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March 19, 2013 - 8:18am

Today's Poll: Cuomo says school districts and municipalities should merge, do you agree?

posted by Howard B. Owens in polls.
Ted Wenzka
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I cannot believe the number of people who voted NO. In the days of the horse and buggy maybe yes but not in today's age. Please explain why Elba and Oakfield/Alabama is not merged, why is Attica and Alexander not merged. People cry about high school taxes and yet turn down the best way to lower school taxes and increase opportunities for the students. Unbelievable!!!!!!!!!

Kyle Couchman
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Ted...people are pissed at Cuomo for the safe act as well as the three men in a room style budget negotiations that are going on. So thats why they are negative. Merging makes sense to me too.

Honestly how many people do it all the time within families when things get tight. I know of 4 families across the state where the member with the biggest household and bills began altering the house so that it houses 3 other familes be they daughters, sons, parents, grandparents etc.

Its more economical and unlike tenants they are family and can help in other ways that become fiscally sensible. Merging is happening in the home so why cant towns and districts consider it.

Ted Wenzka
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Kyle,
If "people are pissed at Cuomo for the safe act as well as the three men in a room style budget negotiations that are going on." is their reason for voting that is absolute stupidity and means things will never change. There is no relationship between the two issues.

Mark Brudz
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Ted, it is the countless mandates (Most Unfunded) that drive up the cost to school districts, even in the article that Howard cited for this poll, the opposition to Cuomo on this the stated reason.

The problem with consolidating districts is that you are creating an even larger government entity, without relief from the mandates any savings are only temporary, so you in effect create a bigger monster.

That is the same problem with city/town consolidations etc, initially you save, until the next wave of mandate from above, and then you have to start again.

Government and government services that are more local could be much more attentive to the needs of the people if, and only if, they were free from the onslaught of mandates from higher levels of government.

Without that, consolidations of services are merely a band aid.

Frank Bartholomew
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Mark,
If school districts would do their jobs, and not try and push kids through, we wouldn't need any mandates, we create our own monsters.
When an adult in his 30's can't read and write, but has a high school diploma, something is very wrong.

Frank Bartholomew
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Another chicken shi% votedown without a comment.
Don't take my word for it, ask the Batavia City School District why NYSED is at the middle school .

Mark Brudz
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Frank, kids getting pushed through as you put it, is a result of, not caused by some of these mandates.

And seriously, if your position were to be correct, how does making the monster bigger in anyway correct that situation?

Just remember, the primary educator of a child is his/her parents, most study and learning problems start there. The larger the government entity, the less likely the parents play a role.

Kyle Couchman
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Ted I have to agree with what you said, it is stupid, its the same kind of stupidity you see all over the place and is why we are where we are as a country. I dont think the population has ever been as unsettled as it is now since the civil war or revolutionary war. But you can see it not only hasn't opened the eyes of those who govern us but it has made them play even more games with us and our lives. Time will tell where this is gonna take us but we are the ones that are suffering and waiting for change while we watch people complain about things until November then they vote their party lines and swallow the kool aid and wonder why things dont change.

Frank Bartholomew
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Mark
Thats a bunch of horsecrap, how many parents have a masters degree in teaching?
See comment #7
What position are you talking about, the district doing their jobs?

Bob Harker
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Frank, you don't believe that good parenting is the key to child's success in school and in every other facet of life?

When parents let TV raise the kids because they are "too busy" doing whatever, that kid's chance of success is greatly diminished.

Being involved in homework, holding the child accountable for his or her actions, positive reinforcement are crucial to a kid's success in school.

What better form of teaching is there?

Mark Brudz
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Ask any teacher, they will tell you the same thing Frank.

Study habits at home, follow up by parents with teachers, paying attention to what kids are learning, being a part a child's life beyond serving them dinner and paying their dental bills is all a major part of the education process.

In essence, helping to mold a child's character is every bit part of the process as memorizing multiplication tables.

What is horse crap is the belief that ANYONE should just drop their children off in a school building and leaving everything in a child's learning to someone who holds a Master's Degree is in anyway responsible.

