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DiNapoli predicts hefty property tax increase to support schools

By Howard B. Owens

Are you ready for your property taxes to go up another 7.7 percent?

That's what state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli says will happen in two years when $2 billion in federal stimulus money now being used for schools dries up.

The D&C reports:

DiNapoli said in a report Monday that unless the federal aid is renewed or replaced by state aid, schools will be hard-pressed to make up the loss of revenue. DiNapoli said about $2.8 billion in federal stimulus money went to schools this fiscal year, of which $1.6 billion restored proposed education aid cuts.

Charlie Mallow

Any talk of cutting school budgets is seen as taking from children. Your school taxes are the biggest cut of our property taxes by far. The school budget is nearly double the city's.

Dec 22, 2009, 10:39am Permalink
John Roach

You'll hear people talk about cutting cost during the School Board election next year. That does not mean they will really do it, but you'll get plenty of talk.

Dec 22, 2009, 11:31am Permalink
Richard Gahagan

New York spends more money per student than any other state in the country. Why? Is the education so much better than any other state?....No.

So why is it more expensive to educate a child in New York than any where else? Here's a clue.

A broad coalition of education advocates, seeking to protect school programs from elimination, and stop employee layoffs today filed suit against Gov. David Paterson, saying he acted illegally and unconstitutionally by withholding state funds allocated by the state Legislature for school districts.

The lawsuit was filed in state Supreme Court in Albany County by New York State United Teachers; New York State School Boards Association; New York State Council of School Superintendents; and the School Administrators Association of New York State. (ie. All the people that get paid from school taxes).

The Govenor is right spending needs to be cut, programs and jobs need to be eliminated and that is all there is to it. In additon to effectively cut spending and lower taxes the only answer is to also elimiante the unions and associations that think taxpayers acutually think they're worth the money their paid.

Dec 22, 2009, 11:36am Permalink
Mark Potwora

Boy Howard you really hit the nail on the head...Why don't they cut...Why did the city of batavia school district over pay teachers,are they recooping that money...Why do they have and extra 7 million in our tax dollars ...Why.How do private grade schools spend less per child and get better results...

Dec 22, 2009, 4:51pm Permalink
Richard Gahagan

Yeah and why can't they just fire crappy teachers and principals? Why can't they get rid of a crappy principal without creating some new adminsistrative position nobody ever heard of to evaluate test scores? They could save alot of money if they just kept the good teachers and gave them performance based pay incentives and got rid of the riff raff. You know, just like they do in private industry. If you don't perform well you get fired.

Dec 22, 2009, 2:12pm Permalink
Jeff Allen

The stimulus money allocated to schools was nothing more than a payback to the teachers unions for their campaign support. There is no evidence that "jobs saved" in the education sector were ever in peril to begin with and now that it is becoming apparent that the money was allocated not as a solution but as a kickback leaving states and districts to fend for themselves as it runs out, the absurdity of it all is obvious. What does it take lovers of President Obama to see that we have been had.

Dec 22, 2009, 3:01pm Permalink
Bea McManis

I agree that the tenure system for teachers doesn't work.
We suffered the effects of aging teachers, way past their prime, but in their job secured by tenure.
Performance based pay increases should be the norm. The ability to furlough incompetent teachers should be in place.
I've no doubt that there are many good and productive teachers who cringe when they see others holding a position for which they are not competent.
The same union, NYSUT - in this case, supports those good and productive teachers. Sadly for all involved it also protects those who should find a career in another field.

Dec 22, 2009, 3:14pm Permalink
Ken Rumble

I stopped voting on school budgets several years ago, waste of my time and gas to get there. A school district will get what they want no matter what the taxpayer thinks. Anybody remember the 20 some percent increase in Elba a few years ago?

Dec 22, 2009, 6:19pm Permalink
C. M. Barons

The government gives billions to the bankers; a group that logic tells us already possess a lionshare of money. They give money to the automotive industry. They give R & D money to the pharmaceuticals. They give same to the energy moguls along with tax breaks, leases and incentives. They funnel public Medicaid/Care clients into private insurance programs. The government is giving private corporations public money. They escalate foreign wars that mean profits for the munitions and military provisioning corporations. Hundreds of billions of dollars of our money goes to making rich industrialists, bankers, insurance and investment houses richer. Recently, someone in this forum posted the salaries of health insurance CEOs. Do any of those fatcats need one red-cent more?

Yet when dollars head our way to fund jobs, transportation, education or health care, we bitch. Isn't there something inherently wrong with this picture? Have we developed a form of snow-blindness from all the political snowjobs? When I write to my idiot congressman, Chris Lee, and tell him I want my money to come back to my neighbors and community- to pay for health care and education, not corporate profiteering, he tells me I'm alone in this concern. I find that hard to swallow.

I didn't believe Ronald Reagan's malarky about trickle-down then, and I certainly don't believe it now. Ask a plumber what flows downhill.

Yes, schools need to be held accountable- but the same goes for every other agency. On the same note, we need to rein-in federal money. New York isn't the only state that is in a pinch. New Yorkers pay more in federal tax than we get back. It's time for the federal government to take care of its domestic needs- not with programs that add new expenses. We need to institute a new buzz word: trickle-up!

Dec 23, 2009, 3:18am Permalink
Jeff Allen

We needed Schumer or Gillibrand to hold out on the healthcare bill so that New York could get a sweetheart bribe ala Nebraska, Louisiana, and others.

