Sunday, February 28, 2010

Input Sought In Supt Search

  
Community Forum Facilitated By
Monroe 2/Orleans BOCES Search Consultants

Tuesday March 2 @6:30PM

Apollo MS Cafeteria

NGN's Complete Executive Board

 
Several of you have asked, so I went to the group's President, Jeremy Carter, to get the following info about who is who on the NGN Board. Here's the scoop:

"I was just re-elected as President - reaffirming the membership's desire to maintain non-partisan status. Carole Messina-Provost was re-elected (unopposed) as vice president. Pastor Anne O'Connor has been our secretary since the beginning but is so schedule tight that Pat Amato will assume that office by board approval. Joan Kelly is our treasurer (in mid-term). Directors in mid-term are Dave Garretson and Rebecca Jaffarian, and 2 new directors (running unopposed) are Charles Ennis and Dan Maloney. There is one vacant seat (reserved for outgoing president (if exist) to maintain continuity). Since there is no outgoing president the board will appoint a person to occupy this seat per our bylaws."

Will Free Ice Cream Lure Applicants?

  
West Ridge plans an ice cream social Monday night with the hopes of drawing in new applicants to attend Kindergarten in Sept. The school is self-described as "One of Greece's best kept secrets."

Is it really? Or is it that it has outlived its intended purpose to provide a buffer for attendance boundary changes? Will free ice cream, following the season's heaviest snowstorm, get people interested?

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Another Friday Night, Another "Stand-Off"

 
13WHAM reports: " A police incident in Greece ended peacefully Friday night. Police say they received a call from a woman around 8:15 p.m. claiming a man inside the house had a gun. Police tried first to make contact with the man by phone, but got no answer. Eventually, they were able to make contact with him. Both he and the woman came out of the house unharmed. Police say the man did not have a gun. No one was injured.

People in the area received an automated phone call telling them to stay inside their homes until the incident was over."

The D&C reports: "A two-hour standoff on Harvest Drive ended peacefully tonight. Police responded to 475 Harvest Drive for a report of a domestic call about 8 p.m., said Deputy Chief Brian Uhrmacher, and initially, it was believed that a weapon was involved.

A woman in the house was able to leave when police arrived. When police tried to call the residence and didn’t receive a response, they used a public address system and convinced a man inside to answer the phone. Once that contact was made, the man came out of the house. After an investigation, it was determined there was no weapon involved, and nobody was injured. The man was not charged."


SCATS ~~ After hearing about this incident, a friend asked me a very good question : "Was all this stuff going on before the coverups, and we just didn't hear about it, or have things taken a dramatic turn in this town?"
 

Friday, February 26, 2010

Who Can Tell Us About Transportation Costs?

 
This topic keeps appearing on various threads. Now it's appeared in my mailbox, too.

"I am almost certain at least one regular reader of the blog in particular has knowledge of the GCSD bussing routes, and how they've multiplied over the years, including precise figures. I'm not sure why he/she hasn't jumped on the topic when it's been brought up. My thinking is that it's usually toward the end of the comments, and perhaps they have moved on to newer material. I wonder if the topic was to make it on the blog as a new story/topic, if this person might be more likely to see it, and in turn comment about it. I think readers would be blown away to see just how many routes have been added over the last 10-15 years, especially given the drop in student numbers."

SCATS ~~ I hope someone can give us some insight using numbers. I'm sure someone knows ... please speak up!
  

Grand Jury Clears Greece Cops

 
WHEC-TV reports that a Grand Jury chose not to indict Officers Shaun Moore & Joseph Hopper who were involved in shooting Paul Miller outside his home last December.

"Based on the Grand Jury hearing all the evidence there is a decision that there is no basis for any criminal charges against anyone." ~~ DA, Mike Green

"I talked to both officers the day the no-bill (decision not to indict) was brought up by the Grand Jury and it's a big relief for them." ~~ Greece Police Chief Todd Baxter

Home Invasion Story Doesn't Add Up

  
Yesterday, WHEC-TV and other local media outlets reported the story about the home invasion that happened on Moxon Dr. in Greece the night before. Lt. Steve Chatterton of Greece Police stated: “Two male suspects entered the home, produced handguns, accosted the homeowners. There were a total of four people inside the house at the time.” The story goes on to say that Chatterton said two adults were pistol-whipped and sent to the hospital.

Yesterday's D&C reported that a news release from acting Deputy Chief Brian Uhrmacher of the Greece Police Department stated: "Two men, both armed with handguns then forced their way into the house." It further stated that two people were treated for injuries.

OK, fine, right? Well that depends on whether or not you start to notice the discrepancies in the numbers of people inside the home, the number treated for injuries and even the number of perpetrators police are seeking.
 
