Message from the Superintendent
Q and A
Our community's often reaches out to us with a question. Many times it is a phone
call, or a letter addressed to me. Sometimes they are placed in the newspapers or social
media. As we are accountable to the community, I would like to take this opportunity to
provide the most accurate data and information to our tax payers.
“Since New York State is among the highest in the nation for per student costs for education,
shouldn't unused snow days be issued for classroom instruction rather than extra vacation
? The state of New York only pays for 176 days of instruction for our students and 4
superintendent days for either professional development of teachers or parent teacher
? In the past, the district used to only schedule 182 days of school (176 instruction, 4 days
superintendent days, and 2 days for snow days). When snow days occurred, we would
have 2 extra days above the 176 instructional days to use.
Contractually, teachers can only work 184 days. ? Over the last two years, we have scheduled 185 and 186 days to give us more instructional days to spend time with students….counting on at least 1 or 2 snow days to bring us at or below the 184 contractually allowable work days. This year, with it being a leap year, we schedule 186 days and had zero (0) snow days. For that reason, we gave March 18th and May 31st as days off.
We choose days that benefit our community to gather as families and dates we can keep the heat down for longer periods of time.
May 27th, 2016
STAR Transition – What we know so far… STAR Info & Registration (518)591-5232
As part of the 2016-17 New York State Budget, the STAR school property tax exemption is being transitioned to a new personal income tax (PIT) credit program. The legislation also allows those property owners eligible for the PIT credit to receive an accelerated payment directly from New York State. The legislation itself and the information the assessment community is receiving from Albany on how the program is to be administered is a bit confusing. This information is subject to change as more information becomes available, this is what we understand so far…
If you had a STAR exemption on your property for the 2015?2016 school taxes, you may stay in the STAR program, Basic or Enhanced, as long as you continue to meet the eligibility requirements, and stay in your current home.
- Basic STAR exemptions do not require an annual application. After the initial application, there is no need to reapply unless something changes that may affect your eligibility.
- Enhanced STAR exemptions, as always, require either an annual application with the local assessor or enrollment in the Income Verification Program (IVP).
- If you are in the STAR exemption program, you may either keep your STAR school property tax exemption OR opt for the Personal Income Tax Credit/Check program for future years. You can’t have both.
- Once you opt out of the STAR exemption program, you cannot get back in.
If you purchased your home or moved from one residence to another after March 2, 2015, you are not eligible for the STAR school property tax exemption, but you may register with New York State for the Personal Income Tax Credit/Check program.
- If you applied with the local assessor for a STAR exemption, you will receive a letter with instructions for registering for the PIT credit/check program.
- Those who register prior to July 1st, and who meet the eligibility requirements (same as the requirements for the STAR exemption), the State intends to have checks mailed by mid September.
- Those who register after July 1st will still get a check, but not by mid September. ? Checks will be in the amount of the STAR savings you would have received on your school tax bill had you been eligible for the STAR exemption program.
- Once you are registered with New York State for the PIT credit/check program, you will not need to register again, unless your eligibility changes. The state will send your check automatically each year.
- The registration process will be through an on?line application OR by telephone. Details will be made available as soon as the procedures are finalized by New York State.
- If you have a mortgage on your new home, and your taxes are paid through escrow, you may want to contact your escrow company to see how your mortgage payments are calculated (STAR exemption considered or not).
Going forward no new STAR exemptions will be granted. If you buy a new home, you will have to register with New York State for the Personal Income Tax Credit/Check program.
Other property tax exemptions that you may be eligible for such as Veterans, Low Income Senior, Agriculture, etc. will still be administered by the local assessor. This legislation does NOT affect any other property tax exemptions.
April 28th, 2016
Are we Future Ready?
It’s been a banner week for local control in public education. First, both houses of Congress
passed the Every Student Success Act (the successor to the long expired but still enforced No
Child Left Behind Act.) Passed by the Senate, the approach restricts much of the authority of the
U.S. Secretary of Education, empowers the states to adjust student testing and focuses on school
districts in distress. Just as importantly, the new law does not drive the use of standardized
testing, nor does it allow federal funds to “follow the student”, reducing funding to public
schools in favor of private and parochial schools. Following years of advocacy, the new law
appears to do a great deal to reduce compliance demands on local school districts.
In regards to Curriculum, local school districts will once again design and select their own
curriculum. The state will continue to have models and templates that districts may use to
inform their local educational programs and practices. There will be no New York State
Curriculum. There will however (if the task force recommendations are carried out) be
professional development provided to support the new approach and particular attention
will be paid to preventing jettisoning valuable information and professional development
provided to date in implementing the Common Core Learning Standards. Both in the
standards and in new curricula, the focus on revisions will be on the early elementary
Is Cuba-Rushford future ready? As we regain more local control, are we willing to look at our curriculum and implement meaningful changes towards digital learning and STEaM infused curriculum and environments? The answer is "Yes, we must evolve in conjunction with the advancements that eventually become requirements for discovery and future employment." We are working hard to create thought provoking learning environments and curriculum that allow students to be in the driver's seat of their own learning.
We want every graduate to leave with a passion for learning and discovery awoken.
November 11th, 2015
What is a permissive Referendum?
It is a legal mechanism available for a community to contest and stop the sale or lease of District property; an avenue for registered voters to directly challenge and overturn the decision of a school board.
October 1st, 2015
District Reduces the Tax Levy by 2.5%
This is just a clarification to the recent news article in the Olean Times Herald. The district received higher state aid amounts that what the information from the state reflected in April during the budget development period. In addition, we were able to secure more reimbursement for professional development costs and the cost of substitutes resulting in an additional $160,000 surplus. The Board of Education decided to return these other sources of revenue back to the taxpayers changing the initial 0% tax levy increase to a decrease of 2.5%.
September 17th, 2015
Interview with Darlene on the Audits
I had the opportunity to meet with Darlene Donahue from the Olean Times Herald to talk about the recent External and State Audit Results. These can be found on the side navigation bar. We highlighted the difficult times the district went through during the 2009 - 11 school years and the monies the state still owes the district to date ($4 million) as a result of the Gap Elimination Adjustment. The board's goals are to maintain high quality programs and create stability from year to year. The state's inability to be consistent with their aid has been taken into consideration in the five year plan and reserve plan. The district has been following the advice given by the external auditors and has been able to reduce its dependance on assigned funds for the last four years which will decrease the amount of the unassigned funds the state is critical of. The Board of Education and the Administration utilize the audits to make year to year decisions. In the case of the reserve funds, this is a local decision that best protects our local interests and taxpayers from year to year fluctuations.
September 10th, 2015
We are fortunate to be surrounded by a Board of Education that truly cares and takes pride in educating the whole child. They have fostered an environment where teachers, administrators, counselors, and staff care deeply about student education and their emotional well-being. To our students......we welcome you back! I shared with the Board of Education that same night that we had a great start on that Tuesday after Labor Day!
September 8th, 2015
Professional Development News
The Cuba-Rushford Elementary Staff had a remarkable professional development opportunity with Barb Heinzman from Thoughtful Education. The focus was on how to improve writing at all grade levels. Grades K – 2 met from 8:15 – 11:00 and 3 – 5 from 12:00 – 2:45. The response was overwhelming positive on the quality of the training. Barb will be back in October to work with the entire CRE staff on another important skill, Vocabulary. She will be working with the Middle School Staff as well focusing on writing. the 2014 - 17 Professional Plan focuses on curriculum, instruction and blended learning.
September 3rd, 2015