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By John Addyman

   NEWARK (Mar 16 11) – In a very warm large-group meeting room populated heavily by staff members whose jobs might be on the line, the Newark School Board opened its latest budget scenario tonight.
   The number are $500,000 better than they were two weeks ago, but Bob Fogel, the Assistant Superintendent for Business, has rubbed the last luster off the magic lantern. Now the board has decisions to make.
   Schools Superintendent Henry Hahn said there are three ways to make up the $1.39 million gap between expenses and revenue: cut more staff and programs, raise taxes, and/or take money out of fund reserves.

   Fogel and Hahn started with a $2 million deficit and took $620,000 out of that –
making $30,000 in cuts in materials and supplies, $15,000 in field trips, $40,000 in athletics and extracurricular activities, and slicing $533,800 in salaries and benefits through what amounts to 10 teachers, as many as five paraprofessionals, and a custodian.
   If the district were to leave fund reserves where they are and make no more cuts, the resulting tax increase required to cover the deficit would be 11.2%.
   “’No way that’s going to happen,’ the board pretty much told me,” said Hahn.
   On March 30, the board will host a community budget forum to hear what the community thinks, starting a 6 p.m.
   That meeting may draw a crowd. If the board and administration makes deeper cuts, low-enrollment Art, Business, Math and Science programs at the high school will be targeted. There are additional cuts possible in special education and in the elementary schools.
   Tonight a group of art teachers made an impassioned plea for the continuation of their subject throughout the district. Board Member Susie Earl laid the blame for the country’s woes on out-of-control Wall Street houses and bankers. “It’s unfortunate the police officers, firefighters, public employees and teachers are bearing the brunt of this…every cut we make breaks our hearts.” 
   Some of the announced cuts are enrollment-driven. With class sizes dropping, the district can let teachers go and combine sections: that’s what motivated two teacher reductions at Kelley School, plus district-wide one less Reading teacher, a secondary Social Studies teacher and a .5 ESL Teacher and .6 Foreign Language teacher.
   In administrative changes, High School Assistant Principal Greg Herbst will become the new assistant at Kelley, but still keeps his athletic director role. A Special Education/Literacy Coach position will disappear in the elementary school because funding is gone. A special ed position at Perkins, a secondary  phys ed teacher and a custodian will also be released.
   Hahn said there are even more reductions being considered in one clerical position and in a tech support role that can be contracted through BOCES.
   The $40,000 reduction in sports will likely affect the modified teams (will play fewer games), the golf jayvees, the Ski team and the bowling squads.
   Fogel pointed out that state aid for Newark’s probable $40.9 million budget is predicted to come in at $23.7 million – a $1.9 million drop from what the district received last year – and last year was a reduction from the prior year. He added that there seems to be some movement in Albany to lessen the state-aid blow, and he expressed some hope that the aid reduction will be slightly less severe.
   Resident JoAnn Mincemoyer commended the board and staff for their item-by-item analysis of budget issues and cuts. She said she was relieved that the budget wasn’t getting “gutted” as had happened in prior years.
   “We’re looking at difficult times,” she said. “No one wants to see anyone lose a job.” She noted the staff reductions based on enrollment drops and said that was logical.
   “You have a challenge,” she told the board, “to look at what the district can do to facilitate students (who will lose available subjects because of low class enrollment). I don’t know anyone in this community who’s not hurting in some capacity. My plea is that we’re all in this together.”
   Mincemoyer noted the value of music, art and writing classes. “We’ve all seen the improvements that have been made.”
   Hahn noted the number of staff members who attended. “They’re concerned,” he said. Why shouldn’t they be? This is not business as usual this year.”
   Board President Roberta Colacino is hoping some clear messages come from the community before a budget is adopted, especially in the March 30 forum.
   “The community confuses me a little,” she said. “People came to the meeting tonight but left before the public comment portion. That makes it hard for me to tell where the community is on this budget. I’ve had people stop me and tell me privately that they’d rather have their taxes raised a little instead of cutting programs…but they didn’t come to the board meeting.
   “We’re in pain. As I told the board, ‘Would you rather have one sharp stabbing pain or an all-over body ache?’ It would be irresponsible for us not to raise taxes this year – we haven’t done it in five years, and I’m worried that people forget that. It would also be irresponsible for us this year not to take money out of the reserves and not to cut staff.”      


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  1. Anonymous Said,

    why does is always have to be someone loosing everything...why cant everyone involved loose alittle...salary cuts, sports cuts, tax increases, art cuts, this all seems to be equally spread around so that more people are not loosing their jobs completely...No one wants to give up anything but unfortunatley it is time we all have pull together.

    Posted on Thu Mar 17, 09:00:00 AM EDT

  2. Anonymous Said,

    I vote for more school tax increases. Just take what is needed out of the residence as needed. This is why we all love to reside in Newark. Get rid of the Superintendent and just have one for the whole County. It is time for everyone to take the hit load then the regular folks.

    Posted on Thu Mar 17, 11:16:00 AM EDT

  3. Anonymous Said,

    "That is why we all love to reside in Newark" it is nice that you speak for all Newark residents because my guess not everyone feels that way. Of course I don't know that to be a fact so I can't speak for them.

