Monday, May 04, 2009

Davy Confirms Budget Process

State Education Commissioner Lucille Davy met with the City Council Monday to discuss the council's role now that voters have rejected the 2009-2010 school budget.

The bottom line: The council can attempt to study the budget and make cuts, but Davy is statutorily obligated to restore them to the amount of the mandated local school tax levy that appeared on the ballot on April 21, namely $19,862,563.

The deadline for council action is May 19, so even if the council wanted to make cuts as a gesture, time is short. Given that the gestation time for the municipal budget rivaled that of a human birth, two weeks does not seem enough to make a point on the defeated school budget.

Although it may not be much comfort for taxpayers, Davy called this year's confluence of extra state aid and federal stimulus money an "unprecedented opportunity" to fund activities that could enhance student performance.

The district will continue to see mandated increases in the local tax levy as the state seeks balance among wealthy and poor districts. The former pay most of school costs in local taxes and the latter have not had to do so until passage of the School Funding Reform Act of 2008.

--Bernice Paglia


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