Thursday, January 29, 2009

How Can GCSD Justify Raising Class Sizes To Resolve Its Budget Crisis...

... when graduation rates have been plummeting?

... when test scores keep falling?

... when schools remain on the NY State "needs improvement list" for poor academic performance?

... when the district can show NO EDUCATIONAL BENEFIT to offering school choice, options or signature schools?

... when offering school choice/options is KNOWN to increase transportation costs?

... when we just signed a costly 4 year "Energy Contract" to comitt to becoming more energy efficifient?

... when we know from experience and research that larger classes result in poorer student performance?

PLEASE TELL US ...

How do you justify it???

Federal Stimulus Package Could Net County Schools $99 Million


Greece Would Get $6.7 Million Over 2 Years

STORY
DATA BREAKDOWN

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

ATTENTION!

NORTHGATE NEIGHBORS
MEETING CANCELLED

Email Raises Interesting Question ...

Hi,
I went to hear David Cay Johnston speak at the Greece Baptist Church on Sunday about his book "Free Lunch," and he got into the Eastview Mall renovation issue that's been in the paper lately.
The Victor School Board has to okay that deal of diverting tax money to the developers for the Eastview renovations. Apparently the school district doesn't want to see tax money that they would ordinarily get, go to rich developers.
My question is about Greece. Developers are renovating the Greece Mall and I assume are getting similar tax breaks. Do you know if the Greece School District had to give the okay to that, like the Victor School District?
Thanks

SCATS ~~ Why is it that GCSD takes no stance on all the local tax breaks the Town of Greece, COMIDA, et al gives to the developers and/or mall and plaza owners? Residents end up making up for the difference on their property tax bills, correct?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Odyssey, Pinebrook & W. Ridge To Be Kept At Max. Capacity

Waiting Lists Will Remain
Other Schools To Suffer Teacher Cuts,
Class Size Increases
1 Central Office Position To Be Eliminated
Nadolinski To Fill Human Resources Position
Fieldtrips, OT & Equipment Purchases Reduced
(Why don't they reduce their use of lawyers??)

"We're looking at everything and anything we can look at ... There's no easy transition to neighborhood schools."
~~ Supt. Achramovitch

SCATS: If he keeps saying that, will YOU believe him? By the way, Pinebrook's maximum capacity used to be much larger ;)

Other BOE Meeting Items:

"Tenure is an extraordinary privilege." ~~ Wayne Van der Byl, attorney

Teamsters contract ~~ approved 7 to 1 (Oberg opposed)

Energy Contract ~~ adopted 7 to 1 (Oberg opposed)

WHAM Story

RNews Story



Northgate Neighbors Meeting To Discuss Increased Local Crime

Wednesday January 28, 2009
7-9PM @ Our Lady of Mercy (Armstrong Rd. off Denise)

Lt. Wise from Greece Police will attend & take questions

Monday, January 26, 2009

What's On The Table For $9 Million In Budget Cuts?

NOT SCHOOL OPTIONS/CHOICE!
They are NOT mentioned in media reports, or by Supt.

The proposed plan ~~ to cut 5% of teaching & support staff positions. That translates into about 75 teaching positions (will not include special education). Elementary class sizes would increase by 5 students each, secondary classes by about 10 students each. GTA leader says the cuts can be made within contractual guidelines.

"If you're looking at quality instruction and restoring our reputation in the community, you don't cut education programs." ~~ Don Palozzi, GTA Pres.

"Nobody wants to cut teaching staff, support staff or administrative staff. You don't want to see these cuts at any level because they have an impact on our education mission. At this point we don't see any alternatives." ~~ Supt. Achramovitch

WHEC

WHAM

SCATS ~~ Of course the Supt. will leave what stays & what goes up to the BOE, so please don't blame him ;)

Update From Joe Moscato

Joe Moscato said...
Just a quick update on the Steve Walts agenda item. I don't know why Julia keeps putting this on the agenda as they are no closer to making a decision than they were last May.

I can tell you this, I will not be at the meeting tomorrow as there is no public forum. I can also tell you this. I did not meet with the board last month as planned. The reason, I learned that an investigative agency has launched an official investigation into Walts' and two others as a result of the forensic audit. It was advisable that I not talk to the board as I was told that I would be deposed by this agency relative to the information I gained after I left the board about Walts and company. Things have a mysterious way of leaking out of executive sessions.

