Sunday, April 11, 2010

Points To Ponder Regarding Greece BOE Elections, Budget Vote

The upcoming school board elections and budget vote in May could be the most crucial vote held in many years. The budget of $195,383,271 is as important for what it doesn't include, as it is for what it does include.
  • Among the $12+ million in reductions was funding for 77 employees, predominately counselors & teachers.
  • Elimination of the teaching positions raises class sizes & reduces course offerings.
  • Also eliminated are the school resource officers (GPD) stationed in the high schools. Discipline problems are sure to be more troublesome without them nearby.
  • Bussing for Pre-K got the ax,so if you want Pre-K for your kids, you'll have to get them there on your own.
  • Summer school is gone for both elementary & middle school students.
  • Young Audiences funding was eliminated.
  • Certain sports were supposedly cut (but I haven't heard specific mention of which ones).
Among the items retained in this budget is an extra $1,000,000 needed to continue bussing students to schools-of-choice!

Yes, you heard that right. The school board eliminated Summer School programs, raised class sizes and got rid of school resource officers, teachers and some counselors but will retain the $1 million in bussing needed to support the school-of-choice option which has no measurable academic benefit for the district!

Here's where who you vote for in the upcoming election becomes very important for two reasons. 
  • It's time to get some people on the school board who will finally DO SOMETHING about the wasted money we're paying to retain a private school setting for the MINORITY OF THE DISTRICT'S STUDENTS (less than 10%!). This means potential elimination of schools-of-choice, signature schools and possibly secondary option. It's already known that the cost of ending open enrollment AND providing transportation to the home school would cost about $480,000. Compared to the $1 million we're spending to transport to all of these current options, we'd save about $520,000 right away!
  • We need board members who will ensure that we bring a new superintendent to GCSD, one who is honest and willing to do what's needed and what's right to give Greece students a better education without bankrupting the Town's citizens. If Roger Boily's cronies get elected to the BOE, there is the potential that SIX VOTES will be available to offer Steven Achramovitch another contract ... unless a new superintendent is hired & under contract before July 1, 2010.
No matter what, we MUST get a better person to lead this district out of the educational quagmire we've created through years of irresponsible financial management and the political games played with our students. Here's a few eye-opening facts to consider about Greece schools:
  • Greece has two of the poorest performing high schools in all of Monroe County!
  • Greece has the shortest number of days of instruction in Monroe County!
  • Greece has the shortest school day in Monroe County!
  • Greece has one of the highest property taxes in the entire United States!
When the vote comes up this May, ask yourself :
  • "Can I afford to pay almost 8% more in taxes for schools that are trailing behind most of the others in Monroe County?"
  • "Can Greece schools thrive with the elimination of so many crucial classes and services and with raised class sizes?"
  • "Can I afford to vote for someone who wants to retain the district's current leadership and a more costly school structure to the detriment of the majority of the district's students?" (Remember the hockey coach scandal and the retention of kindergarten at West Ridge for an extra $150,000?)
  • "Can Greece schools improve under continuation of the current Superintendent's watch, when it has spiralled downhill under his previous years of service?"
I don't know about you, but I'm voting "NO" on the budget and I'm voting to support candidates that promote a major change in the status quo. I'm doing it "for the kids."


Anonymous said...

you give us all lot to think about.
Any idea when the regular folks will get a look at the phantom transportation report?
I'd love to see how the admin tries to "edit" the truth away.

Anonymous said...

Unless people are motivated to run for school board, it will be hard to make substantial changes.

SCATS said...

To 3:03PM ~~ Maybe if you bring 12 people to the budget presentation and out yell the WR people at Arcadia MS on Wed. night ;)

To 3:51PM ~~ There are at least 6 people that I'm aware of that are considering running. Can you believe it only requires 95 qualified signatures to get one's name on the ballot due to such low voter turnout last year? I'm stunned by that! Just 95!!

Anonymous said...

While the economy sank, Greece Administration pay skyrockets. Compare the 2008 and 2009 salaries of a few folks from the Greece Central School district. Did YOUR pay see a similar increase?

Name 2008$ - 2009$ Pct difference
Achramovitch $203,990 - $210,587 +3.1%
Mitchell $135,514 - $141,139 +4%
Pallas $135,199 - $140,567 +3.8%
Nadolinski $136,091 - $141,734 +4%
Sanderson $117,405 - $122,001 +3.8%
Alaimo $ 50,985 - $103,959 +51% (promotion)

Anonymous said...

