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Tuition plan is opportunity

February 1, 2013

Leave it to New York state to muddy the waters....

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(30)

DKexpat

Feb-01-13 8:47 AM

This is a perfect example of the disconnect in Albany. "Toss more money at it, and it'll go away" just doesn't work in this case...

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commentor

Feb-01-13 9:00 AM

Just close the school and end the problem.

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teacherteacher

Feb-01-13 9:43 AM

But what about the union jobs that will be lost?

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Christopher

Feb-01-13 10:44 AM

I wish I had hard facts and figures on what savings would occur if many of our rural schools closed. Transportation is not a small issue. Obviously, savings SHOULD come from building maintenance, utilities and such. I'd guess some savings from Administrative costs, but knowing new York, not as much as some might think. What happens to the old, empty buildings, usually not suitable for much else? Talk is cheap, but what seems obvious in theory might not be in practice.Maybe the state could finance one study for the consolidation of Brocton, Westfield, Chautauqua Lake, Ripley, and any other schools in that area with all factors figured in, and include, if necessary, the demolition of some of the emptied school buildings. One thing for sure, sports would changea great deal. There might not even be enough schools for a league.

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Captain

Feb-01-13 11:09 AM

If Ripley voters pass this tuition plan, I assume the extra money needed to cover the costs to hire more teachers and bussing kids to CLCS will be paid for by the parents of tuition students. However, if the plan is optional, thus decreasing RCS student population even further, what happens to RCS students grades 7-12 whose parents can't afford tuition fees? Ripley property owners must still pay school taxes to fund grades K-6.

This article notes the decrease in student enrollment at RCS over the last 20 yrs. However, what is also equally important (and conspicuously missing), is the current student attendance rate at CLCS, and if it too has dropped since CLCS merged with Mayville, especially since CLCS is apparently capable of accepting tuition students? Was the CLCS/Mayville merge as successful as first hoped, or does it now need tuition students to keep it afloat?

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RipleyResident

Feb-01-13 12:01 PM

Captain - just want to clear up, Ripley parents won't pay tuition. The tuition is paid by the Ripley school out of the budget. Everyone just pays taxes as usual. And yes, CLCS enrollment is lower than it used to be, as is every other rural school in the county. Really, the whole population of WNY is declining, so why wouldn't the schools? What we need is the regional HS legislation to pass, but our state leadership can't seem to get it done. They can pass a gun bill in 24 hours, but the regional HS has been in process for years. Go figure.

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American

Feb-01-13 1:08 PM

"But what about the union jobs that will be lost?" Who cares?

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Christopher

Feb-01-13 1:42 PM

American..you did catch the sarcasm from Teacherteacher's post, didn't you? On the other hand, Gevalia Abyssinian Mokka may be one of the finest coffees I've ever had! It's part of Gevailia's Crown Collection.

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Captain

Feb-01-13 2:26 PM

RipleyRes: As you know, school taxes are based on the collective cost of public Ed within the district you live. Now, if teachers in CLCS earn more money, have greater benefits, etc. than those at RCS, will Ripley property owners then have one tax rate for grades 7-12 to reflect the costs at CLCS, and a different tax rate for grades K-6 at RCS?

And how did CLCS arrive at the rate it plans to charge RCS? Fredonia has a tuition plan that charges an excessive fee PER STUDENT, which is much higher than what district residents pay, regardless of how many kids they have in school, but remember, that plan is OPTIONAL, and is the sole responsibility of the parents who CHOOSE to send their kids to FCS.

Unless a legal merge between the 2 districts is passed, and not just a tuition plan, I'd have to say Ripley property owners may have a valid case against paying school taxes for services (grades 7-12) that aren't being provided within the district they live.

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RipleyResident

Feb-01-13 3:07 PM

OK, under tuitioning, the students are still in the Ripley school district. Taxes will be paid to cover the RCS budget. CLCS charges RCS tuition per student. And remember, there is a 2% cap on tax increases.

The tuition rate for any public school in NYS is calculated by a formula that the state determines based on the "wealth" of the district. I believe that because this will be an agreement between 2 districts that there is some room for negotiation, figure it like a "volume discount".

As far as the services not being provided in the district, what does that have to do with anything. The taxes and school budget also pay for the kids that go to BOCES. What about the Ripley kids that go to Sherman to play football? That would also be a service that isn't "being provided within the district they live". The school's budget is to cover the costs of the district, and sending them to another school accomplishes that, especially if they get a better ed

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RipleyResident

Feb-01-13 3:08 PM

Also, the CLCS students benefit as well, a larger student body allows for adding more options and opportunities for the Mayville/Chautauqua students too.

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Captain

Feb-01-13 4:17 PM

I'm sure sending the kids to CLCS will be much more beneficial to them than not.

My point is, if you take away state aid, you arrive at a district's annual cost, based of many factors that may cost more/less than others.

Let's say you live in the CLCS district, and the avg school tax is $2000 per/yr, regardless of how many kids (3) you send.

Now take someone who lives in the RCS district, a less wealthier community with a lower school tax rate. If CLCS charges a flat tuition fee PER STUDENT, let's say a conservative $2000 per/yr, and you send 3 kids there, then CLCS is profiting by charging RCS 3X MORE than what it cost CLCS taxpayers.

Further, by not "belonging" to the CLCS district, RCS residents can't vote on school policies, pay raises, annual budgets, BOE members, capital improvements, etc, OR future tuition hikes UNLESS the agreement explicitly allows it.