Tonight's news about cutting teachers is more proof that some current members of this board who hired this stiff who calls himself a superintendent made a terrible mistake. It's time to get rid of this imposter and give him his pink slip. If this board had any backbone they would buy out the rest of his contract and begin a search for a real leader and decision maker.

Cutting teaching staff and continuing the outrageous expensive cost of busing for open enrollment, signature schools, schools of choice, secondary options, etc. is beyond belief. He is less than truthful when he says there are no other options. He simply hasn't the guts or is too lazy or both to make the tough unpopular choices, hurting our kids education instead. It's time to jetison this mistake by the lake and send him the way of the Titanic. 1/26/2009 6:52 PM

SCATS: Could I interest anyone in joining me in fundraising to buyout the Supt's contract? I've got some old math books for sale ;)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

PWCS Parents vs. Board of Education

The Fight Over Math Investigations Heats Up

I've received several email regarding the Jan. 21st meeting of the PWCS BOE (public session) which began at 7PM and ended at 1:20AM with lots of fireworks at the end. One BOE member even states that parents should have no say in how their children are educated. This BLOG summarizes the meeting nicely. The more "adventurous" among you might like to watch the video.

"Eenie, meenie, minie, moe ...

... How Many Teachers Do I Let Go ...?"

*Supt. Tells Principals How Many Teachers Their Building Must Cut For Next Year!

*Staff Will Select The Specific Teachers To Be Let Go!

SCATS: Steve A. Chooses To Enlarge Class Size Over Tackling School Structure/Bussing Issue! UNBELIEVABLE!! Has he read the Teachers' Contract yet??

(*From confidential sources)

Friday, January 23, 2009

BOE Calls Special Meeting, Tuesday @6:30PM

It is anticipated that the BOE will go into an Exec. Session at 5:30 pm to discuss the employment history of a particular person(s). (Joe M. will get his face time, finally?)

Agenda Items
Recommendation of new Math Program & Resources - Ms. Pallas
Presentation - Tenure Update - Wayne Vander Byl
Budget Preparation (W/A)
Legislative Updates - Ms. VanOrman

Policy
First Read Policy 6140 Health Exams (W/A) (Why does BoardDocs have a link to a "confidential" letter to the Supt. on this topic from the attorney at Harris Beach?)

Old Business
Former Supt's Health Care
(O/I) (Go, Joe, go!)

Financial Oversight
Energy Education Contract (W/A)
Contract Approval - Teamsters (W/A) (From BoardDocs ~~ Recommended Action: The Board of Education of the Greece Central School District to approve the tentatively agreed upon changes, amendments, modifications, and/or deletions to the contract between the district and the Teamsters which expired on June 30, 3008. With Julia pushing from the helm, they got way ahead of themselves!)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Sex Offenders Can Run For/Serve On BOE

Misdemeanor Convictions Do NOT Preclude Offenders From Holding Elected Offices

STORY

Mike Barry Resigns Greece Council Position

"The Greece Town Board will appoint a replacement for Councilman Barry at their February 24, 2009 meeting. Pursuant to section of 45-1 of Greece Town law, the Greece Republican Committee will interview interested candidates and recommend at least two candidates to the Town board. " ~~ Press Release

SCATS ~~ How nice that he resigned so the Republicans can choose his replacement who will then run as an incumbent in the next election. Nothing unusual here at all ;)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Do YOU Know Who's Coaching YOUR Kids?

Anonymous said...
Scats, I know this is not the appropriate thread but need help. Please implore readers to read and listen. I know from the last posts about this topic that few are interested but they should be and get more involved as well:

ESPECIALLY if they have MS or HS girls who play soccer or basketball.

Last night at a local HS game, a man was introduced in front of our students, parents, administrators and neighbors as an ASST Coach of a young girls basketball team here in Greece at a MS and in the Select league.

This man has documented records on file with Monroe County that he has been accused of taking more than one half a million dollars from a former business partner. While he plead no contest and settled-the documents outlined Credit card charges for no other than the local:run parlors: where one person was just killed and another arrested for prostitution.

Please someone get this info to the Board and our schools. Several of us have tired and we get absolutely no support. Only one local news station wants to runs a story. In the interest of our community we prefer to not let the press sensationalize but we have to protect our young girls from a potential predator in my opinion.

Anyone who can give us ideas on how to proceed-please respond.
1/21/2009 7:30 AM

A Question About The Teachers' Contract ...

