There are only three weeks to go before voters will cast their ballots on their school budgets in all districts except Buffalo, New York City, Rochester, Syracuse and Yonkers.
The next issue of NYSUT United features an article reporting that most school budgets increase class sizes, cut programs and close buildings so they can stay within the state-imposed tax cap. (The article is not live yet on the website. Remember the website is still locked down until we unveil the new one tomorrow.)
A NYSUT survey of districts statewide found the number of districts trying to override the tax cap was fewer than those making the attempt last year. It also found districts, like the city of Schenectady, staying far within the cap. The city school district could have raised the tax levy by 5 percent in its 2013-2014 budget and still been under the cap.
Districts had until Friday, April 26, to adopt budgets. So, the NYSUT United deadline was before we knew:
- devastating news that East Ramapo schools cuts all elementary art and music;
- a report on how Frontier schools in western New York cut reading specialists, guidance counseling, middle school nursing and more;
- a report about how Bethlehem schools cuts 56 jobs this year, bringing its three-year total to about 120;
- this report about the Potsdam school district, which cut 5.5 jobs, but had considered cutting 11; and
- in Massena, a group is upset that the north country district has cut alternative education and other programs.
Some of those articles mention the fact that state aid to schools next year is still below what the state provided for both the 2008-09 and 2009-10 years.
Getting mad about the lost opportunities for students? Plan to come to Albany June 8. Here’s a handy list of regional office phone numbers you can call to find out about free transportation.