Parents begin teaching their children from the day they are born, what can a teacher teach a child who doesn't study? What can a teacher teach a child who's parents teach them the opposite by example?

Educating children should be a team effort, family community and school all serve to mold a person into what he or she is as an adult.

Frank Bartholomew
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Mark,
Before you go running off at the mouth, when did I say anything about the role of parents, I'm talking about trained professionals who get compensated quite well to do their jobs. I'm talking about academics Mark, not charactor building. Like I said, ask the City School District
why the New York State Education Dept. is at the Middle School.
Beleive me, its not because of parenting.

Mark Brudz
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Frank, academics does not stop at the school door, it just begins there. Before you 'Run of at the mouth' re-read #11 and #12

And from my comment number 12

"Parents begin teaching their children from the day they are born, what can a teacher teach a child who doesn't study? What can a teacher teach a child who's parents teach them the opposite by example?"

And why was the NYSED at Batavia Middle School? Probably to enforce their mandates, we have outstanding teachers at all levels in Batavia, both in the Public Schools and the Parochial schools, the best teacher in the world can not force a student to study.

The biggest lie we are being told by government as far education goes academic or character is that more money will make it all better, or that it is the teachers fault that a child would rather play Xbox than do their homework and study, that is the problem in big cities and other places.... it is all about work ethic and personal responsibility, and that is not only a major part of the education process but comes from the home not the school.

Frank Bartholomew
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As long as people like Mark make excuses for those who don't perform, they never will.
I never studied outside of school, and I was a straight A student, I had better things to do, like chores and deliver newspapers.
Mark, you act like your're smart enough, so why don't you find out for
yourself why NYSED is at the Middle School.
And you can bet your ass, if I could do it over, I would have home schooled.
If all the teachers are so damn good, why is NYSED there? They're not in Oakfield, they're not in Elba????

Jack Dorf
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The state's rapidly growing pensions costs are one of the most expensive mandates for local governments. In 2002, pension payment from local governments was $1.4 billion and have grown to $12.2 billion in 2012, an increase of over 650%. Consolidation will have little to no impact on this expenditure for local governments.

Many of you know of this site. It's real easy to see why we are taxed so high.
http://seethroughny.net/

Mark Brudz
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Frank,

My Daughter will Graduate from college this summer, The teachers at Batavia High School and the Former St Mary's did a fine job, And the hours that my wife and I spent helping her with homework and teaching her that study and homework were every bit as important paid off.

My eldest son carries a triple major as a junior at SUNY Fredonia and is semester after semester on the dean's List, His work ethic is way beyond a young man of his years and the teachers from Batavia High School, Batavia Middle School and the Former Saint Mary's School again gave him an exceptional base to build on.

My youngest son is currently attending Batavia Middle School, when my wife and I review his homework, I am totally impressed by the amount of material his teachers cover and their willingness to take the time to help him succeed like his older brother and sister.

I have yet to meet a teacher in Batavia that I would consider a bad teacher, in fact most of them I have found to be outstanding, and I do communicate with my children's teachers through out the year sometimes with email sometimes in person but they always have been there to help me mold my children into the best that they can be. And frankly, (Pardon the pun) are not only receptive to that communication but relish it.

'People like me' I don't make excuses for anyone, I have found a lot to like in the Batavia School District.

BTW, My Children did and my youngest does chores, two of my children have had paper routes (On of them two paper routes at the same time) and always found and still find time to study.

Your assertion that teachers here are not doing their job is simply put as "Absolute Bullshit!!

You have not given 1, not one fact that would indicate anything that would convince me otherwise.

Jack Dorf
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Frank, you seem to be blaming teachers for every kids poor performance in school. That's nuts. The breakdown of the family structure is the #1 reason for kids poor performance and failing school. Why does the city of Rochester have a 45% graduation rate and 2 miles down the road Brighton has a 98% rate. Not every kid is going to be an "A" student but when they receive little to no help at home and come to school in the morning starving because their lazy ass parent couldn't get their ass out of bed to feed their child don't blame it on the teacher. You have no clue how much the teachers in Batavia go above and beyond to help these kids out. In school and out.

