Archive for October, 2011

Reporting on our report

October 18th, 2011 by Robert Lowry

A week ago, we released our report, At the Edge:  A Survey of New York State School Superintendents on Fiscal Matters.

It has generated a lot of attention.

I was invited to discuss the report with Liz Benjamin on Time Warner cable’s Capital Tonight statewide television show.

Superintendent Neil O’Brien of Port Byron (Cayuga County, west of Syracuse) and I discussed it with Susan Arbetter on the statewide Capitol Pressroom radio show.

It received a good amount of print coverage.  I think Gannett News Service did the best piece, running in many of their papers.  See this version from yesterday’s Rochester Democrat and Chronicle as an example.

A Sunday editorial in the Albany Times Union said, “The superintendents’ report should be required reading.”

UPDATE:  And on Wednesday (October 19), as reported in the New York Daily News, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer cited our report in advocating for part of the President’s jobs plan.

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Category: Finance, State Budget | 5 Comments »

Commissioner King’s conference presentation now available

October 14th, 2011 by Robert Lowry

The video for State Education Commissioner John King’s presentation at our fall conference last month is now available on the State Education Department’s website.

See here.

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Category: Leadership | 2 Comments »

At the Edge — the Council’s survey on school budget decisions

October 12th, 2011 by Robert Lowry

Yesterday, the Council issued a report on its survey of superintendents on school budgeting issues.

The report, titled At the Edge, is available here.

A presentation summarizing the survey is here.

A key theme of the report is that although schools absorbed one of the biggest cuts in state aid ever in 2011, and now face operating under a property tax cap, this was not the first tough year.

State aid was also cut in 2010-11 and most aid was frozen in 2009-10.  At the same time, schools have had to absorb steep increases in pension and health insurance costs.

As a result, going forward, schools find it harder and harder to make cuts that don’t cut jobs or hurt student services.

A spokesman for Governor Cuomo responded to the report by saying, “The schools and school districts chose to make these reductions in the classroom rather than dip into their reserves, cut back on the bureaucracy or reduce the growing number of administrators.”

But the report plainly contradicts these claims.

Nearly 90 percent of superintendents are concerned by the extent to which their districts are already relying upon reserves to fund operating costs.  Without the reserves used this year, their districts would have had to cut spending by over 4 percent, raise taxes by an additional 7 percent, or adopt some combination of the two.

The report also shows that districts cut administrative positions more steeply than teaching jobs.  Superintendents reported eliminating an average of 7.5 percent of administrator positions in 2011-12, compared to 4.3 percent of their teaching staff.

Category: Finance, State Budget | 1 Comment »

Home Room, October 11, 2011

October 11th, 2011 by Robert Lowry

In this post:

  • Commissioner on Twitter
  • Three BOCES leaders on school finance issues
  • Should ratings of teachers be made public?
  • More on bullying
  • Silver, Skelos, and DiNapoli on taxes

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Home Room, October 3, 2011

October 3rd, 2011 by Robert Lowry

In this post:

  • Cuomo on Triborough
  • Silver on taxes
  • SED on paperwork
  • Fellows on loan
  • Buffalo News on cyber-bullying

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Category: Finance, Leadership, Legislation, National Policy | 1 Comment »