3/01/2010

School Budget Update.

Posted by MJ

Buffalo News reported that the Lockport School District is considering removing dedicated librarians as part of their budget balancing maneuvers.

The effect of a $7.9 million deficit is rippling throughout the Lockport School District, with libraries as a possibility for the next hit.
Administrators e-mailed the district’s certified library media specialists last month, warning that their positions may be eliminated for the next school year.
The five positions are shared by the district’s seven elementary schools to teach computer classes and staff library periods.
If cut, teachers would absorb some librarian duties, while other programming, such as dedicated library periods, could be eliminated. It was not immediately clear whether librarian’s assistants would also be affected...
And still no final decision on which school(s) to close but three are nominated:

...Schrader and Superintendent Terry Ann Carbone have told The Buffalo News that closing candidates include DeWitt Clinton, John E. Pound and Washington Hunt elementary schools. The three are the district’s oldest and most technologically outdated, and they cost the most to maintain....
A typical "good" class size is around 18 students. Districts such as Niagara Falls have 28 students set as the maximum in their union contracts and classes often reach that ceiling. Lockport is right in the average range.

...In Lockport, closing a school has been a discussion for at least a decade, Carbone said. The district’s incoming kindergarten class this year was about 30 students below previous years, the superintendent said. Still, the district had always been able to afford keeping all of its seven elementary schools open and offer lower class sizes. A $7.9 million deficit changes that...

...Most elementary schools throughout Niagara County have about 20 students in an average class. For the 2008-09 school year, according to state records, DeWitt Clinton had 18, while John E. Pound and Washington Hunt had 19 each. The schools that stay open could be affected, too. Roy Kelley Elementary, for instance, has an average class size of 17, which could go up if it absorbs students from a closed school...
As thought, selling a school building would be tough. They are offering up district warehouses as the reuse. Very imaginative though I guess it keeps the structures maintained.

...Although selling the closed school building would be ideal, it’s unlikely the district will find a buyer anytime soon, Carbone said. Instead, the buildings can be repurposed and create space for other district services, such as records management and technology storage. District officials are reviewing budget scenarios and data to make a final determination. The future should look clearer by the board’s next meetings, Wednesday and March 10. A final budget, along with a closure plan, must be approved by April...
I wonder again where the public can easily access the school budget and its cost breakdown. Lack of information makes educated discussion hard to accomplish.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

How come you never hear any discussion of the district cutting any administration positions? When it comes to actually effecting the students teachers should be the last resort.
In addition with the State cutting aid they (the legislature) also needs to cut all the bureaucratic requirements the teachers need to attend to that takes them away from teaching!

Anonymous said...

No problem with the above comments, but remember they are looking at cutting elementary school librarians that are doing a job teachers can do.
I don't think this will hurt the kids much at all, and I am happy to see the board looking at actual cuts.
I don't agree with turning closed schools in to storage facilities, they should be either sold, given away, or mothballed so that there isn't any on-going costs except keeping lawns mowed.

Anonymous said...

I agree totally with your sentiments. However the teachers should be priority number one. They’re the ones that support the kids one to one.
You don’t see Carbone giving anything back. How about some of her $150,000 salary? How about the yearly $5,000 contribution to her tax sheltered annuity? How about the 100% coverage of her and her husbands retiree health benefits for life? How about her yearly $6,050 flexible spending account? or How about her 35 days of vacation each year? Do as I say not as I do!

wrightontime said...

Lockport School District had a great opportunity to dump top paid salary by extending a state retirement opportunity and allow a contractual sicktime buyout to teachers to retire. Many if not most district are taking advantage of this. But not Lockport, they refuse to extend the sicktime buyout to teachers with less than 30 years. If the district and Union would have agreed to open this up to teachers with 25-29 years, they could have seen many top paid teachers reire and allow cuts thru attrition or if they had to hire, it would be at a much lower salary.But what do you expect from a district that wants to close schools to students and teachers, but keep the schools open for stoeage and offices. Not my idea of repurposing.

Rocketboy said...

Come on... if the Lockport School District just said "Hey, we're going to try to reduce spending by controlling labor costs", nobody would be outraged, and nobody would think that there's a good reason that school taxes are so high. But by standing on the top of a hill yelling that schools will close unless the get more money, it's a great way to hide the issue, and get people to agree to pay more in taxes. Meanwhile, they can all keep living off the public, without any real sort of way for the public to have any say in what's going on.

Come on, we all know that we were wrong when we voted down the sports complex... at least according to the Lockport School District we were. We were so wrong in fact, that at one time, they were calling for a re-vote.

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