two thousand twenty
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By John Addyman

   NEWARK (APR 13 11) – The Newark school board voted unanimously tonight to adopt a $40 million budget for next year, then split 4-2 on part of the funding for it – a 2.5% tax levy increase. Residents will vote on the budget May 17.
   After Assistant Superintendent for Business Bob Fogel had gone through the budget numbers – which include a $731,000 reduction in staffing – the board debated how to pay for everything. That required a balance of a tax increase and withdrawals from the district’s reserve funds: how much of each to consider? Fogel’s report recommended a 2% tax increase and a $1.05 million withdrawal from the fund reserves.
   Higher tax increase numbers were floated.

   Board Member Teresa Hurley disagreed with that. She noted that the Village of Newark is discussing a 7.5% tax hike. If the school district hits residents with a 2.5% increase, “I don’t see how Newark can afford a 10% property-tax increase,” she said.
   Using Schools Superintendent Henry Hann’s analogy of the three ways to close the budget gap – cost reductions, increase in taxes, use of reserve funds – Board Member Tom Ledbetter went through the numbers and felt that a 2% or 2.5% tax increase wasn’t enough.
   “It misses the mark,” he said. “This clearly puts us on a path that is unsustainable. We’ll be making deeper cuts for the next two or three years.” By using large chunks of the finite reserve funds, the district also spends down its “rainy day” money that is set aside for emergencies.
   Ledbetter felt the board should pass a budget with a 4% tax hike and let the voters decide if that’s too much, or if it’s more acceptable because it would negate some program cuts. “We can give the voters a plan that is sustainable,” he said. “We should give voters the option to say ‘No’ to an increase versus cuts in program.”
   Board Member Joe DeSanto recommended a 2.5% tax increase – higher than what Fogel had recommended. “Taxes will be hurting everybody,” he said, “but we have an obligation to the students. This would give us some wiggle room this year to analyze what’s happening.”
   “These are my children and my tax bill as well,” said Board Member Yvonne MacTaggart. “We need at least a 2/5% increase.
   Board Member Susie Earl said she was “most comfortable at 2%, but I would go up to 2.5%.”
   “We can’t look to the future without some kind of tax increase,” said Board President Roberta Colacino. “It looks like 2.5% is the place to go.”
   “By not going to at least 3%, the board is making a mistake,” said Ledbetter. Having a little more funding to work with was useful. “We have a history of finding efficiencies and giving it back.”
   Colacino instructed Hann to start looking at ways to save money next year, including a serious discussion about closing a school and renting it out to BOCES or a daycare center.
   Hann said the district needs to use its reserves this year, but continued tapping of those funds “will eat us up. We need to look at other things and facilities are one of them. If that’s going to be our plan, we need to start looking at it right away.”
   Colacino, noting that Hann had warned there were “no more knights in shining armor” who could rescue the district from its funding predicament, asked, “Why can’t we be our own knights in shining armor?’ She said the time had come for people to start writing letters and making phone calls to legislators to make it clear things are not right in state funding.
   “We need a big letter-writing effort, phone-calling, a get-on-the-bus-and-go-to-Albany thing,” said Colacino.
   The vote to adopt the budget was unanimous. When the tax levy/reserve withdrawal was voted on, it passed 4-2 (Hurley, Ledbetter). The district will use $990,713 from its reserve funds.
   Ledbetter asked for an exit poll or a segment of the ballot itself to ask voters if they voted “No,” was it because the taxes were too high or the cuts were too deep. He said this budget process “has been a gut-wrenching experience” and thanked Fogel for all the work he had done, walking the board through several budget drafts over the past three months.
   Staffing cuts include: one teacher on special assignment at Kelley School, two fourth-grade elementary positions at Kelley, one literacy coach, one Reading teacher, one special ed teacher at Perkins, a secondary Social Studies position, a secondary phys ed position, half an English as a Second Language teacher, .6 of a Foreign Language position, two secondary special ed positions, fewer paraprofessional hours, one custodian, one secondary Science teacher, a .4 Business teacher, one clerical worker, one second-grade teacher.    
   At the end of the meeting, JoAnn Mincemoyer asked Fogel what percentage the budget would go up in the 2012-13 school year. Fogel told her 2.5%, or about $1 million.
   “If all stays the same, the economy goes as it goes, and the governor limits what we can raise through taxes, what would the deficit be next year?” asked Mincemoyer.
   “$1.79 million,” said Fogel.
   “We continue to hear that contracts have not been settled,” Mincemoyer continued. She said many things beyond salary were negotiated. “We live where taxpayers must pay the bill. I plead that everyone comes together and looks at that and works at that. I don’t think everyone understands how difficult it is out there right now.”