13WHAM News reported last night that "Greece police are looking for three suspects ... "
 
Today's D&C says: "Greece and Rochester police are trying to unravel a Wednesday night home invasion robbery in Greece during which four people were pistol-whipped by two men."

I could give more examples, but I think I've made my point. I can understand it might take Greece police some time to investigate the crime to understand what transpired, but I can't fathom not knowing whether there were two or four people who were "pistol-whipped" or whether they are looking for two or three perpetrators.

Even more worrisome was Lt. Chatterton's statements to WHEC-TV trying to calm our nerves by saying that specific home was targeted : “It's not your everyday crime, absolutely not. But like I said there were circumstances that led to that from the victim and the suspects ending up in a location in Greece.” In other words, nothing to worry about. But wait. In the same story, the reporter has a chat with a neighbor leaving us with the impression there is a lot more to this tale:

"Carol who lives nearby, but didn't want to be identified, says she's afraid. She said, “I'd like to know what's really going on because I think there's more to it. I just think there's more to it.”

Reporter Lynette Adams asked Carol, “When you say you think there's more to it, I'm not sure if you're seeing things in the neighborhood that make you a little bit suspicious.” Carol said, “Yes, a little.” She said she is too afraid to elaborate."

This story, the numerous discrepancies and even the suggestion we shouldn't worry about the crime committed reminds me of the same Greece Police Dept. we had under a former chief ... back when lots of other things just didn't add up. I share Carol's fears.
 

Thursday, February 25, 2010

*** WEATHER ALERT ***


There is a 50% chance that Friday
will be a snow day for students!

Northgate Neighbors Meeting Recap

 
I've had to piece this together from several sources so I can't attest to it being 100% complete, especially as it relates to the election of board members.

Elections ~~ Jeremy Carter won re-election to his post as President, defeating Rebecca Jaffarian in the process. Rebecca Jaffarian, Carol Messina-Provost, Dan Maloney, Dave Garretson and Charlie Ennes (sp?) were elected to positions on the NGN board.

Chief Baxter ~~ The new chief couldn't attend due to personal reasons. The Town of Greece failed to provide any requested replacements for either Chief Baxter or for Gary Tajkowski, another previously scheduled speaker. Since the chief didn't attend, a list of questions was drawn up to send to him. The Town plans for him to hold Meet & Greet nights at the various fire depts. soon. The one at Barnard is scheduled for Wed. March 10th at 7PM.

Dewey Ave. Development ~~ Jeremy Carter talked about Walmart, the CA-POW group and other pertinent info as detailed in an article from the Rochester Business Journal. Third ward councilman Andrew Conlon attended and added his two cents worth.
 

Violent Crimes, Bomb Threats Hit Greece

 
Today's D&C reports that a home-invasion robbery occured on Moxon Dr around 11:30PM last night. Two people received medical treatment.

A recent D&C also reports: A victim reported to police that she’d been knocked down, kicked and had her car stolen by robbers on Patriot’s Landing on Feb. 11. The report was filed Feb. 13.

Someone posted false bomb threats in student bathrooms at Greece Athena High School on Feb. 10 and 12. The school was checked and no incendiary devices were found.
In related news, RPD Sgt. John Vail pleads not guilty in Sears tool shoplifting case.

SCATS ~~ WELCOME TO GREECE, CHIEF BAXTER! Have your first few weeks been challenging enough?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Where Things Stand With GCSD's Budget

  
Greece Teachers Assn. ~~ Their Give-A-Damn Is Broken! They steadfastly refuse to help out in the form of a wage/benefits freeze ... or in any other way for that matter.

Teamsters, GUSS, AGCEP ~~ They've stepped up and offered various concessions. HOORAY!

Supt. Steve Achramovitch ~~ He's floundering in shark infested waters pleading for the BOE to just give him "some direction." The problem is, the sharks in the water are the BOE! If the Supt. does anything meaningful, they immediately bully him back into passivity.

The BOE ~~ If you were to look up the definition of "Passive-Aggressive" in a psychology text, you'd see their photo, an
8 x 10 color glossy! They are "stuck" with their overwhelmingly sad feelings about causing any angst in various community sectors as they search for places to save money, but they still MUST get a $195 million budget brought under control. The Supt. can't help them because they won't let him cause any pain. If he tries, they smack him. They know that the cuts they MUST make will cause an outcry among teachers, other employees, parents, students ... so they do nothing for yet another week. They simply can't stand hearing about the negative impact of doing the job they were elected to do. On the other hand, if they try to raise taxes by 8-9%, they will be sitting in the midst of a community furor that they alone created. What to do? What to do? What to do? So ... the nail-biting continues.

