School Business Officials Provide Savings Estimates for Mandate Relief Proposals

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ALBANY, NY (01/03/2013)(readMedia)-- The New York State Association of School Business Officials (NYSASBO) recently gathered information from school business officials across the state in an attempt to project the estimated cost savings that would be achieved by the implementation of several mandates relief suggestions identified by NYSASBO and other organizations.

These mandate relief items are:

• Advertising Construction Projects in Newspapers;

• Annual Professional Performance Reviews (APPR);

• BOCES Space Requirement (Special Education);

• Corporal Punishment Complaint Reporting;

• Home Tutoring of Suspended Students;

• Internal Audit Requirement;

• Leave for Prostate and Breast Cancer Screening;

• Mailing the School Budget Notice;

• Private School Health Services;

• Private School Textbooks and Library Materials;

• Triborough Amendment;

• Violent and Disruptive Incident Reports;

• Wicks Law.

Our initial analysis shows that these mandates drive about 3.29% of school districts' budgeted spending, or $1,583,989 per School District on average. Statewide, this equates to approximately $1.05 billion per year.

"NYSASBO realizes that achieving major cost savings is problematic, but we have put a price tag on some of the smaller and more achievable mandate relief suggestions that could be adopted this year and still provide savings to schools in next year's budgets," stated Michael J. Borges, NYSASBO Executive Director.

As Table 1 shows, the major savings comes from the elimination of three high profile mandates – APPR, Triborough, and Wicks. We estimate the elimination of these mandates along account for 86.4% ($908 million) of the total $1.05 billion savings.

TABLE 1.Major Mandates

(see attached chart)

The estimated savings for the remaining minor mandates is shown in Table 2. While only 14.4% ($151.4 million) of the total, relief from these mandates would still provide much needed savings to resource-strapped school districts and is achievable in the short-term.

TABLE 2. Minor Mandates

(see attached chart)

"There have been ongoing stories in the media of school districts of all types (urban, suburban, and rural) with varying degrees of community wealth facing their own fiscal cliffs. These new findings confirm the prediction of the NYSASBO report "School District Fiscal Report: A Tale of Two Insolvencies," released in September 2012, that almost a third of school districts will face either fiscal or educational insolvency or both by the 2015-2016 school year. State policymakers need to act this year to provide some mandate relief, however small, to cash-strapped school districts throughout the state", concluded Mr. Borges.