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  1. Anonymous Said,

    Board member Hurley should resign and take Ledbetter with her.

    Posted on Thu Apr 14, 06:29:00 AM EDT

  2. Anonymous Said,

    Spoken like a person who does not know what they are talking about. Many of the teachers and programs which were let go could have been saved . First there is too much fat in the budget. Secondly, the teachers get 76% of the entire 40 million dollar budget. They got almost one million dollars more in this budget for benefits alone plus another $400,000 in increased wages. Some sacrifice on their behalf would have restored many of the teachers and programs which were let go. What have they contributed to the budget process?

    Posted on Thu Apr 14, 06:50:00 PM EDT

  3. Anonymous Said,

    Yep, its always those wealthy teachers and faculty at fault. Yet we want quality people teaching and in our society raising our kids. After 6 years of school after high school teacers should live a life of poverty, would that make you happy.
    Who should make a good income in our society?

    Maybe you would be happy if teachers and their families had no health benefits or maybe we should hold all of our employers to a more humane standard.

    Posted on Thu Apr 14, 08:14:00 PM EDT

  4. Anonymous Said,

    Goodbye Tom. You want to know why (when the vote is over)were the teacher cuts too many or was the 2 1/2% too much ? The taxpayers want to know why there were no administration positions cut with the the amount of money that is being paid out. 175,000.00, 160,000.00,160,000.00 and then the principals, vice principals,etc,etc. What about the sports programs ? Football that requires the most in equipment,insurance, and coaches. The program under McGavisk for the last 16 years has been 1 or 2 wins over 500. Not like when Coach Greene or Lenny ran football ! Newark baseball is the same! How about a change ? The Newark School Board wants the Newark taxpayers involved. How about putting information in the local papers and stop using abriviation in the telivised meetings ? Explain what your spending money on. I'm retired, on a fixed income, own my house, but when do you want my deed signed over ? I want the students to succeed and prosper. I've raised two families all graduating from Newark High School and they are all doing well.Please Board bring our student grades up. For the amount of money I'm paying it should be alot better scores.

    Posted on Thu Apr 14, 08:30:00 PM EDT

  5. Anonymous Said,

    Just recieved my MBA and I will wade in on one point. For most organizations labor is the majority of cost. It is called human capital and the game in the business world is reducing enough cost but still get quality results.

    My wife is administrator at a hospital and 70% of its cost are employees.

    Living outside of wayne county I can say teachers are considered lower middle class in income.

    Posted on Thu Apr 14, 08:33:00 PM EDT

  6. Anonymous Said,

    How much does your wife pay for her health insurance, prescriptions and co-pays?

    Posted on Fri Apr 15, 08:15:00 AM EDT

  7. Anonymous Said,

    If you want to see how much we are paying our POOR TEACHERS go on line to: seethroughny.com they show all 2010 salaries which do not include benefits. With what they get paid one would expect that all the kids would be straight A students. In the cumulative Regents ranking in the Rochester area schools, Newark is presently 65th out of 87, only North Rose-Wolcott is lower.

    Posted on Fri Apr 15, 02:29:00 PM EDT


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