Monday, February 28, 2011


This is the point in the flight where we begin to think about the descent and landing. We have certainly been flying in some turbulent skies as of late, but we are still on schedule to reach our destination. 

I am trying to juggle a lot of things right now. Financially, we are in the middle of a very significant budget building season. While we have received national attention for our efforts to freeze wages next year, we still need the acceptance of a few more groups to make it happen. Even with the wage freeze, we are going to be without at least 52 people next year. Important people. The planning has to begin to figure out how we move forward without them and without some of the programs that they were providing.

While all of this is going on there is constant pressure from people to cut more, cut less, provide the same services but not increase taxes, increase taxes to keep programs, cut everything altogether, close buildings, and look to merge with other schools.

There is only one word that can describe these times and surprisingly it isn't "stress", it is "composure". 

The plan has been, and will continue to be:  to secure a wage freeze; cut 52 people who represent areas, programs and services; use $2.3M of our $4.425M in reserves; and levy a 4.8% tax levy ($70 on a home valued at $100,000) to balance the budget (8.6% is the levy allowed under a contingent, or failed, budget).

The second part of the plan is to adjust to the loss of staff, plan to find a way to give staff appropriate compensation in the 2012-2013 school year, and already figure out how to close a $1.3M gap that I believe already exists for the 2012-2013 school year.

Keeping composed during these times is key. We have many things to discuss and act upon if we are to remain viable as a school district over the next several years. We need composure to listen to ideas that we have never considered before because things have never been this bad. We also need composure to handle the media when asked to make negative comments about the Governor. I have nothing negative to say about the Governor. I agree that closing the New York State budget gap needs to happen. What I do not agree with is his assertion that we can do that in education without impacting people and students. We cannot. Just admit it and move on. 

There are other things going on besides the budget:
  • The swim team has become Section III champions.
  • The hockey team accomplished this feat as well during our mid-winter break.
  • In the middle schools there have been some awesome Camillus Optimist Club speeches.
  • In the elementary schools we just celebrated the first 100 days of school.
  • DVD's of Beauty and the Beast should be available any day now for $10 each.
  • West Genesee is going to be the host of Joanne Mahoney's State of the County address on Tuesday evening, March 1 in the high school auditorium,
I will be posting an additional budget update later this week as a few more pieces hopefully fall into place. 

Enjoy the week and see you around.