School Consolidation 930in716 May 7, 2018

Monday, May 7th

Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

It's 930. In 716. Starting the conversation about consolidating school district resource news within Erie county if you were starting from scratch. You would not have this many school districts in Erie county would that have five plus. In Cheektowaga. General reaction has been good of course just some people who. Don't support anything that changed our fixing our potholes reduce spending within kickback county government and then have a discussion. About education school district. I'm Jim winder on the podcast powered by the Brothers of mercy a five star rated skilled nursing residents offering affordable living in a country setting Erie county executive mark polling cars released a report a few weeks bag detailing cost savings that. Could result of some of the dozens of school districts in Erie county emerged administrative resources. I'm WDN's hardline Sunday host Kevin Hardwick talked it out of bed with Dave graver from WI DB. I think there is a conglomerate of superintendents at least a handful 345. That. Are are are not in favor of this for any number of reasons now it could be that they don't wanna give up power in their individual school districts they don't wanna give up you know everything from their salaries to their power or. It could just be they don't think it's logistically. Some media to pick a so so much they don't always they have a lot at stake if you don't have five superintendent we're going underline that he's there to bail them in a wheelchair I was with for them. But don't say I'll tell you. Alitalia might my thoughts of it I've done a lot of research in this area. You know it. If you were starting from scratch you would not have this many school districts in Erie county would net him five plus. In Cheektowaga it just makes absolutely no sense and I think the county executive is right. You can save money and administrative costs. But you have to also figure if you if you take I districts you merge them into one yet you'll save administrative costs. But then there's going to be a leveling up the literature talks about leveling up when it comes to contract exactly because if you've won district won those by district makes. It Il by thousand dollars more average teacher salary and a out of step. Yelled they're not gonna wanna give money back in your gonna bring the other four district's up to death so all the teachers are good you know the new teachers contract. They're gonna get the best salary schedule they're gonna get the most sick days in the best benefits and everything like that why would they why would they give things up and that's where the problem comes in. And and I have some numbers to actually support that if you look at just for example Cheektowaga central Cheektowaga Sloan. Teachers in Cheektowaga Sloan seventeen years of experience make 91. There. Thousand dollars will put over 91000 dollars. The same teachers with the same seventeen years of experience and she flog a central 64825. I mean you're talking about their largest charities. Or doing things are going around and talking into the communities. Starting today and what I have been doing over the last few weeks is talking with the individuals. Erie county executive mark pulling cars than talking it out with Susan rose and Brian mess around ski on WB yen. Explaining what the ideas which as you can still keep your schools you. You can still have your teachers your creditors you're guidance counselor at a bus drivers but we can. Basically merge administration. You have one superintendent. At work too before the reason we were looking at this discussed or some small districts that. I'll have to do. Provide these services is required by state law that are provided and other districts locally. With the same amount of administrative staff so little larger districts would see a Williams Phil or can time. Can provide this same type administrative. Staff in in services it has some small district stupid they have to basically spend. Just as much money as Parker district why don't some of the smaller districts come together. And say let's keep our schools what's spend that money and student learning rather than duplicating administrative costs. Now mark superintendents have said that equalizing labor contracts would be expensive with this plan that there would be a leveling up. So that some districts would catch up with others. Does that offset the savings. In your plan. The one thing that really hasn't been talked about that I prefer to let others have been to New York State offers an additional 40%. In school late for districts that consolidate. So what we're talking about is if there it is in and sometimes there are quite the American League and I that there could be a while sitting. Of all costs associated with salaries but remember him all these teachers are represented by unions they negotiate contracts that are very similar in cost because the when they negotiate contract it look at a neighboring district and say that with those teachers make. So if there is an additional cost to can be offset by New York State judicial almost 40% but stayed aiding and think about it if it is. Hey it's smaller poorer district was able to get additional 40% as stated by consolidating. And eliminating some duplicative costs. That's a that's a tremendous amount of money they can go away and in a in assist which student learning. He you know we have some people saying that seated it's going to be facing a whole lot of backlash from superintendents that people who might deadbeat in fear of losing a job. Other people saying no labor unions who would did. Not allow this to happen. Among its debt opposition. How would this be implemented is this something that can be on a ballots is it something that can be mandated to kind of circumvent so a lot of that opposition in my face. Well under New York State law it's not easy to consolidate school district federal pre. Other school districts themselves have to pretty much decide to do and that it would be up for a vote in each of the municipalities or the district of voters themselves. That's why I'm hosting conversations. I can't force the issue but I think it's