Frank Bartholomew
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Mark,
Unfortunately, I disagree with you, and you haven't shown me any facts that would change that.I'm glad your
children did well in the City School District, does that make them the mother of all school districts, I don't
think so, and I can prove beyond the shadow of doubt, not all children get a FAPE in the city school district.
If it is your perogitive to dispute that, knock your self out.I know better.
I'm talking about Batavia, not the inner city of Rochester where drugs alcohol and crime dominate daily life. Again, why is NYSED at The
Batavia Middle School if everything is as you say?
And you have no clue how they pick and chose, and stereotype.
And guess what Mark, when they fail, they in turn blame the parents. So save all of your bs for someone who is uninformed.

Mark Brudz
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You keep throwing NYSED out there like there is some criminal investigation Frank. Who gives a Flying Frankfurter that they are there at all.

I see what I see, and it isn't just my children, And your accusation that not everyone gets a 'Free Appropriate Public Education' [FAPE] for those that wondered again is simply that, an accusation.

You can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt you say..... Go for it.... Put up or shut up, nothing pisses me off more than someone throwing out accusations without backing it up with evidence.

But I digress, since you went off on this tangent, explain to me how merging with another school district which is the topic at hand is going to change your misguided belief

Frank Bartholomew
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Jack
Did the thought that just maybe both parents have to be at work at 7 am ever occur to you. Maybe you need to check out why NYSED is at the middle school as well. I'm sure they're not there to tell them how great they are.

Frank Bartholomew
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MARK,
Like I said, I'm not talking out my butt, I can prove what I am saying. And what I'm talking about should have been criminal.

Mark Brudz
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"And guess what Mark, when they fail, they in turn blame the parents. So save all of your bs for someone who is uninformed."

And that statement Frank, you have absolutely no friggin idea how far off base on that one you are in regard to this issue''

You KNOW that there is a problem with FAPE in Batavia Middle School

Then either lay out a fact or crawl back where ever others that use false accusations hide.

Frank Bartholomew
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Howard discourages what you're asking, but to call me a liar in your cute little way is quite humorous.
So for those who disbeleive, crawl back in your hole, or out from the rock you're stuck under.
I got a lot of my info from a child advocacy group, unlike the feces
stained words I'm reading here, I seen with my own eyes what school districts can be capable of when they fail, and get caught.

Mark Brudz
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I happen to know that Howard discourages unsubstantiated accusations Frank. nice duck.

NO ONE called you a liar at anytime, simply asked you to back up your claim, if you can't then please spare us the accusation.

If you can not provide what you called proof, then simply do not make the claim.. So if you have proof, then go for it, if you don't then all you are doing is gossip.

And none of it would be cured by merging with another district, which is what this thread is about.

Howard B. Owens
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Cuomo's comments are just more kicking the can down the road.

Whatever saving there is -- and it wouldn't be much -- would be just a Band Aid on the serious structural problems in state governance. Cuomo doesn't want to deal with those issues, so he's blaming local governments. It's pure political spin.

The longer Cuomo is in office, the less I like him. He's nothing more than another craven politician.

Mark Brudz
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Pretty much the way I see it Howard, very well said

Howard B. Owens
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Mark, in fairness to Frank, there's more to it. I'd say take it off line.

Frank Bartholomew
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Mark, Your simply not that important to me to prove anything to, so just keep living in your little fantasy world where all is good.
Now if you want to make a wager on whether or not I can back up what I said, lets go.
Sorry Howard, didn't mean to go off, but this issue does get my emotions worked up a bit.
Mark, you brought up mandates, not me.

Mark Brudz
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We will just let it rest Frank...

Jack Dorf
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Frank, I am aware of why the NYSED is at the middle school. For you to place blame directly on the district and teachers is simply misguided.

Frank Bartholomew
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Jack,
Are you suggesting it's the students fault? That would be misguided.
Mark, are you sure you don't want to wager a couple hundred bucks?
Don't take our debate personal, I'm just very passionate about the topic.

Mark Brudz
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Frank, I am suggesting that the issue that is driving you right now should be kept private. It is not related to Cuomo's merger statement and it is not the place to debate it.

I hope whatever the outcome of your situation, that you can live with the result.

