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March 15, 2019 - 4:59pm

No significant program cuts anticipated as City School District looks to trim spending by $750K

posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, news, notify.

With each budget revision of the Batavia City School District budget for 2019-2020, Business Administrator Scott Rozanski gets a little closer to trimming $750,000 in spending.

He said school officials are also hoping state aid will increase for the year so the district can keep the property tax levy from growing more than 4.69 percent.

In the latest revision, Rozanski has penciled in $51,118,155 in spending.

He expects about $25 million in state aid, though hoping for more, and local revenue of more than $27.4 million. That would include spending $3.1 million in fund balance with a tax levy of $20,608,000.

But that tax levy amount would mean an increase of 8.78 percent, well above the legal limit of the state's property tax law.

Over three revisions, Rozanski has already trimmed off more than $500,000 but he still needs to find enough savings to get the levy down to $19,834,000, or lower.

A levy under that amount would allow the budget to pass on a simple majority and ensure district property owners would be eligible for a tax rebate from the state in the fall.

A Tuesday's school board meeting, Rozanski said administrators and department chairs found $166,000 in purchases that could be canceled or delayed.

The district will also be able to save $120,000 by letting positions stand vacant after staff retirements.

When asked by a board member why the positions weren't being filled, Rozanski said, "We need to look at things a little bit differently in how we're operating so we're looking for savings."

Those are the kind of cuts Rozanski continues to look for in the budget. He said he doesn't anticipate any significant program cuts.

Overall, the school district expects to cut spending by more than $2.8 million but $2.1 million of that spending came from a statewide bond initiative five years ago that allowed school districts through the state to improve technology-related infrastructure. The cut in revenue and expenditure offset each other as the program comes to a close.

The other $750,000 that must be cut is the result of an NYS Comptroller audit a few years ago that found the school district was estimating revenue correctly but underestimating expenditures in its annual budgets. This was leading to a growing fund reserve. The reserve had become 7 or 8 percent of overall expenditures when it shouldn't be more than 4 percent. That money, the report noted, should be returned to taxpayers in the form of tax cuts.

The district had a reserve fund for debt service but the Comptroller said debt service should be paid out of the general fund so, over the past two years, the district has been transferring money from the debt service fund to the general fund. The debt service fund is now tapped out, hence the need to cut $750,000 in expenses.

david spaulding
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C&P Rozanski said, "We need to look at a little bit differently in how we're operating so we're looking for savings."
That sentence does not make sense.

Sam DiSalvo
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It is disheartening to watch schools continue to cut budgets and for the government to not increase education spending. Education is the key to improving our future, preparing people for careers, and growing as a nation and global community. Why we as a nation don't invest more in education is beyond me.

The egregious budget proposed by Trump isn't helping education: with a proposed 12% cut to education from Federal funds (approximately $8.5 billion), it's no surprise education is struggling in America. Also proposing to eradicate SEOP and Public Service Loan Forgiveness-among other education programs-is detrimental to education, and with similar cuts to secondary education, I can see why our local high school needs to find ways to cut corners. But at least we'll have more money for defense spending under this proposed budget. A larger military will help America far more than education ever could...

Daniel Norstrand
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I for one, can appreciate your sarcasm Sam. The continued increases in military spending is absolute insanity. The indoctrination of school children to hero worship of our military is largely to blame for the corrupt military machine. So while education to truth and facts is sorely needed, more money really isn't. Our educational system is very top heavy with "administrators." If the ratio of administration to students were cut to the levels they should be, there would be extra billions of dollars to meet students needs. Here's a link to an article on that:
https://www.aei.org/publication/chart-of-the-day-administrative-bloat-in...

Rich Richmond
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Sam, what’s sad, is New York State spends more per student than the National Average, according to the latest US Census Data.

The belt-way politicians in Albany spend more than the U.S. average of $11,762.00

We spend an average of $22, 366.00 per student. Isn't that enough for you?

Much of this crushing burden of school taxes is on the backs property owners in the City of Batavia, many on a fixed income with no relief in sight. Let us not forget to add unfunded State mandates, fees, hidden or otherwise, and other confiscatory taxes imposed on us. Many of us were once struggling students at one time.

Taxpayers in New York are now being forced to pay for free college for illegal aliens.

Despite the fact we pay almost twice the national average per student, thank you for sharing with us, as a candidate, or possible Candidate, running for City Council, simply as a Democrat, that you believe we need to raise our school taxes to compensate for Federal education cuts you blame on President Trump, even though we must pay ever-increasing Federal Taxes.

Sam DiSalvo
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Rich, I dislike back-and-forth conversations on blogs and prefer in-person conversations, so let me know if you'd like to meet to discuss this.

In short, I understand the amount spent on students as I've written grants comparing this. I disagree with paying for college for non-U.S. Citizens.
I would rather see education funding increased and military funding cut on a Federal level rather than education funding cut and military funding increased.

Yes, I am a Democrat running for City Council. I did not state that I think our taxes need to be raised - you are putting words in my mouth with that statement,because of "simply as a democrat". I would welcome an in-person conversation rather than blanket internet blog statements made on political lines about beliefs of Democrats and Republicans.

Rich Richmond
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We all prefer-person-to person conversations whenever possible, Sam. I'm sorry to hear that you don't like the back-and-forth, especially when you choose to Post on this fine site, that Howard and Billie provide for civil discourse. What is wrong with transparency on an open forum? If you don't like the back and forth, why post here, and especially when your posts are of a political flavor?

On March 13, 2019, Post #17, on another subject, "Speaker calls out Democrats who voted for state's Reproductive Health Act," you said, John - Please include that people who are simply Democrats exist, as they are different than a Liberal Democrat, similar to how a Conservative Republican (or Tea Party) and a Republican are also different."

Whenever there is increased Federal Funding to the States, the Washington Beltway always includes strings and conditions how the money must be used.

The same for Albany. Cuomo collects our tax money, and then magnanimously with fanfare gives it back to us, for votes, while telling us how and where it will be spent. That money has to come from somewhere, and that is called taxes. I want to shrink the Federal Government, not grow it.

Thank you for the clarification that you are running for Council as a Democrat, simply or otherwise, and good luck with your campaign.

Howard B. Owens
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Here's a list of per-pupil spending for all states.

https://www.governing.com/gov-data/education-data/state-education-spendi...

Rich Richmond
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Howard B. Owens
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Jim Urtel Jr
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Where is the slot money for the schools? After all, that was one of the biggest reasons to push for the slots to pass in the first place. All you ever hear about are cuts to education or how the school system is struggling. How did they ever survive before the slots? With the money that the state is fleecing so many out of their money with gaming and lottery, how can they tell us that there is a shortage anywhere?

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