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Captain

Feb-01-13 4:47 PM

Here's another issue worth considering. Since you said that both districts will stay independent, and that tuition students will remain in the RCS district, what happens if CLCS decides to keep all annual spending flat EXCEPT raise tuition fees to the maximum 2% to pay for future CLCS pay raises? This cost would likely exceed RCS own 2% cap, thus leaving RCS w/o any ability to pay for any future spending increases it feels may be needed.

This tuition proposal must NOT be entered into hastily.

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RipleyResident

Feb-01-13 5:17 PM

The tuitioning agreement is for a set number of years, between 2 and 5. The agreed upon tuition rate will not change during the agreement. Ripley residents would vote again before a new agreement. State aid will still be awarded to RCS based on the wealth of the town and number of students. In other words, RCS will get the same state aid whether or not the students attend RCS or CLCS. Captain, I think you are making assumptions on how things work without actually knowing the real details. If you have questions, ask, but don't tell everyone what the process is if you don't really know. We have enough problems with people making informed decisions without throwing misinformation around. Thanks.

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concerned

Feb-01-13 8:18 PM

School enrollments are dropping due to several reasons people moving away looking for jobs and lower taxes, many have fewer children as they can't afford a large family, both parents working and the list goes on. The only ones that want large families are on public assistance then you actually gain!

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Captain

Feb-01-13 9:27 PM

RR wrote: "the agreed upon tuition rate will not change during the agreement." Would you believe I "assumed" this is how it worked? My next question is what is the agreed upon rate? Please tell us. I "assume" you support this tuition plan, and even though I don't oppose it, please don't imply that it's merely a matter of paying the same tax rate to RCS, not unless the tuition rate is exactly the same amt that RCS spends to teach the same number of kids at RCS.

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RipleyResident

Feb-01-13 11:05 PM

Capt - I didn't assume anything, you said "what happens if CLCS decides to keep all annual spending flat EXCEPT raise tuition fees". It works like this: Ripley folks pay school taxes to RCS, just like they do now. RCS pays a contracted tuition rate to CLCS, and the students go to CLCS. It really doesn't matter to the taxpayer what the tuition rate is, the school budget pays it. The rate can't increase during the term as it's contracted. I don't know what the rate is, but it will end up being a matter of public record. I also don't know how much each teacher makes unless I look it up. End result is the kids go to school and we pay taxes. For that, they get a better education at CLCS, so why would anyone not want that?

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Captain

Feb-02-13 6:48 AM

RR: It does matter what the tuition rate is, UNLESS tax hikes don't matter. Tuition could easily exceed what it costs RCS to teach its own kids, hence a tax hike.

It matters what teachers earn at CLCS b/c this too will determine how much to charge for tuition (CLCS isn't gonna lose money on the deal). I'm sure CLCS knows the rate must fall within the same 2% cap that RCS is bound to. If pay raises are due at RCS next year, that too will be a factor. I think it's safe to say RCS taxpayers can expect a 2% tax hike.

I have no idea how many kids are in 7-12 at RCS, but if CLCS has to hire more teachers to accommodate these kids, the cost may exceed the 2% cap. If CLCS doesn't need to hire, then that indicates CLCS may have an enrollment problem of its own. Again, IF teachers at CLCS are due pay raises, it may limit how many new teachers it can hire (due to the 2% cap).

I'm not trying to deliberately pass along misinformation.

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Christopher

Feb-02-13 12:49 PM

Ripley resident: There is the issue of maintaining an unused, or under used, building, heat, etc. I would assume LOTS of teacher layoffs? Administrative also? I'd say more than a few issues need to be resolved. But then again, I'm not from Ripley. I guess the residents of Ripley don't care.

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RipleyResident

Feb-02-13 6:13 PM

The school board an an independent auditor have addressed the financials. Again, yes, Ripley will probably see a 2% increase. They will anyway. So how the board handles the building and Ripley teachers is a task that the board will have to address. I'm sure there will be staff reductions.

Captain, you still seem to indicate that the tuition rate will change and I don't know how to keep telling you it won't, it is a contracted amount. Whatever is agreed upon in year 1, it will be throughout the length of the contract. Therefore, it won't change by more than 2% because it won't change.

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Captain

Feb-02-13 10:44 PM

Yes, I get it, once the tuition rate is set, it won't change, but don't be so naive to believe that once RCS starts getting rid of teachers, staff, admins, etc that NYS will keep giving the same amt of aid.

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RipleyResident

Feb-03-13 9:26 AM

Well, state aid is based on the financial need of a school district, not the number of teachers in the district.

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Captain

Feb-03-13 11:37 AM

Are you serious? A school district's financial needs is predicated upon its annual expenses, the largest share being ALL costs associated with district employees (ie; the number of teachers, admins, aides, etc.)

If you believe NYS will still provide the same level of aid to a school district that has essentially reduced its financial dependence of such aid by eliminating, teachers, admins, aides, etc, then I don't know what to tell you.

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commentor

Feb-03-13 12:35 PM

I can't imagine this will work. Just close Ripley and get it over with.

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Captain

Feb-03-13 2:05 PM

commentor: It appears that is the objective; to eventually close down RCS...that's my OPINION, anyway.

This tuition plan, if approved, will bus all kids in the upper grades (7-12), then cut personnel accordingly. Phase 2, I suspect, will be to bus the balance (K-6) in the near future, AFTER state aid is cut and it becomes clear the RCS district can't support them either. So why not vote to merge the 2 schools now instead of tuitioning? Oh yeah, b/c it likely won't pass.

The steady decline of students in most area schools hurts, but so does the steady increases in costs. Maybe if Public ED employees didn't price themselves out of business, there'd be less of a decline in students.

Is CLCS experiencing a similar enrollment trend as RCS?

I guess it's better to keep 1 school open rather than close them both.

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