Talk of the Sound Podcast May 22, 2020 – S01E24

Written By: Robert Cox

Show Notes for May 22, 2020.

Talk of the Sound Podcast is Hosted by Robert Cox, Produced in conjunction with

The show is based on live interviews of Robert Cox by Bob Marrone, hosting of Mornings with Bob Marrone.

Bob Cox and Bob Marrone discuss School Elections: the New Rochelle School Board Race and School Budget Vote.

School boards run their own elections when they have a vested interest in the outcome, they deliberately suppress turnout so parents and teachers have a disproportionate impact.

School Board Race

12 candidates
Zoom forums and video interviews
School Board was stonewalling on candidates getting on the ballot, Cox pushed to get more candidates on the ballot and succeeded.

School Budget Vote

Lot of unknowns on state aid cuts
Some districts building in cuts some not
Some anticipating budgets will fail

School Elections

School Boards run their own elections which is like having the majority party in a municipality or state run the election. The board has a vested interest in picking who they want and do not want on the board and they always want budget and bond referendums to pass. Everything is set up to make school elections a farce – like holding them in May, letting the board run the election, counted by employees who are paid out of the budget, suppressing turnout, promoting the school vote

School Board Race

12 candidates – mostly Cox’s doing

School Board Budget

We do not have a final adopted budget so it would be premature to discuss the budget. The budget has to be adopted next week. A major question is whether New York State will disclose the level of State Aid Districts can expect to receive.

Congress allocated roughly $1.1 billion to New York for K-12 education through the federal CARES Act: cleaning and sanitizing schools, purchasing educational technology such as laptops and hotspot devices, training educators to use online learning tools, ensuring access to education for students with disabilities, and providing students emergency funding for food, housing, and other basic essentials.”

New York State passed its budget in early April, cutting state education aid by about $1.1 billion dollars, roughly the same amount provided by the federal government to help schools afford the unavoidable costs of the pandemic.

They assumed a 6 percent drop in the state aid they got last year. That’s not the rosy promise of level funding made in the state budget in April, but it’s far less than the 20 percent cuts that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has warned the state could be forced to make if it doesn’t get relief funds from Congress.

New York, facing a giant shortfall because the coronavirus shutdown has stifled tax revenue, expected to announce aid cuts by mid-May after measuring the impact on finances in April, but held off for deliberations in Washington. House Democrats have proposed $1 trillion in funding for struggling state and local governments, but no such support has been approved by the Senate.

50% then 20% Wait until 5/15 when he said he would announce the numbers. Now he reneged on that.

Everyone expects more cuts

Stimulus $1.1 billion was for NEW costs

Cuomo has been spending ahead of revenue in an expanding economy, now he is caught with his pants down.

Jan proposed budget increased state aid
April was flat so an effective cut

Many districts are planning for their budgets to fail. If that happens the turnaround time to pass a budget by July 1 will be 3 weeks shorter than usual. Therefore, many districts have already prepared a “Plan B” budget to expedite the process if necessary on June 10.

As Cuomo has been unwilling to commit to a hard number on state aid cuts some districts are sticking with the flat number in the April NYS budget while others are assuming cuts of 5-10% so they will not have mid-year cuts. For example, Monroe-Woodbury has a 6% cut.

New Rochelle’s budget document on Page VI the state aid is TBD but Page X says the foundation will be cut 7.25%. The expenses state aid is cut by $1mm but those expenses are not actually cut. The budget does not state they are cutting staff but they are cutting staff by not filling positions opened by retirement and resignations and terminations.