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The Education Tax Credit may help avoid a school budget increase of 15.19% for Tonawanda City SD

 

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The NYSED website has identified the Tonawanda City SD as having non-public school students within its authority. Every non-public school student in the Tonawanda City SD area represents a school budget savings because this district is required to provide a basic education to these students should they return to Tonawanda City SD.

 

Below are the 2013-2014 the budget savings that non-public school parents are providing every taxpayer in NYS and in the Tonawanda City SD.

 

NYS resident tax savings provided by non-public school parents:

 

  • NY Non-public school enrollment – 507,825 students
  • Median per student expense for NY public school education – $22,500
  • Value of education entitled to but not rendered – $11,452,469,400 (that number is in the billions)
  • Proposed tuition assistance via the Education Tax Credit for non-public parents – 1.0% return on the value of unclaimed mandatory services.

 

Tonawanda City SD budget/enrollment with non-public school parents subsidizing the mandatory costs.

 

  • Proposed spending: $29,858,602
  • Public School Enrollment: 1,791
  • Per Student Expense: $16,671

 

Tonawanda City SD budget reflecting all non-public students returning for their rights to a basic public education:

 

  • Non-Public School Enrollment: 272
  • Additional Cost To Tonawanda City SD: $4,534,640
  • Corrected Budget: $34,393,242
  • Required Budget Increase: 15.19%

Whether or not the number above is large or small, there are non-public schools across NY state subsidizing your local property and state income taxes by an estimated $11.4 billion dollars.

 

If you live in or near this district and the non-public school closes, you may wish something more had been done.

Many of the operators of the non-public schools have said that they will be closing more schools unless something is done. There is a bill called the Education Tax Credit that offers non-public school parents a small tuition assistance program of $500 plus allowances for people to donate to scholarship funds for students. Neither portion of the proposal involves a reduction in funding to the Tonawanda City SD or any other public schools. This small amount of help may prevent school budget increases of 4,638% for parents and taxpayers in other districts. Call your Albany representatives to find out where they stand.

All numbers based on freely available information at the NYSED website and assume that students without a non public option will return to the local public option.

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Smart Schools Bond Act – What it means for Tonawanda City School District

 

moneycapNY’s 2014-2015 budget includes the $2 billion Smart Schools Bond Act to be put before voters in the November 2014 election. Should it pass, Tonawanda City School District will receive a proportional share of the $2 billion based on the proportion of total formula school aid the district receives.

To receive the funds, Tonawanda City School District in the county of Erie is required to submit a detailed plan to a state review board. In developing plans, the school district is required to consult with appropriate stakeholders, including Tonawanda parents, teachers, students and Tonawanda community members.

 

 

Tonawanda City School District Smart Schools Capital Projects can include:

  • Acquiring learning technology equipment or facilities including interactive whiteboards; computer servers, desktop, laptop and tablet computers;
  • Installing high-speed broadband or wireless Internet connectivity for schools and communities
  • Constructing, enhancing and modernizing educational facilities to accommodate prekindergarten programs
  • Providing instructional space to replace transportable classroom units
  • Installing high-tech security features in school buildings and on school campuses, including installation of high-tech security features such as video surveillance, emergency notification systems and physical access controls

 

 

Tonawanda District numbers for parents and taxpayers to consider:

 

Tonawanda 2014 enrollment:  1726 students

Funding type Formula Aid Hardware/Software Pre-k Bond Allocation
State Total $21,280,313,886 $85,204,216 $385,034,734 $2 Billion
District Share $15,928,253 $63,390 $260,275 $1,561,513
Per Student $9,228.42 $36.73 $150.80 $904.70
Percentage 0.082% 0.074% 0.068% 0.078%

 

Not enough money.

A significant problem with this bond is that a district might spend on getting broadband access and a few computers while another district may spend the money on building pre-k classroooms. There just isn’t enough money unless Tonawanda City School District already has high speed access, pre-k and a somewhat robust technology department. Even then, the legacy costs of maintaining additional salaries, pensions, benefits and technology will belong to Tonawanda  taxpayers. Similarly, Obama’s Race to the top program required all sorts of added services while providing pennies per student. As with this bond,  it was big on “progressive” ideas and short on methods to pay for and maintain it. In the end it will likely result in higher local property taxes and state taxes (AKA- state aid).

 

3 technology spending examples:

Every district is required to have a technology plan. Most districts put these documents online for public review. Within this document you can get a general idea of the district equipment, class types, personnel and costs. Once you know what your local district has and roughly how much it costs, the proposed bond allocation may seem pointless or a jackpot. Keep in mind,  mandatory pre-k costs for some districts will absorb a significant portion of the allocation.

 

District  Oceanside  Scarsdale  Fredonia
Enrollment 5,732 4,739 1,502
2013 spending* $1.5 million/yr $920,000 $550,000
Bond allocation $1.9 million $444,0000 $1.1 million

*Spending numbers taken from the district’s technology plan, which may or may not reflect actual dollar amounts spent. Dollar amounts have been rounded.

As you can tell, some districts will be shorted while others will see a onetime increase depending on their current formula aid from the state. In the end, everyone will pay for the borrowed money.

Find the Tonawanda City School District technology plan with a pre-linked search at  Bing.

 

Don’t vote without knowing your local plan.

 
25 ton door at Cheyenne Mountain.
25 ton door at Cheyenne Mountain.

The $2 billion Smart Schools Bond is set to be voted on in November 2014.  That being said, Tonawanda City School District parents, taxpayers and community members should pay close attention to what the  district is planning to do with this money.  You may find the media pushing the idea that everyone is getting a laptop while your district has to buy a building for mandatory preschool services and decides it needs to install video surveillance.  Then again, you may wind up with a front door that will stop a tank. Every district has different needs.

Click here to see how little Tonawanda received in Race To The Top funds.

 

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