important and when we release the report for a lot of people that would shock. The amount of money that's spent and some of these districts of the administration. In and they didn't know also that eerie Tony makes most of these. Districts hole when people fill the paper taxes. As well as that we provide in the significant amount Celtics. So our view is. Yes it's not easy to merge school districts in New York we made recommendations and how that could change for the better of our community. But the big thing and that's why I'm calling these conversations. Is to sit down in various parts of Siri counting. With local citizens and discuss this hopefully irrational manner and will be able to. Lot of conversation. That hopefully will take through all the communities. Now a majority of our web poll this morning want to see this day and they liked this idea. But how hard sell isn't for you. I don't think it is hard to sell as most people think. I remember when I was control our nation report saying we had too many successors. And we should go to a centralized discussing in the recount. Well we never got to a centralized assessing but guess what happened in the meantime. A multiple remote ancestors consolidated. You know towns are sharing assessing. Why because it makes sense you reduce administrative costs you know the fairer assessment system that's what I perceive this will be this is not something that's gonna happen overnight. But hopefully over time communities will come together and talk about this in a rational manner and realized. You know we could save some money either put it back into the that your expertise of people pay as much. Or use superstores student learning like offering more AP courses. Or more special education courses which of course early that's a and the response I've gotten so far indicates to me that. Or large majority of the population thinks is the conversation we should have. So hopefully we're gonna start that the light for the good discussion in north columns. North towns is where you'll be tonight what are some of the district's you've identified is maybe. Could be ripe for consolidation like this. Well will be in north counselor right because North County need in we're one of those suburbs listed in my report and previously were listed. And university of buffalo I'll report and the communities did talk about this in the past. We're looking at Cheektowaga there's actually eight districts in the talent Cheektowaga five full districts within the entire community. And that we talked about in the past. In Cheektowaga those by districts have 1000 let students and Williams still central school districts that spend over one million dollars more diminish ration. So we're looking at there. And we also are took a look at Akron and all the in the northern part of the county very similar type the district. We're all very proud districts. There's no reason that they can merging administrative expenses but still have your Akron central earlier incorrectly scored your all the great school. And I think that's important that people realize. If you merging administrative costs you could still keep schools don't have your independent teachers and same as before. And you can provide a better product or students and isn't that what this is all about it should be about the providing a a better education for the student. You mentioned in the past the possibility where if district stony at least talk about this. You could hold sales tax revenue from those districts how real of a threat is that. Well I can't hold them individually for districts do not have that power that we either and the sales tech sharing a rebel. So anybody who's going out there and sing and I would independently and the sales tax for each district he well no one elected official sort of hinting that perhaps. The power is to change the sale tech sharing formula and total not just for each district. I think it's important that people understand that the 132. Million dollars sales tax it was generated. In the prior year and it goes to the school district. And I think people are shocked when when I accept that because they didn't realize that school districts receive cell that we can actually reduce the sales tax. Two below 8% there's no doubt about it but we did. We would work all of the school districts across Erie county as well as the towns and villages and cities that received sales tax. So I don't think there's not a threat against anyone. Municipality anyone school district I think it's important for people to understand. That. Each of the school districts and they're counting receives generally more than a million dollars in assistance at all and some have a little bit less. It's based on the population formula purse student. But I think it's important for people understand that all of the people of Erie county. Helped to subsidize each and every one of these school district where do you shopping. Mark for our listeners who say Texas will never go down around here. Would you say. Well in my administration is reduced architecture he three times. So if you don't believe that your taxes can go down Erie county government has reduced our territory three times. We certainly have. New development going on our community which is helping because when you straight in the text base it takes pressure off everyone else so it can happen there's no doubt about it and play through there have been consolidation to schools in the past. In Erie county it's been a long time. But if you look around the rest of New York State there have been some mergers and consolidations and other areas and it helps it has helped save those districts. Would have one final thing. Is that. For a lot of these districts they're losing their population relinquished his base. Which just means that for the rest of the people and that district. There's more pressure for them to fund the programs. So why wouldn't we have this conversation. Which we look at ways of reducing total costs so that we can put their money either backing of the student learning. Or potentially reduce taxes and and that's the conversation I think that should be. And those detractors the county executive referenced at the beginning of the interview. Here's one. Wal-Mart called Curtis