks is this what we want? Does this lead us to a promising future. Or is the same recipe as the down fall of Rome. Time to make cuts on real things. I am pro military but, come on this is ridicules.

    Stupid wars we will never win such as Afganastan.

    Lets not compromise the lifestyle we are protecting or what is the point?

    The truth is that U.S. military spending is greater than the military spending of China, Russia, Japan, India, and the rest of NATO combined.

    Who is the fool

    Posted on Wed Mar 09, 01:15:00 AM EST

  3. Andrew DeWolf Said,

    After receiving the school mailing regarding this, I requested more information from Mr. Pangallo and Mr. Admundson. I don't feel educated enough to make any decisions yet, neither should anyone else. This is an emotional topic for those with children. I do have a few questions I hope the Administration and all school staff would be willing to answer: Are you willing to take pay cuts to keep a job? I know I would be. Additionally, the superintendent's salary is now $165,000 and Business administrator's salary $97,000 alone. Are they willing to be Leaders and take salary cuts to keep teaching positions if the teachers are willing to do so? How's our ratio of administrators to teaching staff? Are there low hanging plums like this we could possible reduce or trim to maximize the number of quality teachers teaching, and keeping the staff that maintains the schools, grounds, and feeds our children in jobs?

    Posted on Wed Mar 09, 07:24:00 AM EST

  4. Anonymous Said,

    Another attack on the middle class. Lets stop cutting domestic spending and look to the big drivers of our debt problems.

    The answer is not cutting salaries it is adjusting what is important in our society. These cuts you talk about are nothing in the scheme of things. Lets say it would save one position with your cuts later you would attack the teacher for making 68K after 15 years in the field. After having to spend thousands to get to a masters level education.
    I guess public employees should have no health benefits and make a decent living. As they are doing it for the kids. We live in a capatilistic society!!!!!!!!!

    A talented administrator is worth this kind of money and this really not a lot this is a fair cost. Look at CEO's of corparations or hospitals that we hust gave huge tax cuts making millions to billions.

    Posted on Wed Mar 09, 09:03:00 PM EST


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