December 27, 2017

FM Organizations Are Smaller, But Are They Understaffed?

It’s a Goldilocks question: Are most facilities organizations understaffed, overstaffed, or just right? Many facility managers and industry experts say they’ve observed a drop in staffing levels within facility departments over the past decade or two. But it’s another matter entirely to say that smaller staffs automatically mean facilities departments are understaffed. (See chart below for the most recent data on staffing and budget levels.) 

That dilemma — that a smaller staff isn’t necessarily too small — is one that many facility managers must confront. The fact of the matter is that, even with generally leaner staffing levels, facility managers may find it’s a tall order to justify requests for additional employees.

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Hannibal Voters Approve Capital Project

Renovations and improvements are in store for the Hannibal Central School District after voters approved a $42 million capital project Nov. 29.

In a 157-50 vote, residents elected to move forward with the project, which encompass upgrades to portions of all district buildings. The renovations will come at no cost to district taxpayers, as the project is fully funded through a combination of state aid and the district’s existing capital reserve fund.

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University Applies to Take Over Troubled Buffalo School

A familiar, trusted Buffalo institution has submitted a proposal to help turn around one of the city's struggling public schools.

The University at Buffalo's Graduate School of Education was one of only two applicants interested in taking over at BUILD Academy to improve the academic performance at the Pre-K to 8 school located on Fougeron Street on the city's East Side.

The other was REACH Educational Solutions, a New York City-based educational consulting company.

The state Education Department ordered the takeover of BUILD after years of poor academic performance, prompting the school district to seek potential candidates willing to serve as the school's "independent receiver." Applications were due Dec. 19.

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Potsdam Considers Adding Armed Resources Officer

Potsdam Central School is considering adding an armed school resource officer in the 2018-19 school year to provide a number of educational and security services to the district.

According to a memorandum sent by Potsdam Central School Superintendent Joann M. Chambers to the Board of Education, the board first asked Chambers to look into the possibility of an officer in September. Chambers said it was an idea brought by a new board member, who she declined to name, and not in response to any particular incident. Since then, she has researched the logistics of the proposal, including visiting Malone Central School District, the only other local district that has an SRO.

The officer would give the district a person dedicated to student safety who could check security features like cameras and locks, as well as providing educational programming, including information about drug abuse, suicide prevention or law enforcement careers, enforcing mandatory attendance laws, and providing information for staff and parents. They would also enforce laws and act as a first responder to an emergency, if necessary. The officer would not, however, be involved in student discipline for any non-criminal offenses.

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South Lewis Officials Mull Options After Project’s Defeat

In the wake of this month’s no vote on a proposed $44.26 million capital project, South Lewis Central School District officials plan to take some time to formulate a plan moving forward. But not too much time.

“What we can’t do for the next five years is nothing,” District Superintendent Douglas E. Premo said.
District residents on Dec. 12 voted down a proposed capital project that would have shifted the district to a single-campus model by a 545-463 vote. Fifty-four percent of voters were opposed to the project, which would have featured an elementary addition in Turin and ultimately resulted in the closure of the district’s two remaining elementary school buildings in Glenfield and Port Leyden.

While many people indicated they would prefer to maintain the two community schools, exit polls showed that a larger percentage voted no over concern about the project leading to increased school taxes, Premo said.

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Elia: Tough School Budget Years Ahead

Multiple years of tight school budgets are ahead for New York, as federal tax and health care changes take hold, according to state Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia.

“I think we are only going to have more constraints in New York state as the new federal (tax) law plays out,” Elia said during a meeting with the editorial board of the Schenectady-based Daily Gazette last week, just as lawmakers in Washington finalized a massive tax overhaul that New York officials have warned will devastate the state budget.

School district leaders are already preparing for what is shaping up to be a difficult budget this winter and spring, but Elia suggested next year may not be any easier, as the impacts of the tax bill and potential changes to Medicaid are realized in the state’s finances.

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Upcoming Events

NYSSFA Advocacy Day
March 6, 2018 | Albany

SFMI Critical Issues Summit 
March 7, 2018 | Albany

NJSBGA/NSPMA Dual Conference
March 12-14, 2018 | Atlantic City, NJ

Leadership Weekend
May 3-5, 2018 | Watkins Glen  

NYSASBO Conference
June 3-6, 2018 | Saratoga Springs

School Facilities Managers Conference and Expo
September 30-October 3, 2018 | Saratoga Springs

NYSSBA Conference
October 25-27, 2018 | New York City

NYS School Facilities Association
136 Everett Road | Albany, NY 12205
518.465.0563 l F 518.465.0579
www.nyssfa.com l info@nyssfa.com

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Upcoming Events

September 30-October 3: NYS School Facilities Managers' Annual Conference & Expo, Saratoga Springs, NY

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