May 13, 2009: Don't be fooled by Roxbury budget

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To The Editor:
While you would be a fool to not vote yes for the Roxbury Central School Budget, I don’t feel you should be made a fool of and want to share the following information.
Surplus: RCS Board took $200,000 out of a “surplus” fund which would have represented an additional 1.7 percent increase to the taxpayer if they had not. In addition our budget does not reflect the approximate $320,0000 stimulus package which could be given to RCS on or about September 2009. A school is allowed to keep four percent of their budget in a surplus fund. Our budget is approximately $9 million which would allow $360,000 and we have approximately $200,000 more/less remaining in surplus after the $200,000 was taken out.
Health Insurance: Why is RCS the highest paying school in Delaware County when it comes to paying health insurance premiums? Because the employees pay the lowest out of pocket co-pay for medical ($7) and RX’s ($5). Roxbury taxpayers pay for each employee $15,384 for health insurance family plans; $6,204 for an individual and $6,922.80 Buy Out (which means an employee who does not take the package) each which is not a discrimination issue but a contract agreement. The taxpayer also pays insurance not only for the employee but their entire family. Those in the teacher union pay around four percent, unlike many other NYS schools that pay 25 percent. It is also the situation that the taxpayer is paying some RCS employees less in salary than the cost of their health insurance and some equivalent to what we pay for their health insurance.
Salaries: Are you aware that some secretaries, bus drivers and custodians earn more than RCS teachers? Our educators should be insulted!
Revenue: Are you aware that RCS bus garage makes repairs for other school districts? What if there was a casualty after a repair was made and the courts found it to be the fault of RCS’s mechanic? Or what if the mechanic became injured during that repair whose loss would it be? Of course, RCS. It has been said that there is no extra cost in the insurance premium to cover liability for these repairs. Well, my question is then how well are we covered to cover an unfortunate accident? And, how much revenue does RCS take in yearly for this service is a question that cannot be answered.
Purchases: The budget also includes a new bus and new van!
In conclusion, there have been no sacrifices to this budget. The student still comes up the loser of another budget and the employees get richer. I can’t believe under the economic crisis our country is experiencing that RCS is still handing out raises and giving health insurance to its fullest. I can’t believe that we sacrifice tools for the students and give raises to every employee when other schools across NYS have given up a raise for this coming year being thankful they have a job, or have added to their “already” out of pocket health insurance cost! Unlike most NYS schools, RCS has not helped to relieve the taxpayer this burden by having either a.m. and p.m. shifts in the areas of aides, cafeteria workers, custodians and bus drivers. Others have decreased their support staff hours to 19 per week.
Unfortunately, if you were to vote no it would mean a minus 1.7 percent and a contingency budget which only takes from our children once again. To vote yes it would only be an increase of 0.48 percent ($3.26 on a home assessed at $100,000). But, don’t be fooled that pencils were sharpened, cuts made or sacrifices because only money or staff positions were moved around, so vote yes.

Barbara Evangelista,
Denver