DUNKIRK Timbs’ utopia doesn’t exist

If Boards of Education want a shoulder to cry on, they can count on Dr. Richard Timbs to be there for them. For years Timbs has gone across the state parrotting a familiar refrain: school districts need more money.

What a revelation.

The Dunkirk school board heard Timbs last Tuesday at a workshop meeting discuss the disparity in state aid. Dunkirk has a right to be upset. It received about 50 percent of its $44 million budget from Albany for this school year. But other smaller districts, such as Brocton or Ripley, receive about 70 percent to 75 percent aid from the state.

Timbs’ answer to any district fiscal crisis is always the same: tell the state you need more money. Unfortunately, funding just does not come that easy.

Districts, especially Dunkirk, know times are tough upstate. NRG Energy Inc.’s closing in the city was something that needed preparation, not just a reaction. The warning signs started in 2012. NRG once contributed $4 million to the school coffers. Now, it’s about 10 percent of that — or $3.6 million less in revenue.

But while Timbs noted Dunkirk’s needs for funds, he was no Samaritan in making the case. He was paid as a consultant to speak to the city board — funds that are already precious for a district running a $200,000 deficit.