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$1,017,879 for 141 pupils

Ripley reaches agreement with CLCS

March 9, 2013

RIPLEY — The Ripley Central School Board of Education accepted a proposal to tuition grades 7 to 12 to Chautauqua Lake Central School next year at a rate of $7,219 per student....

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Mar-10-13 1:54 PM

The building will still be the same size, so while there will likely be some reduction in cost as a result of that, it won't be 50%. Still need cafeteria workers, custodians, the misc support, such as the nurse. The one music teacher will still need to be there. Cutting the enrollment in half does not cut the cost in half. If half the people move out of my house, will it cost me half as much to live here? I don't think so. Cost per student is high at RCS because enrollment is low, lower enrollment means higher cost per student.

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Mar-10-13 12:59 PM

Cutting any tenured teacher(s) and admin(s) at RCS will save far more $$$ than what'll cost CLCS to hire any new teachers. I "assume" CLCS doesn't need any new admins, why should they? Then again, the student enrollment in Buffalo's school system is 35,000, with one (1) Supt, while the entire student pop in Chat Co is approx 20,000, yet it has 17-18 Supts!

Regardless of how many new employees CLCS decides to hire, the fact still remains that RCS is cutting its student enrollment by half! You said yourself that it costs RCS $30K for each student, yet half of them will now be gone, and so should a proportionate number of staff.

Yes, there's now added bussing costs for RCS, and of course, the $1M tuition fee. So, based on these 4 primary factors (half the students, proportionate staff cuts, higher bussing cost & tuition charges), what do you believe is a reasonable assumption in savings will be?

Yeah, I know, let's wait n' see.

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Mar-10-13 10:44 AM

Did you see the list that ran in this paper a while back of the school districts that are in extremely dire straights financially? Ripley wasn't on that list. Now, don't get me wrong, they aren't exactly in stellar shape either, however, considering that they are the smallest district in the county, and among the poorest, it is pretty amazing that they weren't on that list.

Staff will be cut accordingly, both teachers and administration as well.

I'm also confused that you seem to complain about both that $1MM for 141 students is MORE than enough and CLCS is essentially stealing from RCS, and that by reducing 141 students from RCS that they should be able to cut the budget by $1.7-$2.5MM. If CLCS doesn't need $1MM to educate 141 students, why does RCS need $2MM to do the same?

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Mar-10-13 7:58 AM

I agree, 7-12 will be much better off, however, that shouldn't excuse CLCS from pocketing a large pct of these fees (depending on how many new teachers it hires), since it won't cost anywhere near $1M to teach 141 extra kids, based on my previous explanation.

I'm not attacking you, but for you to say: "taxes will NOT be any higher (maybe lower, we'll see)" just about floored me! Anyone who accepts a small reduction, level, or slight increase in school taxes is careless. RCS is reducing its enrollment by half, therefore, staff should be cut accordingly. Class size at RCS should be kept at the present levels, NOT lowered to save jobs. Doing so will provide a MAJOR cut (at least 20% to 30% less) to the current annual budget.

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Mar-09-13 10:15 PM

This is the way it breaks down, and I don't know how you really can argue with this:

1) Ripley taxes CANNOT go up more than 2% any year. I'm not saying they will, wait 12 days and see.

2) CLCS has more educational opportunities & options for students BY FAR than RCS does. Sports is secondary, but they also have about 3 times as many of those as well.

So, summary, taxes will NOT be any higher (maybe lower, we'll see), students benefit educationally & through extra curricular activities.

What is not to like? If you aren't involved in the actual business, the only things that matter are 1&2 above, unless you are losing your job as a result, or don't care about the kids. So, which is it for you Capt?

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Mar-09-13 10:04 PM

You are still not getting it. If an individual parent wanted to tuition their child from Ripley to CLCS, it would cost the parent $11,000 to do so. That rate is set by the state. The districts are able to essentially negotiate a volume discount, which they did. At the time that the school board informed the town that the $700k was all they could afford within the budget. Things have changed since then and the higher amount ended up being do-able. If RCS last year had an 8.5MM budget, with approximately say 280 students, that comes out to just over $30k per student, so I don't know how you figure that CLCS is purely profiting off of RCS. Really it's a win-win. Don't forget, RCS at this time, would be able to offer only the state mandated minimum classes if the tuitioning did not go through, so the most important factor you seem to not care about, is the opportunity the RCS students will have at CLCS that they wouldn't have otherwise.

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Mar-09-13 9:54 PM

RipRez: The thing that concerns me most about this tuition agreement is that CLCS is clearly profiting from this deal, and all the spinning won't change that.

Your last post also raises more concerns. You wrote NYS established a tuition rate of $11,000 per. Would the state knowingly set that rate if it put RCS over the 2% cap? I wouldn't think so.

The reason I ask is b/c in Jan, Mr Bentley said if RCS paid CLCS $700,000 per/yr for tuition costs, "we're at a break-even mode." Now, after the BOE agrees to $1M per/yr (approx $250,000 MORE), Mr Bentley implies it wasn't easy, but "we were able to make it work."

I can't help but wonder what Mr Bentley would've said had CLCS insisted on the full $11K per (DOUBLE the initial estimate), after all, this rate was already pre-approved by the state, according to you.