Northgate Neighborhood Group Meets Tonight

 
At 7PM at a new location:
Aldersgate United Methodist Church
4115 Dewey Ave.

On the Agenda (originally) :
  • The annual election of board members
  • Introduction of the new Greece Police Chief, Todd Baxter
  • Dewey Corridor Development for 2010 will be addressed by Gary Tajkowski
  • Angel Food Ministries will present their food purchase program
In an email, I learned there are significant changes to the officially announced agenda which was contained in the group's newsletter. Here's the latest info I have:

"In 2009 NGN ammended its by-laws to allow elected officials to serve on the board. Last month I personally offered a nomination to a Republican office holder, which was declined. We are non partisan and welcome particpation by neighbors from all political points of view.

As I understand the story with Chief Baxter, he originally agreed to the appearance, then told us he needed to cancel because a member of his family was having a medical procedure on that day. Unfortunately the cancelation came after we'd already printed our newsletter. We asked the chief to provide a representative (such as Brian Urmacher) which the chief seemed initially OK with... then he came back to say town hall had nixed the whole thing. Meanwhile we had a semi-firm commitment from Gary Tajkowski which melted away after the newsletter was printed. Again we asked for a sub (such as Kathryn Firkins) but none was offered."

SCATS ~~ As I stated the other day, it sounds to me like the folks at One Vince Tofany Blvd. are officially snubbing (i.e. punishing) this group for the difficult crowd Auberger faced during  candidate's night last Fall.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

SCATS ~~ Celebrating Our 4th Anniversary


SCATS: From NY to PWC & beyond.
Over 1800 BLOGS & counting!
Seldom mentioned by name in public.
Often whispered about behind closed doors.  
We're the elephant in the room
all over the Town of Greece!



(Click to enlarge)

We recently joined Facebook, too :)
Add us as a friend!


Monday, February 22, 2010

BOE Budget Meeting

  
Tuesday @6:30PM

WHAT will they cut next?

It is anticipated that the BOE will go into an Exec. Session at 5:30PM to discuss pending litigation.

SCATS ~~ Hmmm ... I wonder if this closed door meeting is to discuss that lawsuit someone keeps posting about on here ... Nah, couldn't be! Our BOE is VERY open with the community. We're told everything ... long after the fact and with their spin ;)
 

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Town of Greece To Enforce Amanda's Law


Are YOU Ready?

Update from today's D&C ~~ "Violators will be fined, but Monroe County municipalities have not yet decided how much that fine will be."

Starting Feb. 22nd, this new law requires a CO detector in most homes.

The print edition of the Greece Post reports: "According to Leo Carroll, Greece director of technical services, having a detector will become part of the application process for any permit that is applied for by a resident."

"In fact, that will now become a standard question on the application followed by the requirement for an inspection of the device in conjunction with any other permit inspection. We would like to be pro-active without being too intrusive." ~~ Leo Carroll

SCATS ~~ So if you want to build a deck or repave your driveway, you'll have to let the inspectors INSIDE your home. I think that is VERY intrusive, especially if compliance requires my detector be located in a bedroom! On the other hand, the inspectors will have to actually leave Vince Tofany Blvd. to earn their paycheck.

Police Arrest 4 Outside of Greece Denny's

 
Gun put to the head of someone in the parking lot early Sat. morning.
Stolen revolver recovered.

STORY

SCATS ~~ Oops! There goes our "safest town" status.
 

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Is Auberger Using the New Chief To Play Politics?

 
 Anonymous said...
FYI Baxter has been advised not to talk to any neighborhood or community groups as per Auberger. Apparently Town Hall is planning some big community wide meeting and wants to introduce him at that time. So that NGN or Anti Walmart organization is left out in the cold thanks to Auggie. Guess he isn't too happy with NGN.  2/20/2010 6:47 PM

SCATS ~~ It sounds like our Supervisor is punishing the Northgate Neighborhood Group for allowing the town's citizens to question him too harshly just prior to the November elections.

Where Is Loszynski's Report On The GPD?

 
John Auberger, the Greece community is waiting for this promised report. You told us it would be completed by the end of January. You also promised to share the findings. Your track record for saying what you mean & meaning what you say on this topic has been totally unreliable.



How much longer will Joseph Loszynski be sucking off the teat of the town's taxpayers? What is the total cost to the community? Speak up, John! We can't hear you!
   

Friday, February 19, 2010

Survey: 49% of HS Seniors Drank in Past 30 Days

 
31% admit to binge drinking of 5 or more drinks at a time.

22% of 7th & 8th graders admit drinking alcohol in the past year.

Most say they obtained it at home.

STORY

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Residency Requirements: A Good Thing?

