Guilderland School Budget
Posted in the Guilderland Forum
#1 Mar 5, 2009
I have not blogged in a while, but like Batman, I'm returning to stand up for truth and justice in a troubled time!
I watched the presentation of the budget of the Guilderland Central School budget the other night, with quiet bemusement as I witnessed one of the most elaborate shell games played with money in history. Somewhere Jack Madoff is smiling.
Most people will only see that in a troubled economic time, the budget presented by Mr. McGuire (Notice its not Dr. like previous Superintendents) only increases taxes by 3.89%. They will credit McGuire for his "fiscal responsibility" and prudence. The truth is far more dire and complicated, and as much as McGuire asks you to "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain" don;t fall for his confidence scheme.
This budget depends largely on three factors to allow the tax increase to stay at under 4%. Those factors are:
1) Raiding the District's Fund Balance for over $2 million
2) Staff redcutions, including around a dozen teachers
3) Federal Stimulus Money
Let's start wih the fund balance. The simple truth is that over the years the District has kept your money from property taxes, without paying you interest, even though the money was not needed for the operation of the school in an given year. Essentially they overcharged you in your tax bill and never refunded the overpayment. In some quarters we refer to this practice as "stealing". Laying this troubling fact aside, he use of over $2 million dollars in the fund balance is a one-shot revenue source that will not exist next year. The stimulus money is not much better. This money will be avialble for this year and next year, but then will disappear like sand in an hourglass, with the local taxpayer left holding the bag. Lastly, the staff reductions that have been undertaken are miniscule and are more due to decreased enrollement than concern for the taxpayer. In addition, it is amazing that the budget shows INCREASES in the overall salary to both instructional and non-instructional staff this year, EVEN WITH THE CUTS.
The result of the ponzi scheme laid out above will be that the tax increase that Guilderland will likely face next year will be MASSIVE. The factors above don't even take into account, the fact that the District will be assessed to make up the loses in the Teacher's retirement system, which have been very large in the last fiscal year.
Sitting at the top of this pyramid of lies is John McGuire. This year Mr. McGuire accepted a RAISE in the midst of this crisis. Many other Superintendents refused to take a raise this year, and in other sectors, including the hard working Guilderland Police Department, Unions are even agreeing to give back salary increases that were promised to save jobs. Here is a novel idea, before any job is cut ALL the administrators especially the Superintendent as leader of the district should refuse their raise. The taxpayer can;t afford it this year and at least in McGuire's case he is not worth it. A dozen or more teachers will be out of work due to this budget and Mr. McGuire will be able to afford his condo in Guilderland,and his house in parts unknown and I'm sure at least one vacation this year. I guess that School Board thinks he deserves this reward for being a master of slight of hand at Taxpayer expense.
Mr. McGuire has accepted a one year extension to his contract, and in less than a year's time he will be able to ride into the sunset with his huge pension and lifetime of free health insurance coverage in tow. Having left a path of divisivness, bittnerness and deceit in his wake, I suspect he'll still be smiling.
More next time on better ways to fix this budget mess, that involve real solutions to our school budget woes.....
#2 Mar 21, 2009
Yeah Dark Knight!
Why so serious? I love how McGuire listens to the community just to make it seem like he cares, then goes ahead and does whatever the heck he wants to anyway. I mean it's true right? What changes has he made after listening to the community (the people that pay!)? The whole budget meeting was just for show. The school board will do what they want, when they want. They are spending money on so many things our school really doesn't need. New computers? Tech Valley?(only 2 kids go and it costs us $36,000!!!) New flat screen tv in the main lobby? I don't understand it. The school board (more so Mr. McGuire) doesn't understand that people can't afford higher taxes in these tough times. These people need a simple economics class to understand luxury vs. necessity! Some men just want to watch the world burn I guess...
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