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THE TORCH:  MAY 2004

THE BOTTOM LINE

     Hugh M. Spoljaric, President

              Kingston Teachers’ Federation

                       KEY STATE AID FACTORS”

     In an effort to understand the Campaign for Fiscal Equities claim against the state for equitable funding of schools throughout New York State, five (5) factors have been identified as indicators of the amount of aid that a district receives. Although state aid should be at least at the 50% level, it has rarely been the case, and for every percentage point below 50%, the local tax base has to pick up the difference. Here are the five areas with their breakdown into five proportioned divisions.

     To determine a school district’s amount of state aid, fill in the appropriate box with the data from the school district. Here are the schools in Ulster, Dutchess, and Orange counties and their specific totals for each category.

     Kingston has 45% eligible students for free and reduced price lunch and that places us in the 45%-59% on the “Poverty” scale. A “Property Wealth value of $243,165 places us in a middle ground box between $240,000 and $379,000. With an Income Wealth per pupil of $87,226, Kingston falls into the category of $50,000-$97,999. The Combined Wealth Ratio (CWR, Income and Property) of .754 also places us in an ‘advantage box’ between .600 and .849. And finally, the Sparsity index, or enrollment per square mile, of 84.6 places us in the middle bracket between 76 and 124. In the chart, the further to the right, the greater the state aid.

     Where do these numbers originate? They are submitted by districts and are also a part of the reports from counties. This data is available to be used to establish state aid and, thus, determine the Full Value Tax Rate per $1000 at the local level. The wealthiest district should receive less state aid and the more needy districts the greater state aid.

     Do these five factors fairly represent a district’s ability to provide a sound basic education? Take a look at the districts that surround us and see whether you agree or disagree with the rubric. The various commissions that were established to investigate funding in response to the CFE lawsuit have all stated that between $3 billion and $6 billion will be necessary to remedy the problem and they have extensive reports that encompass many, many variables in the educating of children. Can the answer be as simple as this chart?

     The state must answer to the CFE lawsuit in 75 days from this weekend.

     And, that’s the Bottom Line.

                                                                                       

                              ALL ABOARD!

     The cruise vessel Rip Van Winkle will depart Kingston for a three hour voyage (a la Gilligan!) on Thursday afternoon, May 27 from 4-7 pm.  Honorees on board include teachers who received tenure in June 2002 and 2003 and those recommended for tenure in 2004. Also invited are the most recent group of retirees from the teachers and ESP. The deadline for registering is Thursday, May 13. After that date, if room still exists, KTF members may purchase tickets on a first come-first served basis, beginning Monday morning May 17 for $20. For that fee, they will also receive a $10 raffle ticket for the Apple Gala.

     The catered event will feature music by The Big Smoothies.

 

                                      APPLE GALA 

     Tickets for the annual Apple Gala will go on sale beginning May 19. KHS School nurse Mary Netter will receive registrations on that date and they should be accompanied by a check for $25. Members are encouraged to pool their reservation requests and send them in bulk to Mary.

     Raffle tickets at $10 each to benefit the KTF Scholarship Fund are available through reps in the schools. The son or daughter of any KTF member (Teacher, ESP, Retiree, Sub) is eligible for a KTF Scholarship. Applications have been available in schools and are due this week. The National Health $1000 Scholarship is awarded to a student whose parents have Trust health insurance through NHAI and embodies “mind, body, and spirit.” Applications for the NHAI Scholarship will be available next week and are due to Lauri Naccarato (KHS) by Tuesday, June 1.

                                

                             RETIREES

     Wiltwyck Golf Club will host the final school year luncheon for of the Kingston Retired Teachers’ Federation on May 20. Upcoming after that affair will be a bus trip to NYC and, in August, the annual trip to the Saratoga Race Course.

     Retirees who are on Medicare are reminded that there is no need to respond to the new Medicare prescription law. Seniors should also be aware that Medicare contacts its beneficiaries only by mail. Be on guard against phone or personal solicitations.