Fulton’s First Draft of Proposed Budget Ends Advisory Program, 7th Grade Languages, Cuts HS Core Subjects, Does Not Fill Deficit

A long list of cuts will affect nearly every student in the Fulton school district next year, leave many teachers and staff without jobs and reduce the district’s spending from last year. There’s only one thing those cuts won’t do: Balance Fulton’s budget.

Superintendent Bill Lynch outlined $1.6 million in proposed cuts in the first draft of Fulton’s budget for the 2011 – 2012 school year Tuesday night. He had an unusually large audience because the union representing teachers urged members to come to the meeting to hear the details for themselves. Leaders of the school’s various unions had already received a briefing, Lynch said.

(See the documents provided at the board meeting below.  Click on each one to see a full-sized version.)

Lynch said that as soon as the district learned that it would be absorbing a $2.2 million cut in education aid in Governor Cuomo’s budget, he and his administrative team began working on ways to cut spending. The district also has to absorb a large increase in its share of staff retirement costs along with increases in the costs of health benefits, salaries and other routine costs. It will be the third year in a row of budget cuts for the district, and by far, the largest and most damaging set of cuts.

“The program we have in place is the program we should have,” Lynch said. “We’ve taken decades to build it and now we have to start unpacking.”

On his list of proposed cuts:

The elimination of the successful advisory program at the high school, which is intended to connect each student more deeply to resources and programs at school by giving them time with a particular teacher each day of 9th, 10th and 11th grade;

Abolishing five positions that will open because of retirements, including two elementary teaching positions, a special education position, an English teacher and a music teacher. Four other positions open due to retirement would be filled, with the district achieving some savings from the lower-cost new teacher;

Eliminating a teacher-on-special-assignment who teaches the Alternative Education class at the Education Center for students who cannot be in a regular school environment;

Cutting all foreign language classes for 7th graders;

Cutting one teacher each from English, math, science and social studies at the high school;

Reducing elementary computer teaching positions;

Cutting $55,000 from the information technology department budget, $65,000 from substitute teaching funds, $100,000 from teacher aides by cutting an average of one aide per elementary school, $50,000 from athletics, $25,000 from extra-curricular and co-curricular programs, ending the public relations contract with BOCES and more.

That list of cuts adds up to about $1.6 million in savings. In addition, the district would use up to $2 million of its $2.4 million rainy-day reserve fund and would bring in an extra $750,000 from a projected 4% increase in the tax levy.

That makes about $4.4 million in revenue generated by cuts, reserves and taxes — the only three places the district can go to get money.

It’s not enough.

There’s still a $1.13 million gap in the first draft of the budget. If all employees agreed to no pay increase next school year, that would cut the gap in half but would not fill it. (Three unions, including the teachers’ union, have worked all year without a contract. All other union contracts expire at the end of this school year.)

The $1.13 million gap would require a 10% tax increase. “That’s not in the cards,” said Lynch.

The proposals outlined Tuesday are only in draft form and programs or jobs identified for cuts now could be saved later, while programs and jobs not mentioned in the first draft can be added for elimination later.

The board reviews its second draft of the budget in two weeks and meets next Tuesday with its community budget committee to continue reviewing ideas for cutbacks.

“The program we have in place is a solid program,” said Lynch. “We don’t have the revenue we need to maintain the program.”


  1. Why not just keep raising the taxes? Whats another ten percent going to do to anyone? This is for the children! We don’t want the kids to go without do we? Suck it up tax payers, and keep these programs in place for the good of the kids! Taking from our children is just not the answer!

  2. Dear Fulton School Board/Mr. Lynch,

    When will you produce and display the missing chart? The one you don’t want the public to see. The one that shows for the past 10 yrs… the number of employees in the district by department/position, the increase in salaries and benefits each year, the percentage increase each year for them, and the total school district enrollment by year. We know you have this chart for your use.

    Now that would be an interesting chart. The Fulton taxpayer deserves to see this chart. We would see declining enrollment and that the overwhelming majority of school budget increases are going for increased staff, salaries and benefits… not “for the kids”.

    I am all for school district employees earning a good living but it has to be based on what local taxpayers can afford. The typical Fulton area income has been drastically reduced by the closing of Miller, Nestle, the box plant, etc resulting in good paying jobs replaced by layoffs, welfare, low paying non-profit agency jobs for welfare, or low paying Walmart type positions with no benefits or retirement plans. Due to the economy, remaining factory jobs have seen very small increases in wages/benefits over the past decade while retirement plans were replaced by a 401-k.

    This disconnect seems to be one the Fulton school board and administration don’t want to recognize. But it is the reality. This is not Skaneateles or Syosset.

  3. I did not hear one thing about future raises being frozen maybe they should start there. We can not afford anymore raises in School taxes. So lets cut the fat from the TOP. And lets stop spending money on foolish things in Schools and have PARENTS pay for School sports if they choose to have children in Special Activities. And We did not need the new Athletic complex what a waste of money. So Teachers are retiring but they are filling positions so where are the savings. Get with it.

  4. George:

    There is, in fact, a chart showing employment by position that goes back several years. I don’t know if it has been shown during this budget cycle, but it was shown last year. I’ll see if I can dig it up for you.

    The district cut 10 jobs two years ago and more than 20 last year. Administrative jobs were among the cuts.

    There has been an increase in jobs in certain areas, particularly special education. That’s because the district has been taking back the job of teaching special ed from BOCES because the district says it can do the job less expensively.

    Obviously, salary and the cost of benefits have gone up. Benefits will go up even if the unions agree to take no salary increase this coming year, for several reasons.

