The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

February 28, 2013

MCSD's tax cap math is clearer

By Jim Krencik
Medina Journal-Register

Medina Journal-Register — MEDINA — The Medina Central School District projects to have a smaller budget increase in 2013-14 despite facing more underfunded but mandated initiatives.

School Business Administrator Sharon Zacher ran through a rough estimate of the district’s tax cap calculation and touched on major budgetary factors at Tuesday’s board of education meeting. The early results were promising.

Zacher said Medina will not ask residents to override the state’s tax cap legislation this year. Medina could raise the tax levy by 6.4 percent with a simple majority vote.

The school won’t dare go near that figure, Zacher said, and they won’t have to.

She projects that Medina’s existing $33 million budget will increase by around one percent next year. In recent years, the increase has been between three and five percent.

Zacher said the budget needs few tweaks in spending areas set locally, but there are concerns about both financial aid from New York State and cuts to special education and elementary educational assistance that would occur in the event of automatic federal spending cuts.

Medina could lose more than $50,000 in Title I, Title II and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act funding if a sequester is not avoided. Local programs covered by those funds would go into the district’s general fund budget or be curtailed.

“We’re anxious to see what pans out (in Albany and Washington),” Zacher said Wednesday. “We continue to struggle because mandates grow without the aide we need to support that.”

• Evoy proposes adding ‘CIA Director’

Common Core standards. Annual Professional Performance Reviews. PARCC Assessments. Medina and other local districts are adapting to a rash of new initiatives aimed at raising academic standards and integrating new technologies into education.

Superintendent Jeff Evoy cites a new term for what’s happening to schools — initiative fatigue. 

It’s an issue that Evoy said could be addressed by bringing back a Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment to Medina. The position would take over responsibilities that have been shared by administrators and teachers and oversee initiatives that touch on instruction at all buildings.

“It all seems to be coming out in very close proximity,” Evoy said. “We need a person to make sure we’re moving in the right direction ... with a viable curriculum ... so students learn at a higher level.”

Evoy told boardmembers Tuesday that he will formally propose adding the position into the 2013-14 budget.