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Entries in Budgets (4)

Wednesday
Sep052012

Most Kids Not Learning About Financial Responsibility in School

Wavebreak Media/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- America's children may be back at school, but how much are they learning about money?  Apparently, not much.

According to a new poll of parents by RetailMeNot.com, 70 percent say their children are not being taught about financial responsibility when they're in class.

Trae Bodge, a senior writer at RetailMeNot, says that's a mistake.

"We're sending our kids out there with no financial training of their own," she says.  

That may be one reason why many college students make poor choices about debt and credit cards.

"I think it's really crucial when kids go out into the world on their own that they have a very solid foundation of financial responsibility," Bodge says.

Parents can help remedy this by teaching their kids about budgets at an early age. Bodge encourages parents to get kids "set up with a couple of chores and an allowance and help them save their own money and understand the value of money."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jul112012

City Budget Problems: San Bernardino, California Files for Bankruptcy

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Cities across the country are increasingly facing severe budget problems, and that's leading many of them to cut corners or consider bankruptcy.

On Tuesday, San Bernardino became the third city in California to file for bankruptcy protection in less than a month.  Stockton filed last month and the ski resort town of Mammoth Lakes voted to file last week.

The alternative to bankruptcy can be drastic spending cuts. That's happening in some other cities, like Scranton, Pa.  Municipal unions there are filing a lawsuit after the mayor decided to cut the pay of city employees to minimum wage -- $7.25 an hour.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jun112012

Mich. School District Plans to Cut 200-Year Old Trees to Fill Budget Gap

Comstock/Thinkstock(DEWITT, Mich.) -- The superintendent of a cash-strapped Michigan school district is defending a proposal to cut down giant trees on its grounds to help fill an $800,000 budget deficit, a move that is rankling some residents.

Some community members have called for the protection of the trees, some of which may be 200 years old, saying the trees in the DeWitt Nature Center should not be cut down for money.

But Dewitt, Mich., Superintendent John Deiter said the proposal, which would net a profit of $43,000, is not just about money, saying some of the trees that may be cut are dead or dying, though the money would assist the drowning school district.

"Nobody called me last year when we were cutting positions," Deiter said of the public's attention to the trees.

He said the school district is hoping not to cut any more jobs after continuous budget cuts from the state. The school district, which is located nine miles north of Lansing in the Upper Peninsula, laid off 12 teachers last year.

Deiter said the forest's trail, which may be about three-quarters of a mile long, and the forest itself will remain.

Only some trees have been marked to be cut, which are mostly red oak but also include white oak, hickory, cherry, and maple trees also. Deiter said several ash trees that are infected with the emerald ash borer, an invasive beetle, are marked to be cut as well.

But even if those trees are cut down, the forest will be accessible to the community and the classes who learn in the forest.

The school board's budget hearing on Monday night will discuss the proposal with the public. Michigan school districts are required by state law to finalize their budgets by the end of June. Even with money from the timber, the school district would still have a $770,000 deficit next year.

Phil Harner, who retired as a teacher in the school district two years ago, is one of about 40 community members who are concerned that cutting down the 55 trees would lead to significant damage to the forest, including the rare wildflowers.

After learning Monday afternoon that the 3,000-student school district already signed a contract with a forester to cut down trees, Harner hopes to come to a compromise, cutting fewer trees than proposed or helping the school district find money elsewhere.

Deiter said the idea for the proposal, which was approved by the school board in April, came from community members who suggested selling timber on the school grounds. The school district then reached out to Michigan State University which in turn recommended a forester to assess the state of the forest.

"We said all along our goal was to improve overall health of forest area while addressing the bugget deficit with some of the sales of the timber," Deiter said. "We didn't want to do anything to compromise that and we were hoping for a win-win."

In February, the forrester recommended that some of the trees should be cut down to allow younger trees to grow, according to Deiter.  

He said the money from the timber would go to the school district's general fund, 80 percent of which goes to teachers and other workers.

"It would go to protect peoples' jobs and or wages," he said, saying "we're in a people business."

Deiter said student enrollment has been increasing as the school district has had to lay off workers over the last five years.

"We had major cuts last year and only partial restoration of our cuts this year," he said. "If our K through 12 school aid fund could be used as it was designed we would be all set."

Last week, Michigan's senate passed the last piece of the state budget, allocating $12.9 billion for K through 12 education and $1.4 billion for high education spending, three percent more than last year.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Nov182011

Occupy Protests Take Toll on City Budgets

Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- It's unclear what the Occupy protests have accomplished, but police have received a bonanza of overtime, making up a large part of at least $10.3 million in costs incurred by nine cities since the protesters began gathering near Wall Street two months ago.

Occupy Wall Street catalyzed dozens, if not hundreds, of protests across the world. New York City alone has spent about $6 million on costs related to Occupy Wall Street, not including the eviction on Tuesday, according to Howard Wolfson, the mayor's deputy for government relations.

Philadelphia racked up $492,000 in unanticipated police overtime through last week, according to Rebecca Rhynhart, the city's budget director. Rhynhart said they're estimating that costs could reach $2.5 million if the protest lasts through the fiscal year, or June 30.

Oakland spent over $1 million to pay police overtime, according to the Washington Post.

Portland estimated $750,000 so far for police overtime, while damage related to its parks has cost $50,000 to $100,000, according to Amy Ruiz, communications director for Mayor Sam Adams.

In Seattle, protests will cost $625,999 from the week that ended in Oct. 14 to the end of Nov. 25. The largest portion goes to overtime for Seattle police: $580,468. The extra costs to Seattle's parks comprise $21,471 of the total.  The department of finance and administrative services, which just gave protesters permission for a permit to use part of city hall's plaza on Tuesday, made up the rest at $24,060.

The Boston police department estimated overtime costs related to the Occupy Boston movement to be about $575,000 so far, according to Elaine Driscoll, director of communications of the department.

In Atlanta, protests cost $451,691 from Oct. 7 to 25, with almost three-quarters going to overtime to police, said Mayor Kasim Reed on Nov. 2.

Occupy Denver led to overtime for various city departments during five days of protest in October at about $365,000, according to the Denver Post. The protests are estimated to cost $200,000 a week for the rest of the year. This week, the police department asked for an increase of $6 million in its budget, "citing Occupy as a small but unspecified portion of the cost," the Post reports.

Cincinnati has spent about $128,000 in police overtime, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer last week.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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