May I respectively suggest that you let it rest completely before it becomes way too personal for you.

May God grant you peace of mind no matter what the outcome

Frank Bartholomew
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Mark, thanks for the advice, but it became personal a long time ago. NYSED being at the middle school is a
result I can live with. May God bless you as well.

Ted Wenzka
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Mark- you got it wrong. It is the high salaries, high benefits with almost no copay, the excessive number of administrators that drive up education costs. Why do you have a separate superintendent for Elba and Oakfield/Alabama. I believe you could get away with one to cover both districts.

Mark Brudz
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Are you so sure that you will realize those savings Ted?
Below is some data found on http://www.newyorkschools.com

Pay particular attention to Instructional Expense as a percent of Adjusted Total Expense:

The savings even on a percentage basis isn't as great as you may suggest, there are all kinds of other factors that vary from geographic location, age of facilities, construction of new facilities etc. You also have to factor in busing and time factors that students need to travel to and from school.

I went to High School in Chittenango NY, my bus trip 1 way was 15 miles, not complaining mind you but I would board bus at 7 Am and be dropped off back home at 4:45 PM, This distance is comparable to the current Oakfield-Alabama, Attica, Alexander, Pavillon and Leroy Districts, and busing cost are issues there. Just how many miles and how much time should a student be on the bus? There are a whole host of factors that need to be considered in a consolidation.

But the data is here all the same.

Elba school district
547 Students K-12
teacher ratio 11.3 to 1
Cost per Student $15,256
Percent Employee Benefits 18.29
Total Expenditure $8,405,787
Instructional Expense as a percent of Adjusted Total Expense: 84.56

Oakfield-Alabama
1051 Students k-12
Teacher ratio 11 to 1
Cost per Student $13,043
Percent Employee Benefits 15.68
Total Expenditure $14,308,602
Instructional Expense as a percent of Adjusted Total Expense: 82.94

Alexander
996 Students K-12
Teacher Ratio 12.5 to 1
Cost per Student $14,728
Percent Employee Benefits 16.62
Total Expenditure 14,772,387
Instructional Expense as a percent of Adjusted Total Expense: 83.27

Attica
1692 Students K-12
Teacher Ratio 12.1 to 1
Cost per Student $14,051
Percent Employee Benefits 15.70
Total Expenditure $23,957,646
Instructional Expense as a percent of Adjusted Total Expense: 81.23

Byron Bergen
1410 Students K-12
Teacher Ratio 12.2 to 1
Cost per student $13,594
Percent Employee Benefits 15.66
Total Expenditure $16,842,786
Instructional Expense as a percent of Adjusted Total Expense: 85.02

Leroy Central Schools
1216 Students K-12
Teacher Ratio 12.1 to 1
Cost per student $13,417
Percent Employee Benefits 13.56
Total Expenditure $19,414,962
Instructional Expense as a percent of Adjusted Total Expense: 81.22

Pavilion School District
898 Students K-12
Teacher Ratio 10.5 to 1
Cost per student $15,989
Percent Employee Benefits 13.20
Total Expenditure $14,374,188
Instructional Expense as a percent of Adjusted Total Expense: 79.09

Pembroke
1313 Students K-12
Teacher ratio 12.6 to 1
Cost per Student $12,419
Percent Employee Benefits 16.86
Total Expenditure $15,809,806
Instructional Expense as a percent of Adjusted Total Expense: 79.92

Batavia
2463 Students K-12
Teacher Ratio 10.9 to 1
Cost per Student $15,550
Percent Employee Benefits 16.37
Total Expenditure $40,025,897
Instructional Expense as a percent of Adjusted Total Expense: 85.21

Ted Wenzka
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Mark, Yes I believe we will realize savings and your data is very enlightening. It shows the biggest problem is "Instructional Expense as a percent of Adjusted Total Expense". What company/organization could survive when those percentages make up more than 3/4 of expenses. If these were companies in private industry, heads would roll, salaries for professional (exempt) employees would be frozen, layoffs would occur, the company would file bankruptcy or go out of business. Of course education is a protected business. They do not follow normal business practices. All they have to do is reach further into the taxpayers pockets.

