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July 29, 2009 - 8:20am

New York leads nation in school spending

posted by Howard B. Owens in schools, taxes.

If money leads to better education, New York's students should be the best in the land.

New York spends more on education per-pupil than any other state in the nation, and also leads the way in teacher salaries per-pupil and tax revenue per $1,000 of personal income, according to a press release from the Business Council of New York State.

  • New York spends $15,981 per student, 65 percent above the national average of $9,666.
  • The amount of spending per per-pupil on teacher salaries is #1 at $7,229, which is 81 percent above the national average.
  • Employee benefits per-pupil also leads the nation at $2,980.
  • Per-pupil revenue from local sources was $8,875, which is 75 percent above the national average.
  • New York spent $37.16 on schools for every $1,000 of personal income in the 2006-2007 school year, or 42 percent above the national average.
  • The state collected more than $5,100 per pupil in property taxes that year -- the fifth highest per-pupil property tax collection in the nation and 60 percent above the national average.

The press release cites the Public Policy Institute of New York State as the source of the data.

Peter O'Brien
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Leading in spending but not results. Invest some of that money in a waivers program and we might lead in results.
bud prevost
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The total overhaul in government this state needs absolutely includes our bloated, dysfunctional education system. This was a crappy way to start the day, as I already knew we were not getting any bang for our buck. Seeing it in type just affirms it.
John Roach
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There are two former Batavia School Board members running for election this year. Phil Ricci (D) for City Council and Rob Radley (R) for County Legislature. Look at your school taxes, look at this article and think what they might do to you property taxes.
Timothy Paine
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I have questioned this math on several occasions and never received an answer. According to their website, (Sperlings and a few realestate sites) the BCS district spends (approx. figures averaged from the various websites) about $9,300 per enrolled student and $12,500 per special needs students. The budget is $39,500,000 and the enrollment is 2,359 students. $39.5 million divided by 2,359 equals $16,744 per student. Where do the $9,300 and $12,500 figures come from? Even using the national average of 30% special needs students our cost per student should be $10,260. Is my math wrong? Does $39,500,000 divided by 2,359 equal $16,744? Isn't that the right way to figure costs per student? The budget total dollar amount divided by the total student enrollment? Has anyone ever checked out the salaries of the teachers and administration? Check out this site: SeeThroughNY.net and look up the Batavia City School District. I was suprised.
Mark Potwora
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Tim i've done the math like you also and come up with the same figures...Its cheaper to go to Collage ..Batavia's student enrollment has been declining for many years and the Budget goes higher and higher..$40 million ..John your right on also,to think either of those two will get spending under control when they didn't do anything to make a impact to reduce the school budget ,Don't vote for them..
Well John since you have named me personally, let's talk about this... During my brief tenure on the school board (one full budget cycle) our spending was increased by 2% and the overall levy by less than 1%, so your comments are not only off base, but not factual. What the article does not state, and honestly is left out over and over again when this topic is discussed, is how much is mandated by federal and state governments! Yes, by far New York school taxes are severely high! I absolutely loathe it, so don’t think that I am defending them! I, like many other residents, am amazed on how my taxes are almost as much as my mortgage payment! It’s disgusting! Since I was on BOE, I have been a budget ambassador for the city schools. Any one of these citizens that have served John can tell you there is very little in the budget that the local district can control. Most is dictated by the state or by ridiculous federal regulations. This past year, with the economic crisis, we ambassadors, questioned EVERY controllable cost that was brought to us! That included all non-mandated staff positions as well! The reason for this program is not only so people can see what actually goes on, but because the school budget is voted on every year! I would suggest John that you might consider volunteering your time this year and become an ambassador! You will see, like your fellow Batavians how difficult the process is and how many factors are involved! To tie back to your Property Tax statement...Let me say this for the record, I am in favor of right sizing our government! I don't know what all the best answers are yet to do this, so I won't say that I have them all. But what that does mean, is finding places to cut and doing it! That means having hard discussions and acting on hard choices. This is something that council has started to do recently, but only after we found ourselves in a budget crisis! Before this crisis, members of council did nothing to control our costs and plan for our kid's future. Thanks for call out John! I'm glad you gave me a chance to clear that up!
Karen Miconi