  
The brochure outlining the position for GCSD's next Superintendent states:

"It is preferred that the superintendent live in the school district."

Should this be a requirement? What about requiring that he/she send any school-aged children to GCSD schools? Can we force the issue?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Spa Owner Guilty Of Prostitution

  
Jim Polaski Accepts Plea Deal For Promoting Prostitution At Tub 'n Tan Salon

Officials won't bring charges against his other "salons"

STORY

SCATS ~~ So, the spa owner admits his salon WAS a cover for prostitution? The same place that Parrinello, his lawyer, has said that high ranking Greece town officials & employees frequented? AND that no case will be brought by the DA against his other fine establishments which just happen to include one where a shooting took place? Remember the one where an off-duty RPD cop just happened to be picking up his "girlfriend" after "work?" Nothing odd there folks, right?  (wink!! wink!!)

<<== NEW POLL

The More Things Change ...

The More Things Seem To Remain The Same

Anonymous said...
The use of bullying has been a tool of the administration in GCSD for years. Its the only place where underachieving employees are rewarded and conscientious employees are expected to carry the load. It must be all the nepotism in Greece.   2/16/2010 8:20 PM

Anonymous said...
8:20 is right. How's that "Toxic Culture" thing coming after the 6-figure study that revealed it four years ago?   2/17/2010 5:36 AM

GCSD Administrator Is In The Running For ER Supt. Job

  
The D&C reports that Carol Pallas, asst. supt. for curriculum and instruction is among 4 finalists.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

GPD Arrest RPD Sgt. For Shoplifting @Mall

  
Sgt. John Vail, an RPD veteran who resides in Greece, was arrested Monday for stealing tools valued at $148.96 from Sears at the Greece Ridge Mall.

STORY

SCATS ~~ Looks like Chief Baxter has to clean-up RPD in addition to GPD!

First Amendment Rights vs "Cyber-Bullying"

 
Federal Judge Upholds Student's Right To Criticize Teacher On Facebook Page Titled: "Ms. Sarah Phelps is the worst teacher I've ever had."

Former HS student can sue her former principal for suspending her, since the page was protected by free speech.

"It was an opinion of a student about a teacher that was published off-campus, did not cause any disruption on-campus, and was not lewd, vulgar, threatening or advocating illegal or dangerous behavior."  ~~ Judge Barry Garber

STORY

SCATS ~~ So students are entitled to have and to state negative opinions about teachers, as long as it's "off-campus." With a few more decisions like this, pretty soon we will be giving students rights that everyone else already enjoys!
 

Closed, Clubby & Corrupt Meet Tonight

 
6PM At Greece Town Hall

Tentative Agenda (Found buried on Town's website)

Greece Woman Falsely Reports Stolen Car

   
Car Crashes In City After RPD Chase Using GPS Info To Locate It

YNN

D&C

Monday, February 15, 2010

Comptroller: NY Schools "Unnecessarily" Holding $615 Million In Reserve Funds

 
State law won't allow funds to be used for other purposes during times of budget crisis.

STORY

SCATS ~~  How many millions of dollars does Greece have in its various "rainy day" accounts? Well, it's definitely raining, but I guess it's not the right kind of rain!

R.I.P. Hunter Resch ~ The "Mayor of Paddy Hill"




Friends may call Tues, 2-6 PM at Vay-Schleich & Meeson Funeral Home, Greece Chapel, 1075 Long Pond Rd. His Funeral Mass will be celebrated, Wed, 9:30 AM at St. Charles Borromeo Church, 3003 Dewey Ave. Entombment in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery will follow. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Cub Scout Pack 14, or to a foundation that will be formed in Hunter's memory. (From D&C)


In response to the homicide-suicide, members of the Greece Central School District’s Trauma, Injury, and Grief Team have planned an adults-only meeting for 9 AM Mon. in the Paddy Hill Elementary School cafeteria. Counselors will work with parents and teachers on how to talk with children after an event such as this.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Save the Date: Tuesday March 2nd

  
BOE Forum @6:30PM 
Apollo MS Cafeteria

Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES consultants will facilitate a residents forum to gather community input regarding the hiring of a new Superintendent.

Fill out a Community Survey

Read the Position Info Brochure (They will pay $190-230K for someone who "shares credit for successes, accepts responsibility for failures." Residency "preferred.")

Fill out 5 pg. Application (Do we really need to know where he/she attended HS?)
  

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Our New Chief Looks & Sounds Very Professional

  
Despite A Difficult Crime Scene, Chief Baxter Is A Breath Of Fresh Air On The Job As He Talks About Murder/Suicide On Island Cottage Rd.

