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2012 Finance Survey Report FINAL

2012 Finance Survey Report FINAL

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Published by Cara Matthews

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Published by: Cara Matthews on Nov 21, 2012
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Can’t Get There From Here
Budgeting challenges call for new directions in state policy to helpschools raise student achievement
 
2
nd
Annual Survey of New York State SchoolSuperintendents on Financial MattersNovember 2012
 
 
Can’t Get There from Here:
 A survey on school fiscal matters
|
November 2012
1
Table of Contents
PageHighlights
…………………………………………………………………………………
2Introduction
………………………………………………………….…………………..
3
Overall Fiscal Condition………
.
.
…………………………….…………………..
7
Budgeting Choices………………
..
………………………….……………………….
13
Personnel
………………………….………………….……………………………
..
14Instruction
…………………………………….….…………………………………….
15Other direct student services
………………….
.
………………..…………….
16Operations, maintenance and construction
……………….……………..
16Other actions
…………………..………………………………………………………
16
Impact of 2012-13 Budget Decisions
…………………………..……………….
17 Adapting to the Tax Levy Cap
………………………………………………………
21
Assessing the impact
……………………..…………………….…………
..
……..
21Tax levy cap impact on collective bargaining 
……
.
………………..……..
22
Implementing Evaluation Reforms
…….
..
………………………
.
….………….
24
Anticipated cost impact………………..………………………….……………….
24Demands on administration.
……
..
…….…………….………..……………….
 
25
Looking Ahead
…………………………………………………………………………..
28
Anticipated cost pressures
………………..……………………
.
……….……….
28Tax cap or state aid
which is the greater concern?...................... 29Priorities for mandate
relief……
.
…………………………………….…….…….
30Priorities for new funding 
……………………………………………..…….……
. 33
 About the Survey:
Between August 16 and September 3, 2012, the New York State Council of School Superintendents conducted anonline survey of its members who are superintendents on budgeting concerns for their districts. The survey wasconducted using the services of K12
Insight 
, a strategic partner of the Council.A total of 249 superintendents submitted complete responses, a response rate of 40.4%. Incomplete submissionsfrom 47 superintendents were also included in the results.Superintendents serving the Big 5 Cities (New York, Buffalo, Rochester, Yonkers, and Syracuse) and Boards of 
Cooperative Educational Services were not included in the survey because their systems’ budgets are not subject
to voter approval and consequently do not report some of the financial data available for small city, rural andsuburban districts.The Council conducted a similar survey in 2011, with a similar response rate. In some instances, we compareresults between the two years. However, the samples are different, since some of the superintendents respondedin one year and not the other.Finally, K12
Insight 
’s survey tools permit extensive cross
-tabulations and we do report some findings broken downby region or district character (i.e., urban, suburban, or rural). Particularly when examining regional results, it ispossible that the districts whose superintendents responded are not fully representative of their region. We dofind some regional results to be more positive than anecdotal exchanges with district officials would have causedus to anticiate.
 
Can’t Get There from Here:
 A survey on school fiscal matters
|
November 2012
2
HIGHLIGHTS
 
The survey:
The Council of School Superintendents conducted an online survey of its members on school fiscalmatters; 249 superintendents (40.4%) submitted complete responses. Partial responses from 47 superintendentswere also counted. Because their school budgets are not subject to voter approval, superintendents serving theBig 5 Cities and BOCES were not included in the survey. The Council conducted a similar survey in 2011.
 
Overall condition:
52% of superintendents say their district
s financial condition is worse or significantly worsethan a year ago.
In 2011, 75% of superintendents said their districts’ condition had worsened.
The share of city
superintendents reporting their districts’ finan
cial condition is poor or very poor rose sharply, from 24% to 43%.
 
Reliance on reserves:
83% of superintendents are concerned or very concerned by their
district’s reliance on one
-time resources (reserves) to fund recurring costs. Without the use of fund balance this year, districts would haveneeded to raise taxes by 7 percent more than they actually did, or make cuts of corresponding magnitude.
 
Financial insolvency 
: 9% of superintendents say that within two years, given current trends, their districts maybecome unable to ensure some financial obligations will ever be paid. This share would equate to roughly 60districts. Altogether 41% foresee reaching that condition within 4 years. North Country superintendents foreseethe most immediate threats.
 
Educational insolvency:
18% of superintendents say that within two years, given current trends, their districts maybecome unable to fund all state and federal mandates for instruction and student services. 77% foresee reaching that condition, either within 4 years or beyond. Again, concern is most immediate in the North Country.
 
 Job cuts:
Districts reduced their workforce by an average of 3.9% this year, on top of 4.9% in 2011-12. Reductionswere generally steepest among city and rural districts and in non-teaching student support positions.
 
Salary and benefit concessions:
35% of superintendents report a cost saving agreement with their teacher unionthis year, the highest percentage in 3 years. 45% percent report agreeing to freeze their own salary or makeanother cost saving adjustment
as in 2011, this is a higher share than for any other employee category.
 
Instructional cuts:
59% of districts increased class sizes this year, compared to 48% in 2011-12. 31% reducedsummer school. 31% reduced or deferred purchases of instructional technology
at a time when technology isseen as a key to improving outcomes and reducing costs.
 
2012-13 budget impact:
More than 40%
of superintendents said their district’s budget this year had a negative
impact on core elementary school instruction, extra help for students who need it, operations and maintenance,extracurricular activities, athletics, and administration
 
Tax levy cap:
67% of superintendents said that the new property tax levy cap led their district to adopt a spending level below what would have been done otherwise. 60% said the cap caused their adopted budget to have a morenegative impact on programs than would have otherwise occurred. 59% said the cap makes it more likely thatthey will be able to negotiate cost savings with their teacher union
or that it had already had that impact.
 
Teacher/Principal Evaluations:
70% of superintendents said new requirements for teacher and principalevaluations will require their districts to spend significantly more than under prior practices. Professionaldevelopment (training) needs are seen as the biggest cost-driver followed by new student assessment costs. 40%of superintendents say teacher evaluations will now consume more than 40
% of a typical principal’s time, raising 
concerns about how to balance other responsibilities.
 
Tax cap or state aid
which is a greater concern?:
Asked which is the greater financial concern for their districts
 the tax levy cap or possible future state aid levels
44% picked state aid (up from 23% in 2011), 13% chose the taxcap (down from 25%), and 43% said they are of equal concern. In poorer upstate regions away from the HudsonRiver, only 5% of superintendents now pick the tax levy cap as the greater concern.
 
Priorities for mandate relief:
 
Superintendents’ top mandate relief priority is to amend
the Triborough law
’s
 guarantee of 
“step”
increases after a collective bargaining agreement has expired. Actions to reduce health carecosts and stop unfunded mandates were other leading priorities.
 
Priorities for new spending:
As in 2011, providing more extra help for students who need it emerged as the toppriority should new funding become available.

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