February break isn’t likely to happen, Rye City School officials announced Tuesday.
By Sarah Varney
February break isn’t likely to happen, Rye City School officials announced Tuesday. “Don’t pack your skis yet,” said Superintendent Dr. Frank Alvarez. According to Alvarez, any petition to decrease the number of school days required for 2012-2013 will probably require school districts affected by Hurricane Sandy to use up their vacation days first.
In an email to parents, Dr. Alvarez said legislation has been introduced in Albany to allow a waiver of the 180-day school year requirement in light of the prolonged State of Emergency, but when the change will occur is unknown.
At Tuesday’s Board of Ed meeting, Dr. Alvarez thanked a long list of those who helped the District and schools get through the post-Sandy aftermath, including President Laura Slack, Vice President Katy Glassberg, Sam Carter, Ricky Adams, all of the District’s custodial staff, and newly-elected Assemblyman Steve Otis.
For non-skiing number crunchers, there was good news in the presentation of the External Audit for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2012. Chris Cobb of the accounting firm O’Connor Davies pronounced a verdict of “Unqualified Opinion” and congratulated the District on its “conservative approach to the fund balance.” From there, it was downhill.
Assistant Superintendent for Business Kathleen Ryan presented a report titled Fiscal Constraints and Challenges to Development of the 2013-2014 Budget — forecasting much higher mandated increases for contributions to the Employee Retirement System for non-teaching staff and to the Teacher Retirement System (TRS). Between the school years 2010-2011 and 2011-2012, the District’s contribution to TRS rose from $2 million to $3.6 million.
Board member Ed Fox took the dismal forecasts as an opportunity to hammer home the direness of the situation. “We have no controls over these costs,’’ said Fox. The rising pension costs “are what is driving us to have this gap between our expenditures and our revenues.”