VIDEO

SCATS ~~ I'm shocked to see that the D&C's overnight Editor/Blogger Chad Roberts not only looked up the name of the home owner, but published it! I looked it up too when I wrote the BLOG last night, BUT I had no intentions of putting that into print so soon after the discovery of crime scene. I can't recall any other case where local media has done this. So I ask readers, what's your opinion on that?

Murder/Suicide On Island Cottage Ends Baxter's "Honeymoon" As Chief

 
Mother called GPD about 7:30PM Friday evening worried about her 7 yr. old son's safety. Police found boy & his 30 yr. old father dead from gunshot wounds.

"When officers arrived on the scene they found a house that had an open door. There's apparently two victims inside the house, both victims have gunshot wounds. We're waiting now to determine what the nature of the call was as far as what occurred inside the location." ~~ Chief Todd Baxter

Includes reporting by the D&C  , YNN Rochester and WHEC-TV

Friday, February 12, 2010

What the Heck Is "Friendship" Day?

  
Apparently, political correctness knows no bounds in Greece Central. First, we sanitized Halloween and removed it from many of the schools. Recognition of Christmas was also removed, but later restored after HMO were elected. Now, Valentine's Day has somehow been morphed into "Friendship Day."

What the heck is "wrong" about celebrating Valentine's Day? I don't want to hear about how it's a "popularity contest." That is easily corrected by telling kids they have to give Valentine's Day cards to every classmate, or by dropping the card exchange completely.

Just for giggles, I Googled "friendship day" and found that "International Friendship Day" is celebrated the first Sunday in August. So at best, we're misleading our children with the new name. WHY THE CHANGE?

EFP Audit Report Makes News In PWC

 
The recommendation to hire an internal auditor made in 2008 was not followed by the school division where Walts is currently employed.

His travel expenses during 2009 was the subject of a newspaper investigation

Keith Imon responds by email to inquiry regarding EFP audit:  "The Superintendent is confident that he followed all processes and procedures in his former school district and served in the best interests of the students. He remains fully focused on the excellent progress we continue to make over the past five years in Prince William County Public Schools."

Read Story
  

Thursday, February 11, 2010

No New Trial For Nick Joseph

  
The D&C reports that State Supreme Court Justice Francis Affronti wrote in a decision released today that he can “unreservedly and unequivocally reaffirm” his confidence in his verdict.


Joseph’s lawyers sought a new trial, claiming that prosecutors suppressed evidence that could have cleared Joseph.

SCATS ~~ Don't worry Nick. I think Gary P. will still be your Valentine. Just ask him nicely :)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Excerpts From the Email ...

  
I had to laugh at CH10 coverage...."the board restored kindergarten!......that is NOT what the board did. What they voted to do was "reopen" kindergarten registration to see if more kids would apply and therefore make a case for NOT closing kindergarten. I also wonder what that new parent male TV star meant when he sniffled "every one has to give a little" or something to that effect. I ponder what "little" did he give except plead for the continuation of kindergarten at his school of choice?

The board still has $12M to cut out of the budget despite their voting to cut $8M formally last night. At least they freaking' voted and thus avoid confusion as to intent! The board voted on directing the super to provide a list of $6m in more cuts. Wonder where the other $6M will come from....I think I know...it is raise taxes by that amount.

What a fiasco the BOE meeting was. The "gang that can't shoot straight" comes to mind. Stenglein could not attend the meeting because her job kept her busy according to what I was told. Not the first time for that. I wonder how come a person runs for the board when they know they are likely to have job obligations that would cause them to miss meetings? A board member should plan on spending at least 30 hours a week on BOE business or they SHOULD NOT RUN! Of course they could always show up unprepared like some of them do. Of course that leads to the kind of oversight that Walts enjoyed, permitting him to buy pianos costing $100 large ones! Jeff, as chair of the Transportation Committee, has no clue about any of the busing related issues that come before the board.

SCATS ~~ Yes, listening to men crying into the mic at BOE meetings is a new low, but one that worked. He gave his tears for the cause! The other $6 million will likely be funded by us taxpayers, because after last night's very poor showing, I don't see that this BOE has the guts to make the necessary cuts. They will cut $6 million more before they tell us: "Sorry, we just couldn't do any better, Boo Hoo!" As for the actual conduct of the meeting itself, they were out of order and need a "do over" to make it all OK again. With Russell in the audience supposedly pondering another run for BOE (as per a BLOG comment), we're all but doomed! Didn't he help choose our current "leader?"

Was It Legal?

No, it was NOT legal!
It's official. The BOE will attempt a "do over" on two votes from last evening where only 4 people voted to carry the motion.

