Seems the over abundance of comments have casued Blogger to only show new comments in the RSS feed again and nothing new in the post itself. So a new budget post has been created here: LSD Budget 2011-12 (2)
As a commenter noted: the LSD has posted some documents concerning the budget over at their website. They are only summary documents but at least they are something. As per my question below of where did the multimillion increase come from: "Employee Benefits" up $2.9M over last year.
The LUSJ reported on the LSD budget that passed the board with a 8-1 vote.
...Adopted 8-1 Wednesday by board members, the $79 million budget would require a $1.5 million — or 4.8 percent — increase in the tax levy...
...Despite coming with a $2.2 million increase in spending, the budget also cuts 38.5 positions. Ten of those positions are retirements that will not be replaced, meaning 28.5 positions will be laid off.
“I think this budget still does provide quality and support for students,” Superintendent Terry A. Carbone said....
...The district lost $4 million in state aid and made $3.9 million in cuts, Carbone said. Lockport would also be using $3 million from its reserves, plus $742,000 from its appropriated fund balance. That would leave about $700,000 in the fund balance. The district was able to find $33,000 in savings with administration and $331,000 with the teachers giving up their career credit program and not taking raises outside of the step increases...
1) Overall spending still increased 2.2M. The LSD lost 4M in state aid but used 3.7M of the reserves and fund balance. That 3M is most likely not going to reappear again next year and will still need to be dealt with with.
2) The administrators gave up about 33k and the teachers 330k. If there is a 10:1 ratio of teachers to administrators they will have given up an equal amount of money. That 360k saved us 0.4% of our roughly $80M overall budget.
3) The article is a little hard to understand. It says we made 3.9 million in cuts. If these offset the 4M loss in state aid why the need for 3.7M to be taken from reserves and fund balances? If overall spending is 2.2M more than last year what are these "cuts"? Are they cuts in what would have been additional new spending this year? Would there seriously have been 6.1 million in structured cost increases this year? That's an 8% increase in last year's 77M budget. That could not be considered an acceptible cost structure. Will the same mess be staring us in the face next year regardless of state aid?
The Buffalo News reported on the continuing "Executive Sessions" saga and the LUSJ reported on the proposed realignment of the grades.
Phelps said she was told, “you will be informed of that when we get into the meeting . . . and then I voted ‘no’ on going into executive session.” The other seven members present voted in favor of holding the closed meeting.
“It seems like the Lockport model is to put the budget together, and then get public input after it’s final,” she said. “I should not be having any discussions on the budget that aren’t before the people. Executive session is not a dress rehearsal.”...
...He affirmed that the justifications for an executive session are few and must be openly disclosed to the public....It is nice to see someone is taking a stand. Nothing is better than executive sessions to discuss the budget away from the public and subsequently making the proposed budget unnecessarily hard for them to access.
and from the LUSJ:
...Lockport is looking at creating five primary schools, one intermediate and one middle school. This would be done by keeping kindergarten through fourth grade students at each of the five current elementary schools and moving the fifth- and sixth-graders into Emmet Belknap. North Park would house all of Lockport’s seventh- and eighth-graders. Emmet and North Park would house about 750 kids each, an increase from the 580 that occupy each building now.
But the reorganization plan still needs some fine tuning, Superintendent Terry A. Carbone said last week...
The Buffalo News reported on what we should expect in the LSD budget proposal next week:
City residents can expect the School Board to present them next week with a $79 million spending plan for the upcoming year that raises property taxes and calls for the restructuring of the district's elementary school buildings.
Despite spending cuts of $3.9 million, the plan represents a 2.6 percent increase in expenditures and a tax levy increase of 5.8 percent based on current assessment property values...Maybe we can cut a 100 more positions over the next few years before we can discuss concessions?
...The district would save $1 million in costs by re-designating the two middle schools -- Emmet Belknap for fifth and sixth grades, North Park for seventh and eighth -- and using the elementary buildings to house kindergarten through fourth grade. Class sizes at the buildings would average 25...
...Eight positions in the district would be lost through attrition and an additional 28.5 full-time equivalent positions would be cut. Last year, the district cut 38 positions...
...If residents vote the spending plan down and the budget is forced into contingency, Carbone said she would have to recommend cuts that included the elementary band program, the school resource officer and library services. Transportation is currently provided to students who live a mile or more away from their school building, but that buffer would likely have to increase as well. "None of those would be good for our district or good for the community," she said...
May 4th is the public hearing and May 17th is the vote. I wonder if the district will offer PDFs for the public to review before then?
To commenter below:
The LUSJ reported on the measures to be included on the ballot this year:
1) The Sports Complex (Palace)
The complex would be a $5.9 million project, for which Lockport receives 93 percent reimbursement in state aid. Assistant Superintendent of Finance Deborah Coder said the project is contingent on Athletic Director Patrick Burke’s promise to fundraise $750,000 to help cover the unaided costs of the complex. Those would include the press box, locker rooms and concession stand.
Coder said Burke and his organization would have to raise $750,000 by June 30, 2012 to keep the complex alive.
2) Building Updates
The $18.9 million capital project would address concerns raised by the district’s recent building condition survey. Along with a number of renovations and repairs made to the schools, the project also includes classroom and cafeteria additions at Roy B. Kelley and a cafeteria addition at Anna Merritt Elementary. The additions are needed to reduce congestion in the schools, while two rooms at Roy B. Kelley would be turned into a library.3) The Actual Budget
Board members also heard about something else on the May 17 ballot, the 2011-12 budget. Carbone shared the current version of the budget, a $78.8 million spending plan which is a $1.8 million or 2.3 percent increase from the current school year budget. It would raise the tax levy by 6.84 percent.3/18/2011
The budget features the reduction of 43.5 positions districtwide, including 10 retirements that will not be replaced. Carbone said the district was able to find $33,000 in savings with administration and $331,000 with the teachers giving up their career credit program. The district would also use $670,000 from its unappropriated fund balance and see a savings of $433,000 with its proposed restructuring, which would move fifth and sixth graders into one school while seventh and eighth graders would be in another. The district would have five elementary schools with kindergarten through fourth grade
The LUSJ reported on the latest BoE meeting on Wed.
The way it stands now, the 2011-12 Lockport City School District’s budget would have an 8.21 percent tax levy increase. That’s after the district has cut $3.6 million out of the spending plan.
The current form of the budget includes cutting the full time equivalent of 43.5 positions as well as a major reorganization. The district is looking at creating five primary schools, one intermediate and one middle school. This would be done by keeping kindergarten through fourth grade students at each of the five current elementary schools and moving the fifth- and sixth-graders into one of the two current middle schools. The other middle school would house all of Lockport’s seventh- and eighth-graders.
Trustee Diane Phelps didn’t like how much of the position cuts affected teachers and children in classrooms. Administration should shoulder some of the burden, Phelps said
One of the budget lines discussed included using $876,000 from the district’s capital project reserve. The money would be used to fund two projects without raising taxes if they are approved by voters on the May ballot. Those are the $18.8 million capital improvement project and the controversial high school sports complex which would be around $5.9 million.
Both are expected to be acted upon by the board at its next meeting March 23 at Charles Upson Elementary. If approved, they would be on the May ballot for district residents to decide.