March 30, 2004

300 attend Dryden School Board meeting

Difficult issues seem to bring people to meetings, and the Dryden school budget has certainly been difficult. This morning's Ithaca Journal looks at last night's meeting, the attendees seeking mostly to save programs, and the options facing the board.

The Journal notes that the first speaker was one of the few to support budget cuts, and that most comments were in support of saving programs, even if it did mean greater expense. A contingency budget with a 5.41% tax levy increase, which would "cut the entire athletics program in addition to other staffing cuts", is a possibility if voters reject the budget. Board members support proposals ranging from a 12.5% increase to an 18.44% increase. Even that 18.44% increase involves cutting three staff positions funded by a one-year grant.

It doesn't sound like the district will be getting all that much help from the state, either, if the Zarb Commission report's recommendations for increasing education spending comes to pass, as it offers a smaller amount of money than many proposals (though more than is in the current budget) and sends over three-quarters of it downstate. The Campaign for Fiscal Equity, which began the lawsuit leading to this year's emphasis on education funding, has a fairly tepid response to the Zarb report, and will be issuing its own report in a few days. The New York Times (registration required) has several stories on the report (1 2 3 4).

Posted by simon at March 30, 2004 7:15 AM in , ,
Note on photos