Anonymous said...
I have a question regarding the current teacher contract. If the district has to make up a 9 million dollar shortage and this results in teacher and other staff layoffs due to program/service cuts, does the teacher contract still contain a provision in it that says any teacher who is layed off must be given a 60/90 day notice or they will still collect their annual salary? If so, when does this notification have to be given? Prior to the board adopting the budget?
1/20/2009 5:00 PM

Monday, January 19, 2009

Monroe County Fifth In Property Taxes

"The reason upstate New York is so high is they spend a lot on local government, especially on education, but they don't have high home values like the rest of the state." ~~ Tax Foundation economist Gerald Prante

"Property taxes are out of control in upstate New York. High property taxes have created a crisis in upstate and all of New York." ~~ Maggie Brooks

STORY

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Budget Battle Shapes Up

School Choice W/Extra Busing
vs. Increased Class Sizes

Anonymous said...
Are they actually looking at the possability of increasing class sizes (less teachers) to help off-set the buget crunch? Can they honestly believe that such an option is even considerable, without getting rid of the busing (school of choice/ lottery) crap going on here first. Please tell me that our leadership isn't that stupid... I beg you! 1/18/2009 10:43 PM

Charlie Hubbard said...
Scats - ... One side note that I heard at Craig Hill last week that truly gave me pause - increase in class size - so lets get that out there now.If this district wants to continue the INSANE amount of bussing and wants to increase class size to save money? I hope the community stuffs their budget right down their throats. 1/18/2009 5:05 PM

BOE Revamps District Residents' Forum

"I say all the time that we want public input and community engagement. We can't invite the public in and then deny them time to speak." ~~ Julia VanOrman, BOE Prez

"It's a two-tier policy. That can lead to confusion." ~~ Doug Skeet, Former GCSD Admin.

STORY

SCATS: Yes, Julia. The community is asked for input, but there is NO "engagement" because talking to the BOE is like talking to a wall. There's NO RESPONSE! There's NO DIALOG! It's a completely uni-directional, dysfunctional communication system.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

So Much Mystery ... So Many Threats ...

Joe Moscato said...
For the record. While I believe the Board's decision to release the Berry Report is ill-advised and irresponsible, I personally do not have a problem with its release. Since I am no longer a board member, I will not be affected by the legal fallout that is sure to follow if the document is released in its entirety.

When I first read it four years ago, I was disappointed with the way it was done and so stated my feelings to Mr. Berry. He responded to my questions by saying that this was the only way he could get witnesses to cooperate with the investigation. He had to guarantee them anonymity which would be afforded them under the attorney-client privilege. By their actions last Tuesday, eight members broke that covenant by the release of this confidential document. As a former board member I will now be able to exercise my right of free speech relative to this document and all the important facts concerning the resignation of our former superintendent.

When the report is released and you FOIL it, be sure to ask for the letter of transmittal from Mr. Berry to the board. It is a part of the document. Without this letter which summarizes and assigns blame to those responsible for the wrongs done to teachers named in the report, you will not have an understanding of the report as a whole. 1/16/2009 1:48 PM

SCATS: Who is going to sue whom? For what? Will Meg's gag order be broken and GCSD have to pay her $10,000 per instance where her name is mentioned and/or redacted? How much of this report will be left to read AFTER it's whittled down by the lawyers? Will more than names be redacted? Will we know if entire pages are removed? Will releasing a less-than-complete report to the public at this point in time clear the air, or just cause more speculation about the misdeeds done of years past? Will those who spoke in confidence feel betrayed by the release of this report? Since I've heard no specific examples offered, I'm compelled to wonder if anyone can tell us what GOOD might come from releasing the Berry Report?

It's my gut feeling that a redacted Berry Report will only serve to cause more speculation, suspicion and division in a community that has already had its fill of betrayal wrought on us by our "leaders. "

Thursday, January 15, 2009

GREECE PD MAKE PROSTITUTION ARREST AT TUB & TAN SPA!!