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Mar-09-13 7:36 PM

One million dollars and change for 141 pupils. What a deal. Each pupil will be able to get three hot meals a day and computers to download music on. Is this state sick? Who in the*****is in charge. Does it really take this amount of money to educate 141 students? Of course not. so where will the money go? Sports? Teacher conferences? how about bonuses for teachers? Well all I know is that there will be a lot of money left over and I am sure the school administrators will be eating steak with the money that will not be spent on pupils and will not be given back to the state. How can I ring in on a deal like this?

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Mar-09-13 7:33 PM

Capt - again, wait until the budget comes out 3/21 before you make assumptions about what will happen with the taxes. Of course the budget will not be cut in half. For the record, the tuition rate established by the state for a Ripley student to CLCS is $11,000, so the negotiated rate is pretty good. CLCS, like every other school around is facing the declining enrollment issue, so yes they do have room. If you pay attention this shouldn't surprise you.

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Mar-09-13 6:33 PM

Phil: do you really think CLCS isn't making a profit on this deal? No one said how many new teachers CLCS will hire for 141 new students, but mommap did say that CLCS has "many extra rooms," so space isn't an issue. Let's be generous and say CLCS "expects" to hire 10 new teachers. Will these new hirees cost over $1M?...not even close.

I believe CLCS was privy to RCS's finances, and knew exactly where the 2% ceiling limit was, and based the tuition fee accordingly. Will RCS cut the same number of positions that CLCS adds? Better yet, since 141 students is approx half of RCS's student enrollment, will its $8.5M annual budget be reduced by half (not counting tuition costs)?

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Mar-09-13 2:31 PM

I can't believe people are complaining about $7,219 per student. For comparison, Dunkirk spends over $19,000 per student! I doubt that there is another district in New York State that can educate kids for $7,219 per student per year.

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Mar-09-13 11:04 AM

Captain - the important cost isn't going to be the amount of tuition. the important cost is going to be the impact on education and tax rate. The board could not approve the tuitioning if they couldn't work the amount into the budget and under the tax cap. They did not "know" the amount before the vote, and they said as much.

Let me ask you, are you in either the RCS or CLCS districts? Because honestly if you aren't, you are stirring the pot, and you don't know what you're talking about.

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Mar-09-13 10:47 AM

Chuck392: OK, the point was, the tuition plan costs approx $250,000 MORE than the "original estimate." Does this clarification make it easier to accept? The voters were asked to approve it, based in part on the estimated cost released and posted on the RCS web site. Isn't it possible voters would've rejected this plan had the BOE been more truthful and told them it would cost an astounding $1M for 141 kids?

Since you know so much about CLCS costs, and the EXTRA $250K doesn't surprise you, maybe you can explain how BOE members, who were presumably given the precise costs from CLCS, managed to underestimate the district's "projected" costs by such a large amt.

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Mar-09-13 9:46 AM

Captain - "This tuition deal will burn up RCS reserves more quickly" what do you base this assumption on? The budget will be released on 3/21, do you have any inside info? My guess is that even with the increase over the original estimate, that this amount is pretty favorable. The School budget last year was something like $8.5 mil, seems like by sending half the school to CLCS there ought to be a way to cut about 12%. Save it for when the rest of the info comes out and stop trying to incite the masses.

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Mar-09-13 9:27 AM

This tuition deal will burn up RCS reserves more quickly, causing the district to disolve sooner. CLCS will then absorb ALL grades (K-12), which appears to be the ultimate goal. If this is what district residents want, so be it, but since the tuition vote was so close, you can bet there's gonna be a lot of angry residents.

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Mar-09-13 8:45 AM

The other thing is that Ripley had the opportunity to price Sherman, Westfield and Brocton. Wonder what those prices would have been. Or maybe they weren't anxious to board another already rapidly sinking ship.

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Mar-09-13 8:41 AM

Captain - There was no "original deal." Ripley was making assumptions on cost. After they got approval to tuition, they started talking price with other districts. The price is going to be determined by the cost to the host district so as to not make that district subsidize the other district. When you've got an average teacher salary of $65,000, plus another $12,000 in health insurance, plus retirement, plus social security -- what can you expect?

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Mar-09-13 7:45 AM

Chautauqua Lake has SO many extra rooms, they are desperate to fill them to justify the number of excess staff they have and how much money they spend. I cannot believe there isn't a better, more cost effective solution. Oh, that's right....that would take common sense.

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Mar-09-13 6:18 AM

What's the big deal on the cost? Check out the prices for BOCES.

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Mar-09-13 6:02 AM

A classic example of putting the cart before the horse; first take a vote, then change the "proposed" conditions. CLCS officials must've gotten aroused after learning how eager Ripley's BOE was to partner up. The original deal was approx $250,000 LESS, but fear not, BOE prez Bob Bentley says: "we were able to make it work."

This type of blatant taxpayer abuse disgusts me to no end. CLCS is clearly gouging RCS, yet supporters (mostly employees) will say it's a win/win. These people are literally thumbing their nose at us, and it's cases like this that help illustrate why taxpayers hate Public ED and those who work in it.

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