First School Budget Proposal Calls For 3.56 Percent Increase

As budget talks kick off, Dr. Robert Feirsen says proposed spending plan is not "bursting with optimism."

The Garden City School District is jumping head first into budget planning for the 2013-2014 school year.

Superintendent of schools Dr. Robert Feirsen and assistant superintendent for business and finance Albert Chase presented the administration’s proposed spending plan Tuesday during the first of several budget work sessions.

These are “one of the more deep discussions,” said Feirsen, acknowledging the challenges the district is facing this year. The superintendent discussed the probability of cuts in order to maintain the delicate balance. “This is not a budget bursting with optimism.” he said.

Possible cuts are not specific to Garden City alone. According to school officials, more than 60 districts in New York State are unable to pay their bills and risk being insolvent. “It’s a regional problem, a statewide problem,” Feirsen said.

The proposed program budget stands at $107,930,252, a 3.56 percent increase over last year. Budget-to-budget increase for 2013-2014 equals approximately $3,714,724 (3.56 percent from last year) and a projected tax levy increase of 3.86 percent. The maximum allowable tax levy for 2013-2014 now stands at 3.91 percent.

"Everything needs to be in balance,” said Chase as he presented the sources of revenue. “Property taxes are over 85 percent of the entire budget,” he explained. “Garden City ranks among the top in the country. “The situation hasn’t changed.”

The next meeting of the Board of Education will take place at Garden City High School Tuesday, Feb. 26, at 8:15 p.m.
kent penney February 14, 2013 at 10:48 AM
Jack O'Niel February 14, 2013 at 02:59 PM
What percentage of this budget is salaries? I guess job security, working close to home and benefits aren't enough anymore. Now we have teachers that want that AND want to get rich off of their salary. It's one or the other teachers, you can't have it all.
GCBob February 14, 2013 at 04:35 PM
The last sentence states that our property taxes account for over 85% of the revenue that supports this budget and that we are among the highest in the nation and that this situation hasn't changed. But it must change for the costs are unsustainable, the national consumer price index for 2012 is 100, while Garden City's index is over 164 or 64% higher then the national average. The only constraints the school district has is the so called 2% cap and they are afraid to go above it, which is something they like to do, because it would lead to a 60% majority vote which they may not get. I am waiting for the School Board to make some tough decisions, not unlike our BOT, and start cutting down school expenses. Oh and another thing, where is everyone at these meetings, almost no one attends them. Let me remind everyone that about 65% of our high tax bills are generated by our school district and by not getting involved and not asking questions and demanding answers then you should have no complaints when your new school tax bill arrives in the mail.
Steve F February 14, 2013 at 07:36 PM
Its for the children
D.R.St-Jacques February 15, 2013 at 03:17 PM
We must, as an area in which we hope to be able to live a decent life, press upon the school system the need to "sharpen their pencils" when they are looking at their budget, All of us homeowners have to do it. And in retirement we have cut back on our living expenses. There has to be ways for the school system to reduce expenses and I do think that the number of school staff and the expenses that go along with that staff has to be a way to start some reduction.
John1 February 16, 2013 at 06:49 PM
good thing feirsen slipped in his 20k raise before the vote
Steve F February 17, 2013 at 10:45 AM
Good thing our schools dont even rank in the highest of the nation or even the state. I would hate to think we are just forking over increase after increase to pay for salary increases
D.R.St-Jacques February 17, 2013 at 04:15 PM
It is not only salaries but also benefits and the high number of staff both professional and technical and others that seem to me to create a high percentage of the expenses in our Garden City school systen.
GCBob February 17, 2013 at 05:36 PM
Over 85% of school revenues come from property taxes and will go from an anticipated amount for 2012-13 of $88,556,553 to $92,176,752 for 2013-14 resulting in an increase of $3,620,199 or over 4%. These are the numbers that should interest taxpayers and not just the budget to budget and levy to levy numbers which only apply to the school district. Another number to watch out for is the new tax rate, remembering that our assessed values are frozen for 4 years, this number is used to formulate individual tax bills and should be available in the coming weeks.
Elle April 24, 2013 at 09:27 AM
Let's be real. The government mandated school budget increase is all going towards the G.C. Teachers/administrators yearly salary and pension increases. So of course they have no money left over to spend on the children -- they are taking it all for themselves. So now we have to pay extra to get the programs for our children they should be entitled to. My poor husband has to now work longer hours at his firm for extra bonuses just to keep up with all the school tax increases in our neighborhood. He does not get a yearly salary nor pension increase in the private sector, in fact they are all cutting back. We are making the same money as 3 years ago. I rather just pay extra for an after school soccer program for my child it would probably be cheaper and I would be sure the money will go towards my child's benefit. I heard in the GC paper that the government is even giving our schools extra money this year, so why would we vote for additional increases on top of that? -- seriously does a school principle deserve over $300,000 per year? Every teacher near $100,00 per year? What is going on? They are already overspending. My Mom was a teacher for 30 years and it was never like this. If out town votes for an additional bonus increase on top of what is already mandated by the government we are really, really dumb, as this will never stop nor resolve anything. This system is broken, the schools are getting greedy, I don't believe they really care for our children at all, they just want their money. VOTE NO TO SCHOOL BUDGET INCREASES!
Elle April 24, 2013 at 09:40 AM
By the way, I believe the Budget Meeting & Votes almost seem hidden and are inconvenient -- so people who do not agree will not vote against it Also, another factor for low attendance & voting is most of us are working all the time to make ends meet, (we cannot afford to lose our jobs) so your voting times are not always convenient for us to get to. Last time we passed the school budget on just 1,600 yes votes out. Out of all the people in our town, this is ridiculous that 1,600 people (teachers) decide our budgets. Can't we offer alternative days for voting. But even better would be if we could change the system and take votes (mailed or emailed in to a secure site) by Household going forward -- perhaps we can mail our votes in to the Inc Village of GC town hall?


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