Last night only 6 board members attended the meeting. When they began dismantling the budget and voting on each item up for the hatchet, most votes were 5 in favor with 1 opposed. However, on the issue of eliminating *$170,000 for an Athletic Director, a modified football team et al, the vote was 4 to 2. The same outcome occured on a vote for eliminating transportation for Pre-K. Is it legal for only 4 members of a 9 member BOE to pass such an action? It seemed unusual to me ... so I've asked a BOE member. I'll let you know the response.

* I initially and erroneously said it was for a different position. My apologies

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

GTA Refuses To Take Pay Freeze

 
"I get tired of the President of GTA coming up here ... and doing nothing to help us!" ~~ Roger Boily

SCATS ~~ Boily wants the community to know about GTA's refusal, BUT waited until both the GTA & the West Ridge parents left the room before making his disingenuous tirade.

What's out of the budget by BOE vote tonight:
27.1 FTE Teachers $1.5 million
14.4 FTE Teacher aides/assts. ($330,000)
General support staff budget reduced by $500,000
Assets & student leader coordinator eliminated$100,000
1 Athletic Director & other athletic budget reductions $170,000
Transportation for Pre-K $230,000
Freezing technology acquistion spending $230,000
Certain extracurricular/athletic contest reductions $40,000


SCATS ~~ This BOE is going about the budget process with their heads up their ... well, I'm sure you get the picture. Instead of starting with the status quo which was at $207+ million and trying to cut enough off the corners to get to where you need to be, why don't you start from scratch? Build a budget by adding in what WE NEED to be a quality school district and leaving the WANTS out unless/until you see we can afford them.

West Ridge Enrollment To Be Reopened

By a vote of 6 to 0 (Oberg, Farington & Stenglein absent), BOE decides to try to get 2 or 3 Kindergarten classes at WR for next yr. This comes after cutting teachers, aides, some transportation, some sports, reducing extra-curricular costs, etc.

SCATS ~~ The Greece BOE made a values judgement tonight: schools-of-choice are sacred and saved from budget ax.

GCSD Forensic Audit Released

 
Uncovers Waste, Fraud & Abuse

Watch WHEC @6pm when Ray Levato interviews Tydings & Achramovitch about this audit. Their online report says: "... the district will not put the audit up on its website for all residents to see ... The Greece superintendent also would not allow us inside today to see the $100,000 grand piano." (Well, why not? Thank you D&C for doing so! Link below.)

Audit Details How Greece BOE Failed To Properly Oversee The District For Years During & During & Following Steven Walts' Tenure Here (In my opinion, not that much has changed)


"We are confident these issues have been addressed and we are moving forward." ~~ Supt. Achramovitch (Don't forget, he's got one foot out the door now, too!)

D&C STORY

READ THE AUDIT

SUPPLEMENTAL GCSD Documentation

SCATS ~~ Our New Math Review: 

(Closed, Clubby, Corrupt) +
(Waste, Fraud, Abuse)
Greece's "Promise"

In a related story, NY Comptroller DiNapoli Releases Report Questioning $880 Million in NY School Spending 
 

Monday, February 08, 2010

Tonight: West Ridge Part Deux ...

 
The Kindergarten Drama Continues ...

Will anyone not from WR get a chance to speak?

Will the school board cave-in "like a wet dish rag?"

Will the teachers don their "professional" attire ~  union tees?

Will young children be encouraged to wail into the mic?

Will PTA have anything left to do come Wed. morning?

To find out, tune-in at 6:30PM on WGMC 90.1FM

BE THERE ... or be square ;)

SCATS ~~ If you begin to feel nauseous, you might want to cover your ears ;)

<< == NEW POLL - Squares-off top three vote
getters from previous poll

There's A New Chief In Town







Will he finish the job
of cleaning up GPD?

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Teacher Salaries: How Much Is Just Right?

 
During the last several years, GTA has failed to renegotiate a new contract with the Greece School District. The biggest stumbling blocks appear to be salary increases and health care benefits. Teachers claim they earn every penny they make for the job they do and the situations they encounter. Taxpayers who foot the bill say teachers are out-of-touch with the real world where health care benefits have shrunk, if not disappeared altogether for the masses. Additionally, many feel a teacher's pay should be merit based.

What are appropriate salary levels for Greece teachers?
Should our teachers pay more for their health care? How much more?

Here are some tools to help you decide:

GTA's current contract (still in force)

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Smoke 'n Mirrors Meets Dog 'n Pony

  
BOE Meeting Tuesday @6:30PM, Apollo

It is anticipated that the BOE will go into an Exec. Session at 5:00PM to discuss collective bargaining and the employment history of particular person(s). (It's ALWAYS the same reason!)

