Budget Forum March 27, 2012

  • Click on the icon below for video of the Budget Forum held March 27, 2012 at Harry L. Edson Elementary School. 

    Expanded Questions and Answers from March 27, 2012 Budget Forum

    With our school enrollment decreasing, why are our costs increasing? Public education is a people-centered institution, so instructional expenses and employee benefits make up the most of our budget.  Legally binding contractual obligations and State-mandated pension contributions make up a large portion of the increase within these areas. Until there is reform to mandates like the Triborough Amendment, which prohibits public employers from changing any provisions in an expired labor contract until a new contract is signed, we have limited control over these areas.

    That being said, we are a 7,000-student school district that is still operating like an 11,000-student school district. We need to become more efficient and maximize all of our resources in light of the new realities in our District. 

    What are some mandates that you feel should be eliminated?
    This letter outlines the mandates I believe should be examined for elimination. If you agree, sign your name and input your email in the space provided to have the letter be automatically emailed to members of the New York State Education committee. 

    Is there still a possibility you will cut music, band, and/or art?
    We will not cut these programs, but we will examine them to make sure they are being delivered effectively and efficiently. 

    In the proposed Capital Project, what does the $4.92 million bond for the aided portion represent to taxpayers? The bond represents money that will be reimbursed by the State. Since funding is already part of the New York State budget, taxpayers have already contributed through State taxes and have the opportunity to channel their taxes directly back into our community. 

    What will be the number of faculty and staff layoffs? We are hoping to minimize the number of staff layoffs by decreasing our staff through attrition. A retirement incentive is being offered that will enable the District to consolidate positions and realign responsibilities. 

    Are all the unions looking to help out or just the teacher’s union? We will be meeting with all the unions except the union for substitute teachers.  Substitute teachers are paid on a per diem basis and do not have any extras to negotiate. 

    What is the Kingston City School District’s Cost Per Pupil? The 2010-2011 cost per pupil was $19,164. This is under the Ulster County average for 2010-2011 of $21,833. The cost per pupil for the current school year is not yet available. 

    What happens if our State Aid is increased? Read about Kingston’s State Aid increase (this link will be activated at a later date.) 

    What funding is Kingston receiving for the federal Race to the Top program? We will receive $528,000 over a three-year period. This funding can only be used to implement Race to the Top initiatives like data-driven instruction. 

    What is the cost to implement Race to the Top? We will spend $528,000.