pitching this plan very similar Howell obamacare. Was sold the taxpayers that if you like your doctor you can keep it if you like your plan you can keep your plan. That wasn't true. And this is basically intellectually dishonest. To say that taxes and spending will not go up and school districts. That's Erie county controller stuff on my hi Lou with Susan and Brian. You have to bumble labor costs you know what all that teachers' salaries per teacher would go up 151000 dollars in Sloan. There's a different streams swollen cheek a lobbyist central by 27000. Dollars per teacher delivery have an intellectually honest discussion here to discuss a real labor cost. 88 it paid out over six years on in my opponent cars under his plan. You have to drastically cut the salaries of teachers or player teachers in the classroom in order to this to be real cost savings to taxpayers. What you mentioned that state aid that's something the county executive says would help offset those costs you mention it would be phased out over six years our teachers salaries going to seem may be a similar reduction overtime as new teachers come in and don't make as much as some of those salaries that might need to be bumped up. If you bump up there in the case astrology to walk essentially get to be increasing every single teacher salary by 27. Thousand dollars per teacher again at an all than 151000. So that the cost saving potentially are phased out over six years when it comes as state aid in even property tax you consolidate certain districts com. Would win some taxes would go down and others would go a lot I mean first of vault uneven understand what we're having the discussion in the first place. Pertaining to the fact that Erie county has heroes today over education at teachers would never tell the county executive how to fix. All the potholes. That are littered. Across Erie county our poll workers can't even fix potholes but yet he wants to have a discussion about school consolidation that has nothing to do. What the operation of Erie county government. Well let's start at square one of this idea I've. Everything else off the tea but do you agree that in some areas. Notably Cheektowaga seems to be one of the big ones for talk him out some areas in Erie county. Have too many school districts too many administrators for the amount of students are actually overseen. I think it should be up to each municipality. Mark Paul personally I'm WB yen and said that he would hammer. Hammer school districts and municipalities. By basically eliminating their sales tax revenue if they did not consolidate. And I don't think it should be forced. I'm district if they want to consolidate great that's wonderful I wholeheartedly support that. The local school board decides they want or prove school consolidation and the taxpayers do. That's wonderful. It shouldn't be forced on them in the same way the New York State forces unfunded mandates and our municipalities but we should not be forcing this issue. I municipalities if they want to great if not it shouldn't be forced. Well now the county can't force this anyway right it has to come from the district to begin. That's Iraq who would very concerning is that the county executive was on your airwaves. And threatened to hammer. School districts and hammer municipalities. That they did not. That would basically mean a loss have a 139. Million dollars. And sales tax revenue for school district would also mean a 184 million dollar cut. The cities towns and villages and I don't think get to write you should never threatened tax payers and teachers. With eliminating their revenue if they don't consolidate. The county executive joined us just a few minutes ago said that that because. That can't be localized to certain school districts it would have to be county wind it's not really something that's. I guess present immediately. On the table how else would you I guess force districts to at least have the conversation. And besides making that threat because. In my gut tells me that if you don't in some way force the conversation to be had. School districts would never really have it on their owns because what superintendent would say. Let's examine my job. We need to have been intellectually honest discussion about it. Again this goes back to obamacare tax payers are promised if you like your doctor keep your doctor if you like the plague and keep it that was false. And we know that state aid faded out over six years and that there'd be a massive increase in teacher salaries if you did consolidate certain districts. So the intellectually honest discussion is. Under the pole in Paris playing you do your half too drastically cut the pay a public schoolteachers who try to post war. You have to fire that in order to see real true cost savings I don't think that's right. I think the discussion should be at the local level. Taxpayers one it further district I think that's wonderful god bless America they can voted in our route that you should not be forced on them. I'll with the threat of handling them by eliminating sales tax revenue for municipalities or school district. Stuff under the Kelly secular said that New York State would offer 40% in state school aid to districts that consolidate. The debt is just temporary. It stayed down after six years so and that's why did they leave the discussion is not an honest one with Kevin honest discussion about the real cost. In under C a long school district have. They're having cost the revenue and sharing services over the past few years it's already happening. At the local district and that's why I think you know lied to discuss even taking place at the county level to begin what. Our poll inherited the Erie county executive yet he's focusing on. Banning plastic bag in the Paris climate accord and he's totally checked out from his job Erie county executive. Start fixing our potholes reduce spending within kickback county government and then have a discussion about education school districts. First conversation takes place tonight with the county executive in north Collins complete deet tails on that inside our article at WB ENN. Dot com back tomorrow. That's 930 in 716. We're back tomorrow with a net irritation from the studios of WD EA and awful well.