school budgets

Karen DeWitt/WRVO News

Education funding advocates say they have a use for the recently announced $4.2 billion state surplus. They say schools in New York, particularly the state’s poorest schools, could really use the money.

The Alliance for Quality Education’s Billy Easton says New York has fallen far behind in carrying out an order issued eight years ago form the state’s highest court saying schools, particularly the poorest districts,  deserve billions of dollars more in state funding each year.

“This is money that is due to schools that has never been paid,” Easton said.

Katie Keier / Flickr

Residents of school districts across the state go to the polls today to vote on budgets. These spending plans were created in the shadow of the state’s property tax cap program.

Most of the schools in New York state are offering budgets that keep tax increases below the state’s suggested two percent tax cap. These budgets are also increasing spending at an average rate of 2.6 percent.

To make up the difference, Tim Kremer, executive director of the New York State School Boards Association says most districts are dipping into savings.

Thomas Favre-Bulle / via Flickr

Onondaga County's second largest school district is dealing with yet another budget shortfall, and that likely will mean another round of staff layoffs.

The North Syracuse School District has already eliminated a fifth of its staff in the past six years. But it's not been enough to keep up with a declining student enrollment and a reduction in state education aid of more than $6 million.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO

For the fourth straight year, the Utica City School District is facing a deficit, causing the school board to consider layoffs. School Business Official Maureen Albanese says right now the district, which is among the state's poorest, is having trouble balancing its nearly $146 million budget.

"We had a $3.8 million deficit in the general fund, and we're looking at a $2.6 [million] deficit in our federal grants, which brought our total budget deficit to $6.4 million," Albanese said.

Voters in New York state go to the polls Tuesday to approve new school budgets. The New York State School Boards Association finds that many school districts are living within the limits imposed by a property tax cap enacted two years ago.

Iberdrola Renewables

Wind farms are a touchy subject in the North Country. As the town of Cape Vincent wrestles with a potential project, in neighboring Lewis County another wind farm has been operating for seven years. The Maple Ridge Wind Farm has brought some big changes to its community.   

Projections unveiled at the Syracuse City School District budget meeting last night could push the total number of positions the district has eliminated since 2009 to more than 1,000.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Albany received an earful from hundreds of students, parents educators and community members Wednesday about recent cuts in funding for education. The "Educate New York Now Express" has been rolling across the state, picking up supporters and support for their plea to lawmakers to reinvest in public education.

Mohawk Valley school districts consider merger

Oct 17, 2012

With dropping enrollments and less money coming from the state, many school districts across New York are looking into joining forces. That is the case in the Mohawk Valley near Utica, where a school merger is on the ballot this week.

woodleywonderworks / Flickr

As parents get ready to send their kids back to school all over upstate New York .... There are some new statewide educational changes are taking affect they may want to know about first.