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Superintendent Feirsen: 'Thanks for Supporting the School Budget'

Garden City schools chief makes statement on passage of 2012-2013 budget.

Garden City residents overwhemingly approved the 2012-2013 proposed budget for the school district, with more than 63 percent voting in favor of its passage.

Garden City Schools Superintendent Dr. Robert Feirsen released the following statement in response to Tuesday's vote:

"The Board of Education thanks the community for its support of the 2012-13 school district budget.  The budget will enable our school district to maintain the programs and the high performance for which it is well known.  The Board and the administration thank the community for the careful consideration it gave to the budget and for its efforts to understand the complexities of the tax cap levy legislation and the cap’s impact on the budget design process.  The budget for 2012-13 strikes a balance that demonstrates fiscal prudence and recognizes the importance of  sustaining the Garden City tradition of high quality education, a tradition that helps make our community a “destination location” for the entire tri-state area."

Among the factors driving the budget up this year were unfunded mandates, rising pension and healthcare costs for employees, debt service for the 2009 School Investment Bond, Special Education and contractual salary increases, albeit there was a reduction of $680K in the latter due to a new contract with the teachers union.

To offset some of these increases, the district also reached contract settlements with its paraprofessionals and CSEA, and is "judiciously" reducing staff based on declining enrollment. Staff reductions include one seventh grade core subject teacher, one bus driver and 1.2 full-time administrative business office positions. These cuts, however, are supplemented by two reserve positions, one general education and one special education teacher in case of enrollment increase, according to Garden City Superintendent Robert Feirsen.

The budget also makes some minimal reductions and cuts to athletics. Four team rosters will be reduced, the high school strength and conditioning program will be eliminated, and 31 coaching positions will be cut - 21 assistant coaches, four head strength and conditioning coaches and six middle school intramural coaches. To offset these reductions, the budget allows for an increase of 10 intramural supervisors for the middle and high schools. 

The district also tapped into some of its reserves, and realized savings through its participation in numerous consortia and its Energy Performance Contract. For more on the budget, click here.

What do you think about the results of the elections? Tell us in the comments space below, or send a "Letter to the Editor" or a request to blog to Tara.Conry@Patch.com.

Elle May 16, 2012 at 11:56 PM
You mean 63% of less than 2,900 voters don't you? That means approximately 1,827 people voted yes for a total of 11% of our town's 16,500 eligible voters. THAT IS LESS THAN 1/8 OF THE PEOPLE IN THIS TOWN VOTED YES. That hardly enough votes to pass a budget that affects everyone, don't you think?. Even Congress needs a certain amount of votes to pass a bill. I think the only constitutional thing to do here would be to have a re-vote on the school budget or just revert to last year's budget by default.
GCBob May 17, 2012 at 12:30 PM
Elle: The rules state that if the vote is less then 50 percent in favor they get to vote again. If it is over by just one vote for the budget, that's it. Just goes to show you how many people leave it up to others to spend their money, which they are too willing to do. Very disheartening!!!
Elle May 17, 2012 at 03:16 PM
Ok, but that is only out of approx 2,900 people total which is not even half of the town -- you said total voters in the town of 16,000 plus. So it shouldn't count -- it isn't really 50% but only 11%. Budget should revert to last year by default.
GCBob May 17, 2012 at 09:22 PM
Elle: All the district needs is 50% of the votes plus 1 for the budget to pass. That is why it is so important to vote.