West Ridge parents fill-up Resident's Forum (Predictable. Why don't we just let the Sports Booster parents wrestle the school-of-choice parents and the winner gets no budget cuts, the loser gives up either the sports programs or school format?)

Agenda Highlights

Board Committee Reports
Finance Committee
Transportation Committee
Audit Committee
Assets Initiative Committee
MCSBA Committees

Supt's Reports
Budget Review
Transportation Study Review
EXCEL Project Update

Unfinished Business
Follow-up List
Whistleblower Update

New Business
Review Board Operating Procedures
Student Trips

Policy
Second Read Policy 1410 Policy
Second Read Policy 6213 Probation and Tenure
Second Read Policy 2370 School Board Member Request & Use of District Info (Ut-oh! Sounds like someone wants to put the brakes on info access by those who run things ... sounds "closed, clubby, corrupt" ... ) 

Friday, February 05, 2010

Parents vs. Taxpayers ~ "Us" vs "Them"

14% Tax Rate Hike
vs.
$16 million* in budget cuts




The Greece school board has some tough decisions ahead, lots of them. After already trimming $8 million and hitting all of the more obvious larger line items, they now must make numerous decisions on axing much smaller programs and services, as witnessed with the West Ridge Kindergarten controversy. Here's the math so far:

2009/10 budget ~~ $195.5 million, as approved by last year's vote

2010/11 proposed ~~ $207.3 million, also called the "budget-to-budget" figure - it contains NO additions, just increases for salaries, benefits, etc.to retain the status quo

Current 2010/11 proposal ~~ $199.3 million, BOE & Supt. have made the "easier" cuts

More recently, a potential $8 million loss of state aid has been announced by Gov. Paterson, leaving the BOE to either make another $8 million in reductions or raise taxes by 14% (this number was used at the WR meeting Wed. night). Obviously, the latter option would be voted down at the polls, especially in light of recent assessment increases announced by the Town. So the question becomes:

 What to cut & where?

* The $16 million figure includes the $8 million already trimmed. If the BOE tries to keep the budget at last year's level, they will need to find another $4 million in cuts to the base budget on top of the $16 million mentioned earlier. All other numbers have been discussed at BOE meetings.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

GCSD & Town Have "Unclaimed Funds"

 
After hearing the lead-in for a story Ch 10 is doing about funds that local towns & school districts have not claimed, I went to the Comptroller's website to search for myself.

Under a heading for recent months in 2009, I found references to: Greece Police G (3400 Ridge Rd W Ste 5), Greece Olympia Class of 1990 (103 Haddon Rd), Greece Central School Dis (Accounts Payable Dept PO Box 200141650) and Greece Central SC (363 Oxford St Apt 5). Interesting addresses on some of those entries!

Under older claims, I found funds listed for: Greece Central, Greece Volunteer A (ambulance?), Greece Ridge Centermall, Greece Tub Tan (he's out-of-business, but maybe he can pay his bill to Parrinello !) and entries for the Town of Greece going back as far as 1996!

The site doesn't tell us how much any of these unclaimed funds are, but before they ask us for more taxes, I think it might be a good idea to claim and use the money they already have ;)
 

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Smoke 'n Mirrors Doesn't Work At WR

 
Neither does District Office double-speak.
("It's the enrollment. It's the budget. It's ... ")
They had Achramovitch apologizing ("I jumped the gun.")
& Tydings sweating.

In attendence: Supt. Achramovitch; 6 Board Members; 150-200 parents; Several WR teachers; GTA Prez. Don Palozzi; TV media; D&C reporter; Gary Elling (PTA Council Prez); Ellen Meyer - an "original" WR parent

Quote of the night: " K-five is the standard in other districts, but here it's the Golden Egg."

Moment of the night: A young student did her best Paris Jackson imitation ~ talking through tears "... and she's the best teacher ever." ~ followed by a standing ovation.

Analogy of the night: Comparing Long Ridge School and its 800 pupils to a cattle farm. (Watch out for the backlash for that remark!)

Ironic Misperception of the night: That it would cost the district more to send two buses (if there's an older sibling in the home) to the homes of Kindergartners who don't get to attend WR next year.

What's next: These parents plan to use every slot during Tuesday night's Resident's Forum
 

T-Shirts 'n Tickets 'n Child Care ... Oh My!

 
The BOE should take a DEEP BREATH ...
... and sort through the various messages before reacting to the angry mob

Tonight's planned 6PM meeting (circus? confrontation?) between West Ridge School parents, the Greece school board & Supt. Steve Achramovitch should provide an extra-heavy dose of drama for all who attend.