Dec 23, 2009, 6:12am Permalink
John Roach

Other states, like California, have started to make the deep cuts. New York's Assembly and Senate refused.

Remember, last year they raised State spending 9%. They knew they did not have the money and even used Federal Stimulus money to pay part of our State budget. They knew even that was not enough money, but they raised spending anyway.

We don't need "trickle up", we need a State Constitutional Convention.

Dec 23, 2009, 6:51am Permalink
Richard Gahagan

Y'all have been lowered to begging the government for money for decades. CM the billions the government "invests" in private corporations creates more jobs than any government job welfare program. Those private sector companies actually produce goods and services and make a profit. New York needs to cut deeply into every single government program. And the people of WNY need to stop being so dependent on the government to take care of them.

Dec 23, 2009, 9:27am Permalink

I agree John. No one should be immune to this. I am a youth advocate, always have been, but I know that there is a lot of places where monies could be saved if the Fed and State would stop MANDATING the hell out of everything!!!

That is the inherent flaw with this socialistic approach to our government. Everyone deserves it so we are going to mandate that you have it...but we aren't going to fund it properly, so you will pay for it in your Federal taxes, State taxes and Local taxes so it's there...unless you can't afford it...then you don't have to worry about it, because it is everybody else's patriotic duty to work hard and go with less so you can have it!!!

Yeah that makes sense.

I agree with Pay for Performance as well. No one should be guranteed a raise just because they walk in the door! How dumb is that?

Dec 23, 2009, 9:56am Permalink
C. M. Barons

The pay schedules or step-system raises that educators typically work under are designed to entice new talent into the school system- promising potential earnings after 12 or more years service. This system is based on an apprenticeship model. Teachers, fresh out of college, do not have sufficient work experience. It also allows smaller schools to compete for talent against larger schools who pay higher wages. Smaller schools will compress the steps so that salaries increase faster, thus paying competitive wages- not at time of hire, but soon after. Also included in this scale is compensation for post-graduate coursework.

Remember: for permanent certification, a master's degree is required. Most new teachers are not only pursuing a Masters, they are paying off education loans while in their first two years of actual teaching.

So, yes, this is a performance-based system. Teachers are constantly involved in advancing their own professional development.

The tenure system that has been criticized, was intended to prevent college/university presidents and deans from firing professors with whom they differed, politically. Protection should be in place to prevent management turnovers from arbitrarily cleaning out otherwise good teachers. However, it should not prevent dismissal of poor teachers based on longevity. Frankly, when I worked in education, the shoe was on the other foot. Management was trying to keep excellent teachers from retiring prematurely. One has to be cautious, what one asks for and not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

And Richard, asking to get my money spent on my state is not begging. I'm demanding that my tax dollars be spent on programs that benefit myself and my neighbors. It's our money- just because it's in the governments hands doesn't alter that reality. Unless I missed something in civics class, we-the-people still have a say in how our government works. That includes how our money is spent. When you come off sounding so arrogant and sel-righteous (as if there is something wrong with spending on health care instead of bullets) you become part of the problem.

Dec 23, 2009, 12:28pm Permalink
Richard Gahagan

There is something wrong with the government spending money on health care - We’re talking Medicare, Medicaid and Society Security, over $50 trillion in unfunded obligations that are growing by several trillion dollars every year. On top of that, it appears we’re going to get national health care. So they’re going to get reversed. It may not be done politically, but it will be done economically because the laws of economics speak to a higher authority. Big government throwing money at problems doesn't work. The government doesn't just want to provide health care for the masses. They want to control what you eat, what you drink, what pills you take, what medical exams your allowed etc. The government basically controlls all of WNY now anyway.

Whaaa the dairy farms are going under the government should send them some money, whaaa haa haa we need money to tear down the industrial center, weee hee hee hee if we build a business park in the swamps of the town of Alabama it'll be the silicon valley of the east (pipe dream), waaaa I want a new car the government should give me cash for my rusted out pinto, waaaa I'm sick the government needs to take care of me. On and on.

The enormous sums of money flowing into government coffers gives politicians the means to dictate the terms on nearly everything. Almost nothing in WNY is decided solely by market forces in the private sector. Political operatives spend public money at the behest of favored interest groups, (public employee unions) and consequently nearly every idea for "economic development" involves some harebrained scheme carried out by socialist-type planning that invariably fails.

The more you depend on government the less liberty and freedom you will have.

Dec 23, 2009, 3:10pm Permalink
bud prevost

Richard- while I agree that NY has it's faults, your constant bad-mouthing of my home is starting to annoy me. I've lived in several states besides NY, and I can tell you they all have pros and cons. I can tell you Texas is too damn close to Mexico for my taste, and as far as Houston, Dallas, and El Paso...all very ugly places. (I do like San Antonio-riverwalk, and Austin is a cool town, where it seems the average waiter has a masters degree) I'm fairly certain that a good number of Texans view their government as dysfunctional. So please, stop badgering NY.

Dec 23, 2009, 4:25pm Permalink
terry paine

Just a poll that I would hope all the people posting about this subject could answer for me.
What do you want to happen to anyone who can't afford, or decides not to afford this tax increase?

1 Imprisonment

2 Take their house

3 Tell them to seek public assistance

4 Make them understand they need to work harder (its for the children)

5 Move (join the others who live in more fiscally responsible states)

Dec 23, 2009, 9:05pm Permalink

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