By: J.L. Rebeor
FULTON – The aid to schools in the governor’s proposed budget released Jan. 21 is a disappointment according to the local school district superintendent, and he plans to bring that news to the Board of Education this week.
Fulton City School District Superintendent Bill Lynch said during a coffee meeting at the high school Saturday that what the governor has come out with for school aid is unfortunate.
“It’s discouraging,” Lynch said.”It’s the same situation we’ve been in year after year. He’s not directing the funds to operate the school district. He wants to do some big initiatives like all day pre-kindergarten, but it’s not a cohesive plan that he’s put out there. He’s put out some very attractive initiatives that get people’s attention, but there’s going to be holes in our school districts if we don’t get sufficient aid. We’ll have to cut some things in order to keep up.”
“The governor has a lot of initiatives: all day pre-kindergarten, technology bond issue, and a number of other things that are outside of the governor’s education proposal,” Lynch said. “He’s proposing increasing education aid across the state by a little over $600 million. Of that, $285 million is expense-driven aid. By law, what we spend for BOCES programs we get a percentage of that back. What we spend for high need excess cost … special education kids, we get a percentage of that back. What we spend in transportation, we get a percentage of that back.”
Lynch said there is $323 million is new money in the proposed state budget that would to fund the approximately 700 districts across the state.
“In the current school year we are still receiving $1.5 million less than what we got in the 2009-2010 school year. So, the governor says he has a surplus, while he’s still taking millions of dollars back from school districts,” the superintendent said.
The governor’s preliminary aid run dated Jan. 21 shows the Fulton City School District would receive $7 million in aid for 2014-15, an increase of about 2.8 percent. Total aid received for the 2013-14 school year was $6.75 million.
The superintendent said the district is in the first stages of crafting the 2014-15 school year budget. He said he and plans to bring the community and the Board of Education up to speed on what the governor’s proposed budget will mean to the district’s spending plan.
Lynch noted some of the big cost drivers in the district’s budget continue to be what he called ‘non-instructional’ expenses: Teacher’s Retirement system, employee retirement system, healthcare increases, salary increases, and reconstruction expenses.
The Board of Education meeting will be held on Tuesday (Jan. 28) at Fulton Junior High School on Curtis Street, at 7:30 p.m.
The public is encouraged to attend.