    Posted on Thu Mar 17, 12:03:00 PM EDT

  4. Anonymous Said,

    summer is comming and the rich will be headed to their second homes laughting as they get another tax break. Their kids going to education camps and private schools while public education will basically teach the basics if that.
    Class warfare is over the middle class loses it all. Those dam rich teachers, firefighters, and police doing such a worthless job!
    How dare them make a fair living.
    yep, the private secter has already bullied its employees into no health benefits and low wages so we want everyone in the middle class to suffer while the heads of the pyramid schemes make millions.
    The top five percent own 90% of the wealth in this country.

    Kids might as well be kept ignorant as being simple is all they have.

    Plutocracy look it up only taught in private schools.

    Posted on Thu Mar 17, 03:38:00 PM EDT

  5. Anonymous Said,

    HUH? What is your point your trying to make. My guess is there are not many Newark taxpayers who have second homes but then I am sure you have facts to back it up. Right? Also how many full time firefighters are in Newark. I thought none but then again you would know better then me. One thing I do know is if your house or the school is on fire I am sure you wouldn't think the firemen(volunteer or part time) are worthless.

    Posted on Thu Mar 17, 04:32:00 PM EDT

  6. Seth C. Burgess Said,

    If an increase in school tax would turn Newark Schools into a genuine asset to our community, I would gladly and proudly pay it.

    Posted on Thu Mar 17, 04:42:00 PM EDT

  7. Anonymous Said,

    Well this is the problem. This is what is happening all over the country. Newark is not the only place. Public employees in your case teachers are under attack as if they are the root of correcting our local, state and national budgets. You see we are all connected. The federal government cuts education it quivers all the way to Newark. Or they create so many entitlements for our special needs kids that most of the school budget goes to them because they are unfunded.

    While policies such as giving tax cuts to wealthy and corparations is a great problem.

    Example the GE CEO had a BONUS of 250 million dollars! Plutocracy

    The truth is Americans that need education for upward mobility in society live in a culture that does not respect schools. These parents and citizens spread this attitude. In a short time America starts slipping.

    Posted on Thu Mar 17, 06:06:00 PM EDT

  8. Anonymous Said,

    Plotocracy must mean fiction because I cannot find anywhere that GE CEo got a 250 million dollar bonus. Please provide link because you must know what your talking about. If not who should take you and what you say serious. If you are right I apoligize.

    Posted on Thu Mar 17, 07:35:00 PM EDT

  9. Anonymous Said,

    Let's look at some FACTS. NCSD employees make up about 67% of the budget with salaries and benefits. The teachers pay 13% of their health insurance. The cost of a single person's policy is about $6000 per year and the cost of a family plan is about $10,000 per year. They work 180 days per year. When you factor in the cost of benefits, and salaries and divide them by the hours they actually work they earn about $75 per hour. By the way, how many of you have their entire retirement paid for?
    During the past five years there has been no increase in the school taxes. That is cemmendable. However, at the same time the reserves were built up to almost 10 million dollars. It currently stands at about 9 million with both the dedicated and non-dedicated funds. This was paid for by the NCSD taxpayers.
    There is presently an 11.5% deficit in the 2011-2012 budget. How much of this is to be made up by and increase in taxes? This community cannot stand a tax increase. The school Board and Administrators need to go back to the the drawing board and find other ways to get these funds. Things need to change and there is no better time than now.

    Posted on Fri Mar 18, 12:45:00 PM EDT

  10. Anonymous Said,

    To Seth Burgess:
    The average cost of educating a student at NCSD is abour $18,500 per year, the highest in Wayne County and most of the surrounding counties. Just divide the amt. of students into the budget to get that figure. If spending money was the criterion for getting a good education then all our students should be on the honor roll. Instead, we are ranked 65th out of 85 in last year's Regents exams for schools in the Rochester area. Only one other Wayne County school was ranked lower than us

    Posted on Sun Apr 24, 12:04:00 PM EDT

  11. Seth C. Burgess Said,

    Alright. Let's set up a new one-room schoolhouse system. That should bring down the per student cost.

    Posted on Tue Apr 26, 02:33:00 PM EDT

  12. Anonymous Said,

    How about people go to school if they want and pay for it by themselves. We will pay the teachers minumum wage and they do not need a degree. Absolutly no health care allowed for the teacher also.

    Sports should be payed for by the parents now.

    Of course all the piss poor parents in the district would have kids at home and may have to do the raising instead of the school. Making parents take responsibility on how their kids act and their achievement.

    Taxes would look good....of course funding will have to switch to the penal system.

    Posted on Tue Apr 26, 09:10:00 PM EDT

  13. Anonymous Said,

    All that looks good to me!

    Posted on Wed Apr 27, 06:57:00 PM EDT

  14. Anonymous Said,

    school board members need to be better stewards of our tax money and be more involved in the schools. Do they understand what positions entail and are they necessary. Just because someone tells you its a great program doesn't mean it is. How many students are affected? Are they looking with impartial eyes? They need to look at actual grades, student by student, attendance and the cost spent to see if all of this "fluff" is worthwhile.

    Posted on Fri Apr 29, 09:54:00 PM EDT


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