Despite waiting a full 5 days to take note following the BOE meeting where shutting down WR Kindergarten was first mentioned (the D&C waited 8!), they have now organized a Facebook page with 430+ members and gotten attention to their cause plastered all over local TV news shows and websites. Though short of the goal of 500 signatures, their online petition has gotten over 200 names so far ... nevermind that many of these folks signed as a family or other group, or that they do not live here to pay our taxes! (Please take note of that Greece BOE!) According to the petition, it is in response to: " ... a proposal on the Greece Central School District web site to begin closing kindergarten classrooms as of the 2010-2011 school year." I checked the website and failed to find such a "proposal."

The meeting features plans for up to 150 people/groups/families to speak. They'll be given a numbered ticket when they sign up. They will be called to the podium in order. When did the BOE start giving us commoners more than half-an-hour of time to address them?? This will be precedent setting if they allow it.

Child care is being provided by "some school staff." (GTA!?!? Nah, it can't be them!) Parents are encouraged to " WEAR RED or somthing West Ridge tonight to give a visual of our unity" on the Facebook page. Sound familiar? I wonder if these parents are emulating GTA who has FAILED to get a new contract using such tactics, or if GTA is encouraging the behavior. Personally, I don't recommend it. If they want to be taken seriously, they need to find a different way to make an impact. Arriving with a list of other budget cuts that make an even more significant impact would certainly help.

The entire shool board was invited, according to one Facebook comment. If that's the case, the BOE needs to remember that if 5 members attend it becomes an official BOE meeting and is subject to The Open Meetings Laws about posting, etc. Hopefully, the board President & VP should be more than enough representation to listen to and report back to the other 7 members on what is said. No actions or promises should be made tonight, none at all. Remember how after the hearing on Senior Tax Exemptions the BOE took two weeks before discussing and deciding the issue? I do ;)

I'm sure the 11 o'clock news (and next weeks D&C?) will update us about what transpires tonight ...

One reminder ... If you go, be careful in that crowded parking lot, folks. Like school-of-choice parents, those Toyotas have a mind of their own ;)

Speak-Out About School Structure Tonight

 
6PM @ West Ridge School

Meeting with Supt. Steven Achramovitch, BOE Pres. Patrick Tydings & VP Jeff Smith
Discussion about West Ridge School's future, loss of Kindergarten & closing

HERE'S YOUR CHANCE TO SPEAK-UP & SPEAK OUT!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Let's "Save" W Ridge By Closing Parkland

 
Out of all of Greece's elementary schools, Parkland Elementary School is the most under-subscribed, historically. In the past, waiting lists for Pinebrook were filled with names of those seeking to exit Parkland, more so than the other elementary schools. Parkland's reputation seems to be clouded only by its proximity to a very large housing complex for low income folks where many of its students reside. 

On the other hand, West Ridge's popularity remains strong 20 yrs. after reopening as a school-of-choice. Despite the ongoing controversy over this type of school format, the school's parents and staff claim they welcome diversity and that there is no discrimination in how schools-of-choice seek out or select their student body.

That's absolutely perfect, in my mind, because West Ridge parents now have an opportunity to put their money where their mouth is! I'll bet Parkland's incoming Kindergarten could easily be accommodated at West Ridge this Fall ... especially after we watch horrified West Ridge parents flee for other schools in the district ;)

Let's close Parkland School and move their students to West Ridge School ASAP. 
 

Outraged Parents Use Facebook To Organize

  
"Save West Ridge Kindergarten"

Facebook page features online petition & news links

Group plans meeting with Supt., BOE Prez & VP Wed @6PM at West Ridge School. All are welcome to attend.

Nikki Rudd from WHEC-TV reports Supt. Achramovitch refused to be interviewed on the topic. A video about the issue shows parent Jennifer Schrieb who says: "Shame on the fact that you did this behind our backs, and you haven't tried to put our kids first. You're putting your money issues first ... I think they're trying to get rid of the school in general, and I believe the plan is in three to five years is to have closed West Ridge in general."

Rochesterhomepage.net reports "the school is lauded by parents for small class size and high test scores."

West Ridge parent Melanie Williams asks: "They're talking about saving money but you would be sending two different elementary school buses to my house every morning to pick up my kids? So how is it that they are saving money?"

SCATS ~~ Parents in the rest of town who didn't win the lottery have their own questions about busing costs to schools-of-choice!

 

Monday, February 01, 2010

Can You Afford A 12-15% School Tax Increase?

  
This will be in addition to the increase the BOE already approved for those who do not get the increased Senior Income Exemption AND in addition to any increased assessment for which you've already been notified.

If these double digit numbers make you nervous, then please notify the Supt. Steve Achramovitch ASAP with YOUR LIST OF PROPOSED BUDGET REDUCTIONS.

Email him @  Steve.Achramovitch@greece.k12.ny.us