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By Jeremy Schiffres, Daily and Sunday Freeman, Kingston, N.Y.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Smoke, mirrors and fuzzy math

Kingston school officials announced on Tuesday that their latest draft of the district's proposed budget for 2009-10 would increase the property tax levy by 5.66 percent, down from 6.78 percent in the previous draft.

It's bad enough that the budget framers think the public will somehow be placated by having to endure a tax hike of only 5.66 percent, but what makes the situation even more maddening is that they didn't even cut any spending to bring down the tax hike. All they did was move some money from the district's emergency fund to the general fund (never a good idea) and adjust the revenue side of the budget to make it appear the district will bring in more money next year than was estimated in the previous budget draft.

If school officials want to calm an angry public (not to mention win voter approval of the budget on May 19), then they need to make some REAL cuts - spending reductions that will bring the projected tax hike down to zero. Other school districts have done this, even in difficult financial times; Kingston can, too - and it must.

Maybe demanding concessions from the teachers' union - like having the members contribute toward the cost of their health insurance - would be a good place to start.

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2 Comments:

Blogger catsuny said...

Well it is funny how people in Kingston do not demand an actual print out and a salary report to see where a lot of money is spent.The little staff alone at the KHS,well lets see the head custodian, night custodian hmm a lot of overtime 30mins. work pd.4hrs and more ,different shifts being fixed by head custodian. How many coaches does the taxpayer need,how about all those school hall monitors wow on3e for every door. c'mon wake up people get up demand proof check out the wasted money

April 16, 2009 at 9:29 AM 
Blogger Johnny said...

The KTA does not need to pay more health costs. You can't make them do so, because they have a CONTRACT. Contracts are supposed to binding and honored. There are other ways to cut costs. You can cut administration and SPORTS. Why do school districts continue to fund sports? Why can't interscholastic sports be turned over to the towns, or better yet, why not have communities form sports clubs to provide sports to high school students? School should get out of the sports business altogether. Let sports clubs come in and run sports and then these sports clubs can rent the facilities from the schools to use for their sports. That way, the school districts can make money, rather than lose money.

When the next contract comes up, the BOE can demand that the teachers union pays more health insurance costs. They may refuse, but they wouldn't get all of their step raises if they don't. You may have to pay them more to get them to pay more health costs, but that is what collective bargaining is all about. You can't just demand that they pay more, or give up raises when a negotiated contract is already in place.

I don't know why this is even a bog deal.

April 18, 2009 at 12:59 PM 

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