Taxes just piece of puzzle

Looks can be deceiving — and that is exactly what the report from the New York State Association of School Business Officials reveals.

At first glance, the report seems positive. An early analysis of school budget plans show 98 percent of the districts are staying within the state tax cap.

But those who know school budgets well, including those locally who sit on the boards, know staying within the cap is one battle. The other, which has been going on for years here, is where is the next area to cut.

It is getting pretty thin. With the exception of one north county district — Dunkirk — the other 10 have enrollment of less than 1,500.

What districts need to examine is what is working — and benefitting students the most. It is not cutting courses and teachers. It is working together, especially in sports.

Chautauqua Lake and Ripley, however, are in a tuitioning plan for students from grades seven to 12. Ripley students get increased opportunities and programs while Chautauqua Lake gains revenue and fills its state-of-the-art facility. It is a model other area schools — and board members — need to follow.