Orzel's Education Reform Plan

By Haley Burton

September 26, 2012 Updated Sep 26, 2012 at 6:23 PM EDT

(WBNG Binghamton) The Democratic candidate for State Senate says he wants to reform New York's education system. He calls it a sinking ship.

John Orzel says education is one of his main platforms. He says he has a new plan for the State's education system and how its employees are paid. He says it will lower the burden of public school taxes on residents and businesses.

Orzel is a Democrat running for the State Senate's 52nd seat against Incumbent Thomas Libous, a Republican. He's a retired teacher from Whitney Point who has challenged Libous before.

Under Orzel's proposed plan, the salaries and benefits of public school professional staff, administrators and teachers would be paid directly by the State of New York. He says the money for that would be generated from payroll deductions, similar to how Social Security is taken out.

"What they would end up paying in terms of payroll reductions, being as those costs are going to be spread over a much greater tax base, it terms of people who are out there working," said Orzel, "What they will end up paying in those payroll reductions is much less than what they would be paying if we stayed with the current system of paying nothing but property taxes."

Those residents of New York who do not get a payroll check on a regular basis or who get their income from investments or other sources would remit payment based on annual income tax filings to the State.

Under Orzel's plan, negotiations for the contracts governing public school professional staff would be conducted directly with the State of New York.

He says the major bulk of many public school budgets are monies appropriated for the payment of salaries, health insurance benefits and pension costs of professional staff members.

"Those costs alone account for easily about 50 percent of the expenditures of a public school budget. To transfer those costs and only those costs to the state would result in drastic reductions in local public school budgets and in turn sizeable decreases in school property taxes," said Orzel.

Action News reached out to Senator Tom Libous's office who chose not to comment.