Forward Together KLSD 0

Forward Together KLSD

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We are taxpayers and residents of the Katonah-Lewisboro School District who are appealing directly to Superintendent Kreutzer,the K-L Association of Administrators and Supervisors (KLAAS),the K-L District Teacher’s Association (KLDTA), the K-L Support Staff Association (KLSSA) and the K-L Board of Education ("stakeholders") to find immediate solutions to the budget crisis facing our district.

We understand that expenses are outpacing revenues in the KLSD budget by a margin of nearly two to one, pension costs increased by 23.2% this year and existing labor contract obligations far exceed revenues. (See "links" for KLSD budget)

Given these difficult financial realities, we are expecting that all stakeholders work together as partnersto demonstrate a shared commitment to providing an effective, meaningful and competitive education for our students and aprofessional,
rewarding and respectful environment for employees within afiscally responsible budget.

We request that stakeholders:

1. Take immediate action to work as partners in creating a sustainable solution to KLSD’s impending budget crisis. Specifically, we remind stakeholders that:
The financial health of our district will be improved by finalizing fiscally responsible and sustainable contracts with all three labor units (KLAAS, KLDTA, KLSSA) by 6/30/13, the end date of the current contracts. (See "links" for announcement of collaboration between teachers and the BOE to save $1.5MM in Chappaqua.)The clock is ticking - proactive, responsible budget reforms are needed now in order to avoid extreme budget cuts that will damage the quality of both the educational program and the work environment for our valued KLSD employees.If a labor unit invokes Triborough Amendment to the Taylor Law (See "links"), KLSD's current financial situation would be negatively impacted.
2. Negotiate sustainable labor contracts that are fiscally responsible and reflect current economic and statutory realities. Specifically, we remind stakeholders of the June 2011 findings of the KLSD Finance Committee (See "links"):
KLSD’s 2009/2010 per pupil expenditure of $27,197 was higher than all comparison districts (Chappaqua, Byram Hills, Scarsdale, Harrison and Bedford) and is 5.9% above the average of the comparison districts.
The biggest contributor to KLSD’s above average spending is Instruction and Benefits – the second highest overall and 7.8% above the comparison average
Were KLSD’s per pupil Instruction and Benefits equal to the average, expenditure savings would total $5.8 million.
3. Join a health care benefits purchasing consortium allowing KLSD to purchase high-quality health care benefits for all employees/retirees and their families at lower cost and lower financial risk to the district. Specifically, we remind stakeholders that:
KLSD’s 2009/2010 Hospital, Medical and Dental expense was $3,580 per pupil, the highest in the comparison group and $892 or 33% above the comparison average. (Finance Committee, June 2011)
Other local districts purchase health care benefits through purchasing consortiums such as the PNW BOCES Health Benefits Consortium, the NYSHIP Empire Plan and SWSCHP.
Last year, KLSD saved $300,000 simply by contracting with a new pharmacy vendor while maintaining benefit levels.
4. Build flexibility into the school calendar to facilitate scheduling for years with holiday challenges and weather-related events. Specifically, we remind stakeholders that:
Other local districts announced calendar adjustments almost immediately after Hurricane Sandy, which allowed families to adjust vacation plans accordingly.It is troublesome that KLSD chose to lose at least two days of state funding (net $34K) this year for being in session less than 180 days.Other local districts have fewer professional days, can schedule staff-only days before Labor Day and can use spring vacation days as weather reserve days.
5. Transform the tone of the dialogue about each other from adversarial to collaborative. Specifically, over the course of at least four years, the negative tone and pattern of public antagonism by stakeholders has served to:
Degrade the reputation of KLSD for its professionals, prospective employees, prospective homeowners and the larger community.
Distract stakeholders from addressing the serious fiscal realities facing KLSD.
Divide as opposed to unite all stakeholders around a common vision to preserve KLSD’s excellence in education and make KLSD a great place to work.

As taxpayers and residents of the K-L School district, we, along with current and future KLSD students, are counting on all stakeholders to work collaborativelytowards budget and contract solutions that will maintain the excellent educational experience for our students while demonstrating responsible stewardship of the public tax dollar.

We welcome open and straightforward communication about the issues raised above and look forward to hearing from all stakeholders about progress towards common goals.


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