    Enrollment is trending down, but there isn’t necessarily a correlation between enrollment and teaching personnel. A rise in special education students, for example, requires more staff.

    One fact that didn’t make it into this article goes to your point about taxes: Fulton’s tax rate of about $25/thousand is in the top ten percent of all school districts in the state. Board members mentioned that last night — it’s due in part to the loss of big industries like Nestle and Miller Brewing that paid a lot of taxes.


  5. Truth is the teachers won’t budge, they want more and more every year. Think about it when there is a snow day the teachers don’t come into work but get paid, why not make them come in? That is free five days they get right there.
    They are not being realistic at all, they think the district is hiding money and that the district is holding out on them. They need to give a little and by a little I don’t mean oh we have to pay 10.00 more a month for insurance, get in line with the ‘other’ work force out there. Also in my child’s school over 60% of the teachers live outside of the district so they don’t have to pay taxes here, maybe that would change their position. You need to be willing to give a little, will they do a pay freeze? ha ha ha! The same day that Millers will reopen!

  6. Raising our taxes 10% is not going to help the already struggling house payments and taxes. Our childrens education is important but if they make it so people have to move then i guess our School losing either way. Our Sports is what keeps most of our students in School. The drop out rate is unbelieveable already.

  7. Our school taxes are already too high. It’s time to cut the fat. Increase the class sizes. Reduce the amount of teachers and administrators further. Close Lanigan or Fairgieve and integrate those students into the remaining elementary schools.

  8. FYI…www.seethroughny.net is a public knowledge site. Go there and you can see where the money is spent (wages). You can always go to the districts web page and read the BOE meeting minutes (also is public) and that sheds some light on spending.

  9. Once again the Fulton School Board thinks there is nothing wrong with asking for a tax increase. Did you not learn from the last school board budget vote. We the TAX Payers have had ENOUGH!!!!!!
    Maybe Fultons Teachers need to open their eyes and realize that other school districts are taking pay freezes, paying more into their health insurance.
    They are willing to make these choices instead of asking the people to pay for it.
    Mr. Lynch just what do you and your assists make per year? You need to take a pay freeze also.

  10. Really the citizens of Fulton should just suck it up ? Take the 10% increase for the kids? Why only 40% of the classes are graduating high school. Glad to see my MONEY is working for me.
    Anyone who thinks this is a GREAT idea must not own a home here in Fulton. Sure the renters, senior citizens, and those on welfare dont have a problem with thisbecause, itwill not effect you. Anyone who does not own property should not be able to vote on the school budget.
    Fulton Teachers and Adminstration People How about YOU just suck it up and feel the pain of it.

  11. I have a comment for the person who said suck it up TaxPayeres are you one. or do you rent people can not afford anymore taxes mine are over 6,000 a year divide that into 12 months plus mortgage and all other daily expenses get a grip. Yes it is for the kids but We do not want to pay anymore especially with Boces passing 35 million dollar budget in which some of that is being passed on to us. ok.

  12. It is true that Property Owners are footing the bill for School Taxes, but isn’t it a known when owning property. Just how much can the Tax Payers expect Administaters and Teachers to sacrafice just to stop Taxes from going up a few percent each year? Many Property Owners were more than happy to vote to add water project taxes to their yearly Tax Bills in overwhelming numbers to the tune of about $700.00 plus a year for 38 years, not counting yearly water costs. The price of the school cost increases would be a fraction of that. Do you really feel that teachers and school officials should be susceptible to the wage reductions that have plauged so many others? If the taxes are to much, just don’t pay them! Should teachers and administraters be forced to live in poverty just to keep taxes from rising!? Do you really think a triple digit income is a lot of money! Do you really believe anyone would do these jobs for less money!? They aren’t even allowed to collect unemployment durring the summer. Can you immagine the hardship so many face even paying bills due to this alone! We should be doubling their salary and hiring more of them until we are taxed out of existance! Don’t you all understand that they do it for the children! It’s all about the Kids isn’t it. Why should tax payers worry about having anything in life? Wouldn’t you rather that the Teachers and triple digit Administraters have the increase of your hard earned money? Oh, I meant the kids! After all its all about the kids. Just where could we expect the kids to go without a top notch sports facility and a fouth year of forign language! My gosh people, without such important programs what type of job could a young graduate expect to have after nearly 13 years of schooling? Oh, thats right, there are no jobs, and even with nearly 13 years of very important schooling, they are qualified to do nothing! But then they could go to colledge to become teachers and administraters and not even live in the school district. If people are dumb enough to pay someone nearly $90 a month for 38 years to buywater, then why cry about throughing more money to the school system and its employees. Just remeber ” Its for the Kids”

  13. gees lets me see, i’m 65, we got No social security raise in 2010 or 2011, we haven’t heard anything about 2012 yet, that may go south also for all we know.. i had to get medicare when i turned 65, cost $110.50 per month, no hike for those 2 years in disability either, volney shoved a water district down our throats on the kingdom rd, spent almost 10 years in thr marine corps, in the last 5 years have had–2006 heart attack, 2008 3 strokes 2009 blod clot va put a filter in my right leg 2010 sent me to the buffalo va 3 stents in my right chest for my heart 2011 another blood clot in my right thigh oh and did i mention 2 tours in viet nam.most everything on my health chart was caused by agent orange in viet nam which gave me type 2 diabetes and another host of health problems with that..i have a solution for the tax problem in this country, make people who rent PAY TAXES, that only fair…. do you really have any idea how many people is this country, state , or township rent so they don’t have to pay taxes?????i’ll bet that it would knock everyones socks off…………….

  14. I would just like to know why it is the Mr. Bill Lynch believes he deserves to make 240,000+ dollars that is more than the national average for someone in that position.

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