Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Wednesday, February 10, 2016:

School budget development typically begins in the formal sense around November each year and culminates once the Board of Education adopts the approved budget, which is presented to the community in the form of a resolution and voted upon annually on the 3rd Tuesday in May each year.

What sometimes isn't always understood is how the annual budget is built or gets created . . . budget planning requires school officials to work in a 3-year model - the year we just finished; the year we are currently in; and, the year we are working towards.  So, for us -- this means, we are still focused on the 2014-2015 budget (considering funds were encumber last year but sometimes get spent on the current year); 2015-2016 budget (account codes, budget lines, programs, staffing, and other expenses are evaluated for effectiveness and whether the funds appropriated are meeting with expectations); and 2016-2017 (the budget priorities, mandates, new initiatives, community support, as well as state fiscal support all play a significant function in the development process).

As simple as all of this sounds - the reality is . . . the budget development is still based on balancing the appropriations and expenses identified in the budget with the revenues (local, County, State, or Federal).  As we all have experienced over the past 7 years, budget development has become more of a waiting game.  We identify our priorities within the Liverpool School system, but must patiently wait until the State Legislature (Senate and Assembly) banter with our NY State Governor over limited funds, personalized projects, promises made for funding in the form of legislative bills, and other back door deals.

So, I am supposed to deliver the LCSD Proposed Budget draft to the Board of Education on Monday, February 22nd.  In past years, the Superintendent would present this draft (a completed and balanced budget) to the Board . . . where conversations would enlighten the BOE members with the district's educational goals and priorities.  Since the Gap Elimination Adjustment has been enacted by the State  (2009) - we simply wait until the negotiations have ceased and the aid runs for each school district have been shared.  At that point, we are relatively confident with the aid formula and funds dedicated to Liverpool.  So, on Monday, February 22nd - I will be able to share our celebrations, victories, and educational accomplishments . . . as well as the initiatives that have produced (in some cases) very little in return.  I will be able to share the budget drivers for both appropriations and for revenues (at this point in time), but I will not be able to submit a balanced budget to the Board until the Legislature has completed the perimeters for creating the NYS Budget.  Unfortunately, this has become the reality with our state government.

  • Liverpool CSD Capital / Facility Improvements (Phase 3 Building Project) Update:
On January 11, 2016 - The Liverpool CSD Board of Education approved the resolution to bring a Phase 3 Facility Improvement Project to a community vote on Thursday, March 10th.  The project includes renovation improvements at Liverpool High School (including security improvements by redesigning the building entrance, improvements in the gymnasium area, expansion of the current auditorium, and improvements in the heating plant including upgrades with the HVAC system).  Other work throughout the district will include a roof replacement at the Wetzel Road Building; also work at the Transportation Center including blacktop repairs, fuel tank removal and replacement, and vehicle lift replacements.

The Phase 3 project cost total is approximately $39.4 million dollars; the project is aided at approximately 87%; we will be asking voters to consider using $2,650,278 from the district's Capital Reserve to off-set the local share.  The project will cost the Liverpool community approximately $13.80 per $100,000 of assessed home value.

  • Initiatives and Priorities for Liverpool:
Over the course of the 2015-2016 school year - we have set out to focus on the following initiatives:

1) Completion of our 5-year Strategic Plan (completed September 2015);
2) Begin  a 1:1 Technology Device initiative;
3) Implement Project-Based Learning Environments;
4) Initiate Google Platform as the district focus;
5) Communication Plan;
6) Professional Development Plan;
7) Community-Partnership Plan;
8) S.T.E.M. Alignment;
9) Replace District Signage;

Over the course of the year - I will continue to update the community as progress is made specific to each of the identified initiatives above.

  • Common Core, State Assessments, and the Impact for Everyone (including APPR):
Since the onset on High Stakes Testing, Common Core, the Reform Agenda, and Data Driven Instruction . . . all promoted from the Obama initiative "Race To The Top".  New York Sate was an early adopter in the conversion race to Common Core State Standards.  But, following the past couple years (especially the opt-out movement) --  much has been reconsidered and a significant shift has demonstrated keen listening from the State Education Department and the Board of Regents.  About 6 years ago the legislation shift into state law 3012(c) demanded higher standards for student achievement linking student assessment results to teacher evaluations.

With the migration into state law 3012(d), much of the stress placed on students and the confusion between teacher evaluation and teacher observation has been modified through the A.P.P.R. (Annual Professional Performance Review) plan changes.  At this point, student "growth" scores will not used to determine teacher performance ratings; student assessments have been significantly altered with shorter passages and less time dedicated annually in classrooms on formalized testing; and, schools are expected to focus on teaching, learning and find ways to educate students in an environment that is fun, exciting and links student's individual needs to future ready skills.

Thank You,

Dr. Mark F. Potter

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