‘Puter lives in Upstate New York. His school district is maybe 40 or so square miles in size. It follows, essentially, the borders of a medium sized suburban township. The school district has one high school, one ninth grade building (don’t ask), two middle schools and three elementary schools. It has its own bus garage, and, of course, its own administration. There are 19 separate school districts, more or less of the same size, in ‘Puter’s county.
‘Puter’s school district’s budget for school year 2011-2012 will be $106.1 million, with a per thousand tax rate of $20.82. Its total tax levy is $62.3 million. The difference between the budget and the levy is state and federal aid.
In getting to this year’s budget, the school board (yep, got a separate one of them, too) used a variety of one time revenues (e.g., stimulus funds, unallocated reserves) to close the budget gap. The approximate amount of one time revenue items was $10 million. This means that assuming the 2012-2013 budget is unchanged (i.e., no salary or benefit increases), the school district will need to cut spending by $10 million or raise the tax levy by $10 million.
Governor Cuomo and the legislature recently enacted a property tax increase cap of two percent of the levy or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower. This means, assuming low inflation again this year, that the district can only raise its levy $2.1 million, leaving a $7.9 million gap. The district will have to cut $7.9 million in expenses.
Unfortunately for the general education kids, special education has significant mandates that cannot legally be cut. Additionally, in ‘Puter’s district, the teachers contractually get approximately a four percent raise every year. So where’s the money going to come from? The district can’t cut special ed, nor can it cut teachers’ salaries and benefits. The money will come from layoffs and cutbacks in general education electives and extracurriculars, as well as in deferred building and transportation maintenance.
‘Puter was hoping some of the school districts would resort to municipal bankruptcy and break the union’s stranglehold on the district by reforming the contracts or firing the folks they want to. Sadly, that probably won’t be happening.
The genius of the tax cap is that it will force the legislature’s hand on mandate relief, as well as on union shop rules and pensions. Something’s going to have to give, and it sure as heck isn’t going to be the voters’ children. However, it’s going to take a few years until the difficulties become unbearable for the students and their parents. In the meantime, buckle up.
If your kid, like one of ‘Puter’s, is in New York’s public education system, and you have the means to pay for private education, get to stepping. Things are going to get a whole lot worse before they get better.
Always right, unless he isn’t, the infallible Ghettoputer F. X. Gormogons claims to be an in-law of the Volgi, although no one really believes this.
’Puter carefully follows economic and financial trends, legal affairs, and serves as the Gormogons’ financial and legal advisor. He successfully defended us against a lawsuit from a liquor distributor worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid deliveries of bootleg shandies.
The Geep has an IQ so high it is untestable and attempts to measure it have resulted in dangerously unstable results as well as injuries to researchers. Coincidentally, he publishes intelligence tests as a side gig.
His sarcasm is so highly developed it borders on the psychic, and he is often able to insult a person even before meeting them. ’Puter enjoys hunting small game with 000 slugs and punt guns, correcting homilies in real time at Mass, and undermining unions. ’Puter likes to wear a hockey mask and carry an axe into public campgrounds, where he bursts into people’s tents and screams. As you might expect, he has been shot several times but remains completely undeterred.
He assures us that his obsessive fawning over news stories involving women teachers sleeping with young students is not Freudian in any way, although he admits something similar once happened to him. Uniquely, ’Puter is unable to speak, read, or write Russian, but he is able to sing it fluently.
Geep joined the order in the mid-1980s. He arrived at the Castle door with dozens of steamer trunks and an inarticulate hissing creature of astonishingly low intelligence he calls “Sleestak.” Ghettoputer appears to make his wishes known to Sleestak, although no one is sure whether this is the result of complex sign language, expert body posture reading, or simply beating Sleestak with a rubber mallet.
‘Puter suggests the Czar suck it.