Owner Jim Polaski Also Owns Elite Spa!
PD Says Monday Night's Incident Was Unrelated


"That played zero into what happened yesterday. As I said, the investigation that ended yesterday started in December. What happened at Elite was just a random act. One had no bearing on the other. We actually discussed not doing part of our investigation yesterday. I felt there was no reason not to because they were not related." ~~ Lt. Steve Wise, Greece PD

*** UPDATE *** ~~ "The operation of Elite and Tub and Tan are legitimate operations. They're body rub places. People go in, pay a fee and get a body rub ... There are a variety of people that go into those establishments including employees of the Town of Greece and public officials. There's nothing wrong with it." ~~ John Parrinello, Atty

RNews

"As the District Churns" ... Releasing the Berry Report

“I feel very strongly that there are disadvantages to releasing this report. My opinion is that we’ll do more damage to the district by releasing it.” ~~ Frank Oberg, BOE

“Let the Greece residents know what a devious web that was spun by the previous superintendent. We can handle any negatives in the report so long as they’re in the past.” ~~ Donn Rice, Greece resident

MPNNow

SCATS ~~ Let's all remember that Meg got a gag order of sorts. It will cost Greece $10,000 per instance if anyone officially talks about her in less than glowing terms.

Gannett Tells Employees To Take Unpaid Week

WHAM13 ~~ "In a move affecting employees in Rochester, Gannett has asked each of its employees to take a one-week unpaid leave sometime during the first quarter of 2009. Their revenue was down 14% in October and November. Gannett employs 676 workers in the Rochester area."

SCATS ~~ Sounds like the beginning of the end! Can paying to read the online edition be far behind?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Ward's Gives Away Science Equipment & Teaching Aids

Teachers lined up in the bitter cold today to grab free science equipment at 7am from Henrietta company's surplus inventory.

" One teacher ... had been waiting in the parking lot since 3 a.m. and was rewarded for braving the cold." ~~ Story

SCATS ~~ How many Greece teachers were there "for the kids" AND the taxpayers??

Another Cop In Trouble -- Greece Or City?

State trooper arrested for allegedly shooting roommate's car (News10NBC)
A local state trooper has been suspended after being charged with a crime last month. Investigator Michael Pray of Greece was arraigned in city court Tuesday on weapons charges.
According to state police Pray fired four rounds from his gun at his roommate's car. There was no one in the car at the time.
Pray was arrested for prohibited use of a weapon and reckless endangerment of property, both are misdemeanors. He's been suspended with pay until the investigation is complete.

Trooper charged in incident (D&C Story)
A 25-year New York State Police veteran was arraigned Tuesday on two misdemeanor charges in City Court.
Investigator Michael Pray, 61, of Rochester was charged with prohibited use of a weapon and reckless endangerment of property, both misdemeanors, after a Dec. 13 incident.
According to court documents, Pray discharged four rounds from a .45 Glock handgun into a vehicle in his driveway.
Pray is suspended with pay until the investigation is complete, according to State Police. Pray, who is out on his own recognizance, is due back in court Feb. 4 for a pretrial hearing.

SCATS ~~ The omissions by the D&C that it was in Greece and his roommate's car are most interesting ;) At least they admitted they are a full month behind on reporting the "news!"

HS Sports Programs Prepare For Budget Pinch

13 Suggestions Made To Limit, Reduce, Downsize Costs Associated With Travel, Games & Tournaments

"For the first time, everyone from the state level all the way down will need to take a look at how they do business." ~~ Greece Olympia AD & Section V exec. board member Kim Henshaw

STORY

SCATS ~~ The sacred cow of public education will finally have to become fiscally responsible!? Could I interest you in some land (swamp) in Florida?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

BOE Recap ...

Meeting began late despite longer Exec. Session

Olympia Students/Coach Complain They Must Recruit Their Own Athletes Due To Open Enrollment; School Spirit Lessened; Facilities Second-Rate Compared To Other District Schools; Suggest Changing Apollo's Name To Olympia MS

BOE Votes To Release Redacted (names, maybe entire pages to be removed) Berry Report By Feb. 2

Supt. Wants Suspension Of Budgetary Requirements Under Contract For Excellence

Supt. To Provide BOE With Parameters To Track Graduation Rates In Feb.

SCATS: I apologize for missing the budget discussion after falling asleep during the ridiculously long-winded "assets presentation." When are they going to stop with these dog & pony shows?

Elite Body Spa Previously Raided By Police

Prostitution Arrest Made At Spa 2 Yrs. Ago

Off-duty RPD Officer Is Boyfriend Of One Of Monday's Robbery Victims

Spa Is "Cash Business" Which May Have Made Women Targets For Robbery

13WHAM.com

Robbery Suspect Held on $100,000 Bail!