This district needs to go back to having "neighborhood schools". It the most simple terms, if you live in a particular area, you go to a particular school. If you want to go to another school in town, you move to that area of town.
This will force the people in the local schools to get more involved. More involved parents will become more involved citizens. Right now, people have "ala carte" service.
The city has practiced the open enrollment model. Look at their results.....

SCATS said...

To 4:27PM ~~ It's even worse when you consider that Greece has such a high percentage of people living on fixed incomes! While I'm told "he earns every penny of it" where else, outside the public sector, do people get promotions that more than double their salaries? I'm still steaming over the $11,000 raise given the district clerk a few years ago. In fact, as I recall, three raises came to $20,000 that day. What was the "benefit to the district?"

Anonymous said...

Lets not forget the million or more they will spend on a national search for a new super. You can't tell me that they could'nt save the money and give the job to one of the second bannanas.

Anonymous said...

Scats - great job of laying out the key items in this budget.
I would add the damage the district has done by breaking up neighborhoods. Parents not knowing other parents in the same neighborhood. Gone is high school pride thanks to separated neighborhoods.
Again Scats - great job.

Anonymous said...

You put too much confidence in this community. Remember, these are the same people who reelected John Auberger.

SCATS said...

To 6:25PM ~~ They are using BOCES services so the cost is relatively low. I think they budgeted around $20,000, if I recall.

To 6:52PM ~~ Thank you. You're correct about how the neighborhoods have been divided. I didn't mean to minimize that.

To 7:07PM ~~ You are correct, which is why I didn't make any predictions. I merely laid out the problems and the numbers and what needs to be done to try to get GCSD back on track. The rest is up to the other 90,000+ residents to act upon ... or not.

Anonymous said...


Any word on how many candidates we have for our Super position?

Anonymous said...

It will be interesting who will run with Mr Smith. If you see slick high cost mailings & lots of signs, watch out. That means the fix is on.

SCATS said...

To 8:16PM ~~ I've heard nothing, but I know there is an executive session scheduled for Monday night "to discuss the employment history of particular person(s)."

Anonymous said...

Great summary, SCATS. Thanks for putting it together!

I can afford an 8% tax increase but thast is not the issue. An 8% increase is immoral in this economic climate.

This proposed budget (spending) is the number one issue board candidates need to weigh in on!

Anonymous said...

rumor has it Ann Mitchell has applied. that is the last thing the district needs - a throw back to the Walts/Keller-Cogan era. I hear none of the unions what a thing to do with her.

SCATS said...

To 7:56AM ~~ You're welcome. By the way, since you can afford the 8%, would you pay my increase too? :D

How do you feel about that kind of increase knowing that the BOE has over $11 million in reserve funds they are sitting on just in case things get "bad?" I'm told that using $2 million of the unappropriated fund balance would reduce the tax levy increase below 6%. But the BOE remains tight-fisted with OUR $$ that they "saved."

Anonymous said...

Attention State of New York and Greece Central School District!

The country of Greece is being required to cut all public salaries by 10% as well as other employment cuts in order to obtain loans from central banks to save their economy from collapse.

I hope the various public unions in New York are paying attention also.

Jeffrey Cagwin said...

I know everyone thinks that neighborhood schools will solve everything. I will "Maybe" cut down on transportation. It will not

"force the people in the local schools to get more involved"

The people in the Greece District have give up. I do understand why. When we vote on the budget and say "NO". the board adopts the budget anyway. That tells the people of this district that we do not care what you said. This is what we want.

We need people running for board that are not in it for photo ops. we need people that do not spend $14,000.00 to get elected. "buying the vote"

We need concerned parents and community members that want to guide the education of our children.

We have over 80,000 residents in Greece. I would like to see at least a 80% voting rate. Then we can say that the people are getting involved.

SCATS said...

To Jeffrey ~~ My understanding is that about $500,000 would be saved on transportation if school-of-choice & signature schools were eliminated and children were placed back into their home school boundary.

I think what neighborhood schools would help "resolve" is what Charlie Hubbard and others have said about people being divided because of the current situation. People don't know their neighbors and the kids don't even play together. I do think that if we went to neighborhood schools there would be an uptick in involvement when people come to know what's going on two streets over or just down the block. At this point, schools-of-choice have outlived the purpose they were designed to alleviate. Time to move forward with something else.