5/19/2010

School Budget Voted Down

Posted by MJ


The Buffalo News and LUSJ reported.

The school board originally proposed roughly a $700k increase in spending at the first "large" meeting. It seemed the ensuing sentiment of "voting it down" caught their eye. It was then further reduced to meet the contingency budget threshold pretty much forcing us to vote "yes". It appears the voters rather have had their voice heard than accept what the board was proposing even though we may end up getting the same exact budget anyways (with a couple additional downsides).


The school board does have the option of submitting another budget for vote in June instead of just going directly to the contingency budget. Will they listen to find out what tax payers want to see or will they just be punished with the contingency budget and a "told you so"?


The district showed that it could make up for the reduction in state aid by cutting schools, programs, summer school, etc and dipping into its reserves. Was that the right path? Did it show enough effort in attempting to reduce structured cost increases? For those that voted "no", what is it you would like to see done?

Original Lockport City School District Budget Facts Slide Show

UPDATE: 05/20/10
The Buffalo News and LUSJ reported that the school board went and adopted the contingency budget.

...Carbone was disappointed that the budget did not pass but thanked the community for coming to the polls to express their opinion on the budget and frustration with the current financial climate. “I think it’s a reflection of what’s going on across the state and in our community,” she said.
“It was a very good budget that I think we worked very hard on,” said President Marietta Schrader, calling the budget process “transparent.”
Board member David Nemi echoed her sentiments. “We came out and told the public exactly what the tax levy would be,” he said, based on the estimated state aid loss. “We didn’t want to mislead the public...”
...“We were transparent as transparent can be,” Schrader said....

Thank you for playing the game where no matter what, they get to institute the budget they created. I failed to see the figures breaking down where are money is actually going in the system. A slideshow showing the equation expenditures=revenue, we kept the same budget, give us some money was as "transparent as can be"?

The hole most likely will become larger next year as other contractural obligations bump costs up again. The tough to institute measures that were avoided now will most likely be needed next year. Maybe we'll even find out where the money goes?

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

Each year we are made to feel as though we really don't have much of a say and that voting no will only hurt our children in the end.

Well enough is enough. We can make the sacrifices. Now let's see if the board can get it thru their heads that we expect them to make the proper cuts.

I would personally like to see some cuts made in administration along with the possibilty of looking into combining districts to cut costs.

annonymous said...

Well that's great, who is going to suffer? The kids, that's who. As a result of the contingency budget, all non school groups will have to pay for use of the schools. A lot of people don't realize how many programs depend on use of school facilities. These programs are all non profit and exist solely to serve the children in this district. Wait to see the loose of services that will result in the contingency budget. I hope you are all happy you got your say.

MJ said...

It's in the districts hands. They can choose to offer another budget or go to the contingency budget. If they go straight to the contingency then it is on them.

The slide show claims they held costs the same. That is true on the surface. But they held the costs the same by cutting services, etc while still giving everyone their raises, step increases etc.

In the real world pay raises etc are put on hold when a company has revenue trouble. It seems pretty logical when revenues go down that you need to control your costs. Usually labor costs are one of the largest. Conveniently enough there was no pie chart in the slide show showing us where the money is going.

If taxpayers saw that all school employees where giving up a 3% raise for example (for the children?), maybe the voters would be more willing to submit to a similar 3% tax increase to save some programs. One may never know...

Anonymous said...

Anonnoymous 3:10pm- Looks to me like they got you snowed into having to vote yes each year. I have four kids in the school system, I consider myself to be lower-middle class, and have volunteered my services over the years in the school system. My children will not suffer from this. Not to mention this is a scare tactic- they can still adjust their figures to accomodate these programs- they know people like your self will give in and ultimately they can blame the state!

Anonymous said...

I voted in regards to the school budget for the first time yesterday. The reason being that the board expected the taxpayers to roll over and accept whatever they presented to us, and nobody would care enough to show up and vote no.

After I read the quote from one board member (don't remember which one) saying that the public doesn't have as much say in the process as we think we do, that motivated me to go vote no. I will NOT roll over and accept whatever they present to us.

Our vote may have been largely symbolic as we may be stuck with the contingency anyways, but hopefully it sends a message that we DO have a say, and yes, we are paying attention.

So that being said, yes, I'm glad I had my say. And I can shred that piece of propaganda that the district sent out describing the budget, making it sound like it's not so bad, and what a great job they've done over the years.

Yes, I'm proud to have pulled the no lever...

Anonymous said...

We are very happy we got our say!!!

Rocketboy said...
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Anonymous said...

The contingency budget will hurt the students in this district and you are going to get the same budget that you voted down. So cut you off your nose to spite your face. Just like you did when you voted down building the athletic facility, that would have cost the tax payers almost nothing.