News10NBC

RPD Officer Shoots Thug Near GCC Offices

Off-Duty Officer "A Hero"

"I think any time a police officer has to pull their weapon and use their weapon, it takes a lot of courage to do that, and yeah I would call him a hero." ~~ Rochester Deputy Police Chief George Markert

News10NBC

Sunday, January 11, 2009

BOE Meeting Tuesday at 7PM (note time!)

Exec. Session ~~ 5:30 pm to discuss pending litigation, the employment history of a particular person(s) & collective bargaining.

Board Committee Reports
Finance Committee (Finally!!)
Transportation Committee
Audit Committee
Community Faith Committee


Supt's Reports
EXCEL Update (Steve will tell us if A-PAC is STILL standing!)
Secondary Staffing Projections
Budget Development
(Very LARGE numbers expected)

Old Business
Berry Report
(Which way will the attorneys sway today?)
Former Supt's Health Care (Joe M. will be there tonight!)

New Business
2009-10 Budget Prep - Budget Goals (Ka-Ching!!)
Graduation Rate Precursor Discussion
(If we lower our expectations to zero, we won't be disappointed ...)
Discussion - Staffing the May Budget Vote
BoardDocs Discussion (How to make paper disappear)
Capital Projects Federal Stimulus Package Discussion


Policy
Second Read, Policy 3220 Public Participation at BOE Meetings

Second Read, Policy 1335 Appointment & Duties of Internal Claims Auditor

Friday, January 09, 2009

Town Supervisors Flee Public Access Cameras!


Firkins Stands Watch,
Auberger Flees

Closed Door Meeting!!

SEE HOW THEY RUN!!!!

VIDEO

VIDEO2

RochesterTurning Story

Just When I thought I'd Heard It All ...

“The Contract for Excellence* requires us to spend when we’re trying to reduce expenditures.” ~~ Supt. Achramovitch (MPNNow)

* The Contract For Excellence is a state mandated program whose goal is improved student achievement. It is required in our district because of GCSD's poor past performance!

SCATS: Does this sound really whiney to you, too?

Thursday, January 08, 2009

It's Budget Time ~~ Get Informed!!

Our Gov. ~~ reducing our state aid by $4 million
Our Supt. ~~ threatened us with a 10% tax increase if we keep the status quo! (See yesterday's D&C Story)
Our Supt. ~~ claims ALL programs, services are "on the table" (If you believe him ... personally, I don't)
Our teachers ~~ renegotiating the terms of their contract (where a good portion of the budget is allocated)
Schools-of-choice, Signature schools, busing, extracurriculars ~~ Can we afford to retain these in their current form?
Our Finance Committee ~~ MIA!!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Supt. Says Everything Will Be Examined During Budget Process


Even Schools of Choice,
Signature Schools
"COULD be scrutinized"

"Our end goal is not putting the burden on the community that the governor put on us." ~~ Supt. Achramovitch

"We should look at everything we're doing that is above and beyond state mandates." ~~ Former BOE Member, Charlie Hubbard

Story

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Town Hall Meeting Tonight @ 6:30PM

Budget & other topics related to district "challenges" to be discussed in the library at Craig Hill Elementary School

Monday, January 05, 2009

2008 Reviewed

Uncle Jay Explains: Year-end! 12-22-08

A Clever Summary ;)

A Disturbing Event

"Menacing: A 14-year-old reported that a 17-year-old student from Greece Olympia High School threatened him with a box cutter on the pedestrian overpass near the school, 1130 Maiden Lane, on Dec. 23." ~~ Police Reports

SCATS ~~ What, if anything, happened as a result of this report to police?

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Another Voice Sides With Skeet On Resident's Forum Policy

"The board is reconsidering its ill-advised policy, and will announce their decision at their monthly meeting on January 13th. If you expect them to do the right thing, don’t hold your breath. This body has a knack for painting themselves into a corner and sticking to their guns, regardless of how wrong-headed the outcome might be." ~~ Rochester Turning

Friday, January 02, 2009

Divine Intervention Sought For Local Leaders

"God, I pray that you will keep your hands on the school board and the superintendent. Our future is in their hands." ~~ Rev. George McKnight, the senior pastor of New Way Christian Faith Center

STORY

SCATS: Next time things go awry, will they blame God? Do we need a "divine" scapegoat?