If the Tonawanda City School District accepts its entire award for the Race To The Top education reforms, it will receive $97,611 over 4 years. After 2015, the Tonawanda City School District will be expected to fund whatever the ongoing costs for implementing common core and other required initiatives outlined in the Obama Race To The Top reforms.
Although many consider the Race To The Top awards to be mainly for inner city minority districts, it appears the average per student award on a statewide basis is $143 when the data is broken down by race. One exception are Asians, who on average received $138 per student. According to the 2011 census, Tonawanda City School District had 1946 students enrolled with the following racial makeup:
Tonawanda City School District and it’s award of $97,611 equals $50 per student over 4 years. As time goes by Tonawanda City School District should begin to report new Common Core/Race To The Top expenses in their budget. As a a parent or taxpayer in this district, it would be wise to request this number. Especially given the fact that multiple news sources are reporting massive costs are around the corner.
In total, New York state was awarded $700 million for implementing performance-based standards for teachers and principals, complying with Common Core standards, lifting caps on charter schools, turning around the lowest-performing schools, and building data systems. That money is essentially gone.
NY’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 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|
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).
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.
|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.
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.