Rochester Business Journal releases annual school district report card

Updated: 07/10/2014 11:11 PM
Created: 07/10/2014 10:54 PM WHEC.com
By: Lynette Adams

Are you getting what you pay for in your school district? Each year, our news partners at the Rochester Business Journal take a look at all the local school districts. They look at everything from teacher salaries to how much is spent on each student.

The new report comes out Friday, but News10NBC found out that East Irondequoit is one of our local school districts that asks the most of its residents when it comes to school taxes. Of the 27 districts in Monroe and Ontario Counties, East Irondequoit is where residents are on the hook for the most school taxes. We also found out the superintendent there makes more than any other superintendent in our area.

Brian Stiehler said, “I work actually in the town of Pittsford and that town pays less for their school administrators, yet, they seem to have higher performance.”

News10NBC showed Brian Stiehler the breakdown of what homeowners pay in 27 school districts in Monroe and Ontario Counties. The East Irondequoit resident was outraged at what it costs taxpayers in his hometown.

Stiehler said, “There is really a lot of poor people in East Irondequoit and it seems these homeowners are really just funding the salaries for top administration.”

Our news partners at the Rochester Business Journal compiled its list based on an analysis of the annual report by the New York State Department of Education. It compares the tax rate on a $200,000 house in each district and shows homeowners in East Irondequoit pay $5,628 a year in school taxes. The list shows it is the highest, followed by Manchester-Shortsville ($5,482) and West Irondequoit ($5,314).

East Irondequoit’s Deputy Superintendent John Abbott says the list is misleading.

John Abbott, East Irondequoit Deputy Superintendent, said, “The tax rate does not tell the whole story. It is a single number. Whenever you try to boil a complex subject down into a single number for the purpose of a comparison, you only get part of the story and that's what we're seeing here. It is unfair to say people in East Irondequoit are paying the most. I think a better comparison is what does the average taxpayer in East Irondequoit pay in comparison to the average taxpayer paying in other districts.”

Homeowners say taxes are high. People like Linda Reis, who has lived in East Irondequoit since 1955, wonder if, at some point, she won't be able to live here.

Linda Reis said, “I'm going to be 72 and like I say fixed income, taxes keep going up and it takes more from me.”

East Irondequoit’s Superintendent Susan Allen has the highest compensation package of any superintendent in the 27 districts, including Rochester. Abbott explained that is a reflection of her performance and the district’s satisfaction with the educational improvements in the district.

You can read the full report in the Rochester Business Journal on newsstands Friday morning. 

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