Sunday, March 4, 2018

Budget Update...

For the first time in most people's memory, the school district has presented their proposed budget in the month of March. Traditionally, the budget is presented for the first time in early April only weeks before the Board of Education needs officially adopt the budget, which leaves little time to make adjustments, if necessary. By presenting in March, we have much more time to refine the proposed budget and make sure we are making the best decisions possible. The early completion also means that any increase in revenue could mean improvement as well. The proposed 2018-2019 budget is $118,373,465. This number reflects a total increase of expenditures of 2.64%. In order to balance the budget, we are also proposing a 3.96% increase on school taxes. With this increase, some of major concerns left exposed are a $1.6 million gap which will be covered by our fund balance, the loss of roughly 25 positions (including 7 current working teachers), a restructuring of our pre-k program, and a reduction in the funding that the District provides to some of our service providers. Due to the fact that the District has not raised taxes in three years, this budget cycle we started with an estimated $11 million in funding deficit. All of the non-controllable costs (health insurance, retirement system contributions, and salaries are the big ones) grew significantly. For those that don't understand the process, there are rate increases set by other agencies that we don't control that grew significantly more than the past or predicted. Thanks to the leaders in our business department, we were able to trim the $11 million gap to $9 million by tightening up the current year budget to reduce expenditures in the 2017-2018 school year, thus freeing up some reserves. From there, we have trimmed away at various things throughout the budget to bring the deficit number down to $1.6 million, of which we are proposing to cover with reserves, as opposed to cutting more. A pdf copy of the slide presentation is available on the website and I will be doing a VLOG in the near future for all to have a better understanding of school budgets and our budget. The Board of Education will be hearing another budget presentation/update at the regularly scheduled meeting on April 5.  

Kindergarten Registration

Dates: Monday, March 5th through Friday, March 9th
Times: 9:10 AM to 12:00 PM and 1:00 PM to 3:10 PM

All Kindergarten registrations will take place at your child’s home school, except for evening registration on 3/7/18 (see below). Home school is determined by your address. For questions about which school your child will attend, please call the Central Registrar’s Office at 315-338-6569 or check this link:

TIME: 3:00 PM - 6:00 PM
LOCATION: District Office, 409 Bell Road, Rome, NY

The following must be provided at the time of registration:
-Original Birth Certificate (Your child must be 5 on or before
December 1, 2018 to register for Kindergarten)
-Record of current immunizations
-Proof of residency (rent receipt or lease, recent National Grid or phone bill, etc.) *
Any child who will be 6 on or before December 1, 2018 must be registered for school.

Connections Art Exhibit

The Rome City School Districts 2018 Traveling Art Show will open on Thursday March 8, 2018 at the Fort Stanwix Willett Center ​​ 3:30pm. This year’s exhibit showcases work from grades K-12 and offers an array of “connections” that students have with different topics including nature, the future, art and the environment.

'Mindmajik Hypnotist'

The 'Mindmajik' hypnotist/mentalist show is open to the public and all are welcome to help support the students of RFA. Pre-sale tickets are available by contacting Gina Colangelo or Lynne Duffy at RFA or through the junior class officers. The show will be entertaining and involve approximately 20 volunteers from the audience. Among the volunteers, the following adults and students have already been pre-selected to be on stage: Mr. LeBaron, Mrs.  Stevenson, Coach Brown, Noah Nardozza, Kyle Clark, and Tejas Desai. The 'Mindmajik' show will be held on Friday, March 9 in the RFA auditorium beginning at 7:00 p.m. Student and pre-sale tickets are $7, tickets at the door are $10.

Host Families Needed

The Rotary Club is in need of a host family for a current RFA foreign exchange student from Hungary. The family is needed for roughly 6 weeks, from the middle of May through the end of June. The opportunity to work with a student from a foreign country and experience another culture as you help them experience yours is extraordinary. If you think you can help this student out or if you have questions, please contact Sam Pendergast at 315-617-3567 or by email at