Mark Brudz
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Ted, "Instructional Expense as a percent of Adjusted Total Expense" means that the administrative and facility cost is the exact opposite of what you are suggesting,

It means 80% of the expense is directly related to educating not administering or maintaining the facility, You have it exactly backwards

Bob Harker
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Frank after all your blathering and name calling, can you remind me from which school you are a graduate? I'll certainly encourage my kids to not allow their kids to attend there. You may have "gotten straight A's" but certainly learned nothing about debating issues or even more importantly objective and cognitive thinking.

Do you even have enough on the ball to be embarrassed by your own nonsense?

Mark, why waste time with this guy?

Frank Bartholomew
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So 80 % of the cost to BCSD is for labor/pensions/benefits,excluding administrators?

Mark Brudz
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Percent Employee Benefits 16.37, which by the way is right in line with other industries

Instructional Expense as a percent of Adjusted Total Expense: 85.21

Adjusted means Teacher salaries, the portion of the 16.37% benefits which go to teacher salaries, the upkeep of classrooms themselves, the cost of books, audio visual equipment, mandated programs, sports, music, art theatre, non student funded field trips, special Ed programs, teacher supplies etc.

Central Administration: 861,245
Board of Education: 74,105
Teacher Salaries: 13,551,503

#Note The data is from Before the closure of Robert Morris and the sale of the old Admin building

Frank Bartholomew
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Bob, Where is the name calling? I like that word "blathering" bet you've heard it your whole life.
Like I said before, and if you could read and comprehend, I can prove what I said.
Have a nice evening bob.

Mark Brudz
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When Everyone starts seeing all these imaginary savings, ponder this:

Unreserved Fund Balance: 1,224,034
State AID Revenue: 15,310,898
Star Revenue: 3,710,300
Total State Revenue (State Aid + Star): 19,021,198
Local Revenue: 19,225,422
Federal Revenue: 2,126,048
Total Revenue (state + local + federal revenues): 40,372,668
Central Administration: 861,245
Board of Education: 74,105
Teacher Salaries: 13,551,503
Pupil Personnel Services Instructional Salaries: 926,309
Curriculum Development and Support Instructional Salaries: 826,147
Boces Instructional Expenditures: 3,500,570
Tuition Paid to other districts (excluding special act districts): 22,022
Tuition Not Included in Tuition Above: 341,566
Other Instructional Salaries: 2,956,205
Other Instructional Expenses: 1,755,231
Community Service: 0
Operations and Maintenance: 3,042,547
Teacher Retirement: 1,171,463
Health: 4,182,766
Other Employee Benefits: 1,950,955
Other Undistributed: 532,151
Other: 14,994
SubTotal (total exp minus debt service expenditures (principal & interest) and transportation):
Transportation: 875,493
Debt Service-Principle: 2,320,000
Debt Service-Interest: 1,120,625
Total Expenditure: 40,025,897
Duplicated Combined Adjusted Average Daily Membership: 2,574
Revenue Per Pupil: 15,685
Expenditure Per Pupil: 15,550
Actual Value Per Total Wealth Unit (Property Wealth Per Pupil): 192,977
Income Per Total Wealth Pupil Unit: 81,802
Combined Wealth Ratio: 0.623
IE 1 (Instructional Expenditures Excluding Fringe Benefits) as Percent of Total Expenditures: 59.66%
Percent that fringe (employee) benefits for the instructional program are of total expenditures: 16.37%
Instructional Expenditures (Including Fringe Benefits) as a percent of total expenditures: 76.03%
Instructional Expense as a percent of Adjusted Total Expense: 85.21%
Local Revenue Effort Rate (Local Revenues Divided by Property Value): 29.2

Again prior to the closure of Robert Morris and the sale of the old Admin building

Howard B. Owens
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Stop with the personal insults.

Frank Bartholomew
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My opinion on the subject, and what bothers me most, is the fact all these small towns, and small districts would lose their own identity.Cuomo's suggestion shows his true incompetence, as well as an attempt to pass the buck

bud prevost
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The one issue that I agreed with Gov Cuomo was the need to consolidate governing entities in NYS.

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