Nine million dollars.
That is the shortfall the Baldwinsville Central School District is facing for the 2011-12 budget.
This estimate comes after Gov. Andrew Cuomo's New York State budget proposal, which seeks to cut $1.5 billion from school aid. Five million dollars would be cut from Baldwinsville's aid.
According to Cuomo, readjusting top salaries, freezing teacher salaries, using reserves and leftover federal money would help school districts make up for the decreased state aid without the need for layoffs. His overall executive budget proposal aims to eliminate a $10 billion deficit without raising taxes or borrowing.
"This budget is the first step toward building a new New York, as it both saves taxpayer dollars and reinvents our state government," the governor said, adding New York is number one in spending on education and number 34 in results. He added that more funds do not mean better schools or better programs and changes must start with a look at the programs: do they work for the student.
School administrators do not believe that is fair portrayal of Upstate districts.
"As the federal and state governments demand that student performance increase, the funds that support these efforts are taken away," said James Rodems, assistant superintendent for management services for the Baldwinsville Central School District. "I think that Baldwinsville, along with a lot of upstate New York districts, are being painted with a rather broad brush. Our students do quite well and while we can always do better, I do not believe that one simple solution exists for all school districts."
Education is also one of the two largest drivers of state expenditures, the other being Medicaid. There is little argument that cutting spending in these areas makes fiscal sense. Baldwinsville Superintendent Jeanne Dangle just wants her district's fair share.
"Schools in our area are not asking for the governor to put more money into education," Dangle said. "We would like him to redistribute the money he is allowing for education. Right now, a lot more money goes to the wealthier downstate schools and their reduction in State Aid is very small compared to CNY school aid cuts."