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Phil, if elected, what do you plan on doing about the local Pork Spending. I guess I mean are you going to take a look at the payroll of city employees and make some cuts? I think it is important to look at the big picture, and cut spending where it needs to be done, without fear of repercusions. We need someone to stand up for the taxpayers, and someone that can see through the mess. Sorry to chime in, as I am not read in Politics, but Im curious. I know alll you Bucks are knocking horns LOL
James Renfrew
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Public education? Sounds like socialism to me! It explains why that huge mural of Marx and Lenin hangs in the front lobby of the high school! Let's shut down school districts and encourage the formation of private schools and home schooling. Let those with children needing edjikayshun foot the bill themselves. My kid is grown up, why should I have to pay school taxes? Heck, put the kids to work on our farms after school hours, and make them earn the money for their own schooling. This would build character, and it would solve the immigrant labor problem, too! Child labor laws are yet another example of big government, don't you think? I better stop before I get convinced of the need to privatize police and fire operations, too. Of course, any time public employees band together dictatorship is waiting in the wings, better nip it in the bud now.
Mark Potwora
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Aren't all states under the same federal mandates Phil..How do they do it..Funny how you never mentioned the strong teachers union or the bloated administration Batavia has..That contributes to these budgets..Also you sound like a 2% increase in taxes every year is doing a good job..So after 10 years my taxes should go up 20% and thats good....I think that thats the wrong attitude..I wonder if all these taxpayers will see their pay increase that much every year..
Karen, Beautifully Stated! Yes through and through!!! That's exactly where I am. I promise you that there will be people who do not like everything that I do! I'm sure that when we actually sit down and talk about reductions in staffing there will be outcry against me! As long as what we are doing is right for the majority of this city though, I can live with that. You see Karen, it boils down to me to two types of people; Politicians and Public Servants. Politicians like to have sound bites. They like attention, and they enjoy having some form of status. They will do what it takes to keep that staus too. They will attack instead of debate, make large claims without facts. Public Servants are "community" members who want a better life for their families and do what they feel is right by listening to their hearts and what their neighbors tell them. I feel that I have always been a public servant and I know that I have the kind of support base that will tell me if I'm acting the fool! My wife is awesome! Listen, I will not always have an answer. That's when I will look to people like you for feedback. It doesn't matter if you're "read" up in politics! You are a resident of Batavia just like me! Thanks Karen!!!
Karen Miconi
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Mark, I think Unions, of any kind should be done away with, for the good of all. Equal rights for all workers, not just union members. Raises for ones that deserve them not just scheduled, mandated by the union raises. Non union workers are getting the shaft, and having to pay higher taxes for what?? The unions??
Karen Miconi
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Sound like you have the right intent Phil. I've got your back, not that it will make a difference. We need someone to reform spending, payroll, and take a big look at the way this city is run. I wish you GOD"S SPEED, and Strength my friend. Maybe Ill even register to vote this year. LOL
Well thanks Mark, The honest reason why I didn't mention the unions in my response is because I had no control over that cost! I was on the BOE while the contracts were solidly in place! I was not apart of that contract process, but you know what though? YOU'RE RIGHT!!!! Other states have had increases as well! We are just the worst! What I think you're missing is that I agree with you! New York state is a joke! They have created more mandates in education that ANY other state in the union to include Califonia!!And that's just sad! As far as what you said about do I think two percent is good? No I don't. I think a negative 2% is good, but that wasn't reality, so we did the best we could, put it up for the public to vote on and it was passed. To answer the last part of your statement...my branch that I manage increased 38% in profit last year. We were a top 10% center in my company and, due to the economy, I did not recieve a raise. So let me put it out there to you like this. I will never think that raising taxes so that a few people can have a raise, while thousand of others go without is a good idea! The stae system is a mess that the local districts deal with. I am interested in what ideas you have?
Thanks Karen! I'll do my best!
John Roach
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Phil, The school district taxes our cell phones, as posted earlier on this site. You were on the Board; did you try to remove this awful extra tax? If not, why not? What program or job did you recommed be cut? Do we need every job at the Board of Ed?
Dave Meyer
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I've been saying for some time that the Batavia district budget is bloated, due in no small part to its overbuilt infrastructure and its overstaffed administration. Phil...since you've jumped into the fray, how about some responses to these facts? For our *very* high school taxes, we get a ranking of 38th out of 97 districts in WNY according to Buffalo Business First. Some might say that's OK. Yet, in terms of COST EFFECTIVENESS the district is ranked 68th out of 97 http://buffalo.bizjournals.com/buffalo/stories/2009/06/01/daily143.html?... and in terms of ADMINISTRATIVE EFFICIENCY the district is ranked 77th out of 98 http://www.bizjournals.com/buffalo/stories/2009/05/25/daily63.html?page=5 Frankly, I'd expect that a school district that spends so much per pupil and has so much administration to score higher than 38th. Comments?