This mentality is the reason why we have relatively nothing in Lockport. What do you want from your school district? No sports, no music, no school clubs, no extra-ciriculars. This is about the students and their futures and so not so indirectly, we are talking about our own futures. You are talking about educating your future neighbors and co-workers. If you give these kids a positive educational experience and perception about the city they grow up in. Maybe they don't bolt the second they get out of college or maybe they stick with school and don't turn into the type of dropouts that soak off of society for the rest of their lives.

Basically, you are going to get what you pay for, if all you want out of your school district is a compulsory day care for children ages 5 - 18, then that is what you are going to get. If you give these kids something to be proud of maybe they will have some pride for the city, school and themselves.

So cut the paranoia, no one is trying to tax you to death, no one is getting rich off your taxes. Are the administrators perfect? NO. should they be more responsive to the tax payers? YES. But cut the holier than thou, TEA PARTY, tax payer revolt garbage. It is a very tired act.

Rocketboy said...
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Rocketboy said...
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Anonymous said...

Well said Rocketboy! The fact is, we in Lockport are already paying way too much for what we really get. Do your homework. Find out what services resident's are getting in most of the towns around here and you'll find out that we're the ones that are screwed!

Anonymous said...

I do think they should have figured out a way to cut an administrator, but I have heard the least senior administrator that would have been cut is the board member who made the infamous quotes wife!
Voting this down will hurt the city and most residents, no matter what you say. Do your kids participate in anything like scouts, optimist basketball, Y before/after programs? If they do then you will be paying to use the buildings. Even dance recital tickets will have to go up in price to cover the rent.
And you can rant and rave all you want, public employees are going to get their raises, there's nothing anyone can do.

Rocketboy said...
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Anonymous said...

Here we go again with the defeatest attitude.... Sorry but there's always church's, libraries, the youth and rec center, etc. You can find a place to hold your meetings or pay a little extra and have your organization meeting held at a school. Bottom line is we cannot continue with this insane way of voting. If we don't see some positive changes in this city, all we will have left living in Lockport are the Public Sector employees, and Welfare recipients- then Lockport will really be doomed.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it really makes sense to have all those rooms, gyms, and a pool that we as taxpayers are paying for sitting unused 16 hours a day, especially since I guess from what you are saying that only school users pay taxes!

Rocketboy said...
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Anonymous said...

No you can't use my bathroom because you aren't paying for it, as I am paying for that empty school. Not one of your best arguments there.

Rocketboy said...
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Anonymous said...

No, forgive me....you're right, we should just agree and vote yes to whatever our school board (school admistration) puts out there.... After all they know what's best and know how to manipulate a yes out of the voters.

Rocketboy said...
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MJ said...

It also costs more to keep the schools open, lighted, heated, etc extra hours for the groups. Nothing wrong with paying to play during hard economic times.

The school board made the decision to go contingency. They could have submitted another budget to vote on in June but chose not to. Don't blame the "no" voters.

As I metioned above, if it was truely "for the kids" we would have seen a wage/step freeze for next year. The 600k saved for closing a nice neighborhood school like DeWitt was less than 1% of the budget. That 0.8% could not have been obtained through top to bottom increase freezes? Whats the additional cost of bussing the addtional kids? Is that part of the savings figure?

Next year is going to be just as bad if not worse. The biggest costs in the system are going to need to be addressed.

LC said...

Rocketboy- I was(at 11:26am)sarcastically replying to the other anon. commentor because I voted yes without regret and may have to again next year if the board doesn't understand where the real cuts need to take place. From now on I will refer to myself as LC (Lockport Citizen)

Anonymous said...

MJ - it doesn't cost them anymore for the schools to be used after hours. Custodians are already on duty with light and heat cleaning the schools during those times. Not using these tax payer purchased/maintained facilities is a waste.

Rocketboy said...
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MJ said...

I'm not against non-profit groups using schools but I also don't think it is that major of a deal to stop people from voting "no".

The school board forced this hand to be played. No different than Giambra's "Red" and "Green" budget fiasco in Erie County several years ago. Once in a while the voters will bite back even if you try to set them up not to.

They took the easy route by going right to the contingency budget. Don't blame the voters. Next year we will be doing this all over again. They better start working on it now......

Phantom said...

If I had to do it over again, I would vote no AGAIN! The board went with the contingency budget causing the non profits to pay for the facilities. Instead of going over the numbers again and trying to find creative solutions, THEY too the easy way out.

Most people knew going in to the voting booth that it was mostly a symbolic vote, but they STILL voted because they wanted their voice to be heard. If the city comes and raises your assessment $20,000 will you lay down and accept it?? Don't tell me the tax payer revolt is garbage. We still talk about the Boston Tea Party to this day as a part of american history. It's not garbage, it's a democracy!

Proud NO voter.....Phantom

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