Timothy Paine
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David, did you check out that website I posted? When teachers complain about being the most underpaid profession I sure hope the majority of those complaining aren't in the BCSD.
Fred GUNDELL
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Funeral Procession ?: Tonight about 5:45 pm I heard sirens outside and went to the porch. I saw several Police Motorcycles with flashers and sirens going. Next came two State Police SUV'S,followed by a village of LeRoy police car, all with flashers going. A white Hearse followed. Then several motorcycles with American Flags, followed by another State Police car and additional cars etc. They were in the village of Pavilion headed south on Rt 19 from the direction of Leroy. Does anyone know who had passed?? And where they were going?? Thanks
Daniel Jones
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The quality of my education at Batavia High School was phenomenal and I salute the district and it's leadership.
Daniel Jones
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Let's clear the air on something too, Phil Ricci is a fiscally responsible person who has taken a hard stance on holding the line on taxes and unnecessary spending.
Charlie Mallow
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John, that was a pretty unfair generalization you wrapped Phil in. With your reasoning everyone who sat on a board that increased taxes should be voted out. I could accept that if your reasoning was clear. But, in the past you have made remarks telling people not to vote for the incumbents on Council that Phil is running against. So who do you recommend then? Today you also hinted that people should not to vote for Bob Radley but, using your own logic Rosemary sat on Council and helped raise taxes as well. So just who are you recommending people vote for? Phil is the Conservative candidate for Council. Knowing Phil, he is very fiscally conservative. Bob Radley is also a Conservative candidate. I obviously think Rosemary made the right calls voting for two tax increases on Council. So, Where are you at here John, I'm confused...
John Roach
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Charlie, I would vote for the other two Dems running and 2nd ward Councilwoman Clatenburg. I hope that helps.
Charlie Mallow
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Thanks for sharing John, they are all good people. It is still pretty early on so you have plenty of time to change your mind after hearing from everyone. I do remember you always leaning towards Conservatives or people on the line. It’s always good to see people widening their outlook, leaving party out and just looking at the person running.
John Roach
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Charlie, As you know, both you and Rose Mary only voted to raise taxes when forced in order to get us out of the $3 million dollar debt Frank Ferrando and others got us into. In addition, you and Rose Mary forced Mr. Ferrando to make many budget cuts as well. I do not always agree with Rose Mary, but her record for not voting to raise taxes or spending, unless really necessary goes back around 16 years. Mr. Ricci and Mr. Radley have not told us one program they tried to cut, not one job position they tried to cut and that cell phone tax bothers me. You and Rose Mary both have a record of cutting what you could. Neither of them does.
Laura Russell Ricci
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Maybe I'm confused here...isn't the cell phone tax a State tax?
Charlie Mallow
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Thanks for the clarification John. I was not trying to talk you out of your support for Rosemary. I do think you should give Ricci time to present his platform and record before you jump to judge this early.
John Roach
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Laura, While the state has a tax on cell phones, the Batavia City School District also has a seperate cell phone tax. Some people don't care, some think that it a good thing. I don't like it and want removed.
Dave Meyer
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Daniel Jones said: "Let's clear the air on something too, Phil Ricci is a fiscally responsible person who has taken a hard stance on holding the line on taxes and unnecessary spending." That's all well and good, and if he has been the lone voice in the pack attempting to hold the line, then good for him, but I stand by my position that the Batavia district has an overbuilt infrastructure that is costing taxpayers too much money. This was built with all that "free" New York State money - remember? Enrollment is going DOWN and we're adding on to buildings!! I don't get it. Once those buildings are built, they don't heat themselves. They don't maintain themselves. Money has to be spent to do that. When you couple that with my previous post regarding the $$ spent per pupil and administrative inefficiency (where Batavia ranks in the bottom third in both ratings) it's not a very pretty story. The board should be extremely embarrassed by those ratings and should be moving swiftly to turn them around.
Mark Potwora
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Hey David i'm with you on all that,but there attitude to turn those rating around will mean they need more money ..Thats always the excuse they give...If we had more money...Kids would be so much more smarter..Maybe time to get rid of some dead wood,maybe thats the problem..

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