Wednesday, May 19, 2010

BOE Plans Special Meeting

BREAKING NEWS!! ~ Roger Boily blames Albany, but shares voter's frustrations!    
He "forgot" to mention that he "wasn't sure" if we could afford that 7% tax hike!

  Monday, May 24th
Executive Session planned at 5:30PM
Special Meeting starts at 6:30PM

The BOE will be discussing what to do about the budget.

SCATS suggests they each bring a pair of large, sharp scissors to help them ;)


Anonymous said...

Thank you sweet Jesus for that great turn out.

I can't wait to read the poll results especially the comments. I hope we get access to them real soon!

SCATS said...

To 2:51PM ~~ So much for separation of church & state ;)

Anonymous said...

Other than reduce staff and defer a few bus purchases and repairs, there really isn't much that can be done to make a major impact on this year's budget. I would be surprised if they can reduce our tax increase by much at all.
What I do hope is that the planners start looking at next year's budget and seriously look at the expense vs ANY EDUCATIONAL BENEFIT of the following:
1. School of choice
2. K-2 and 3-5 vs. K-6
3. Open schools of choice vs neighborhood
4. Field trips
5.Free Pre-K
6. Outsourcing transportation and lunch programs
7. Identifying and closing one "extra" school now that population is dropping

You get the idea? Let's look hard at some programs that cost us big dollars and prevent us from focusing on the real purpose of running a school system. It will take a year or more of planning, but for Pete's sake, let's get started!

SCATS said...

To 4:27PM ~~ I beg to differ with you if you meant the 2010-2011 budget when you said " ... there really isn't much that can be done to make a major impact on this year's budget."

There are 3 1/2 months between now and the start of school in the fall. They CAN trim extra-curriculars, but will they? They CAN eliminate the need to pay many stipend positions in doing so, but will they? They CAN eliminate busing for before & after school for activities, sports, etc, but will they? They CAN close down a building or two (like Barnard), but will they? They CAN eliminate field trips, pre-K programs, kindergarten (it's NOT mandated), reduce legal expenses, eliminate all travel for administration/BOE ... yada, yada, yada, but will they? They CAN apply $1 million or more from their reserve funds to reducing the tax rate, but will they? (For every $1 million, it reduces the tax rate by about 1%.)All it takes is a backbone!

By the way, who are you trying to kid with closing just ONE school? We've lost over 2000 students! That's a minimum of 2-3 buildings that should be taken offline.

Anonymous said...

Did they offer exit polls? I know that at English Village we were not offered one.

SCATS said...

To 4:47PM ~~ Yes there were exit polls at some locations. There were none when I voted either. I believe the BOE will have the info from those available before they meet on Monday.

A side note, someone told me they thought the wording of some questions on those polls could be considered electioneering if anyone were see the poll before voting. Apparently, several questions were on the order of "Did you know the budget up for vote is lower than last year's budget?" or "Do you realize there is no budget increase despite the tax levy increase?" I think it's time to make sure our elections are conducted entirely professionally again. Keep the on-camera TV interviews away from polls!

Anonymous said...

Just the existence of the slanted poll sheets at the polling places within the 100 ft was enough for it to be electioneering. They had a question that said "were you aware that the spending of this years budget was less than last year's budget" and another question "if no then would that have changed how you voted?"
Sounds like an attempt to sway the votes toward yes from the administration paid for by the administration on school grounds and during the vote. Games they play.

Graehaven said...

They won't and cannot eliminate busing for sports and extra-curricular activities due to NYS DOT transport laws. ANYTHING associated with the school, students MUST be bused. It's the law.

But again, that too is NOT really where they need to cut / trim the budget. There's a LOT of other places they can cut.

SCATS said...

To Graehaven ~~ I'm not sure what you are referring to regarding DOT law but NY State does NOT mandate bussing for everything. For example, we just eliminated pre-k bussing but have retained the pre-K classes.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to channels 10 and 13. They highlighted the Greece tax rate increase on each of their news casts starting Monday evening and continuing all day Tuesday. I think this was a major factor in this budget defeat.

Anonymous said...

The article states, "The defeated $195 million plan did not increase spending over this year, yet still came with a 7.6 percent increase in the tax levy."

And later states, "Achramovitch said Greece has already calculated a baseline contingency budget of about $194 million."

That's their contingency? $1 million less is their bare-bones budget?!?! I remember the 'austerity' budgets of the late 70's early '80s that cut the budget down to the bone and while I was a student during those times here in Greece learned to do w/o many of the programs that were canceled because of the budget.

This is insane:
School Superintendent Steven Achramovitch said the budget defeat was frustrating. "We put a ton of information out there, held community meetings and didn't get a negative response," he said.

He and the BOE must truly have lost touch with the community. I haven't had a raise in 2 years. My wife lost her job last month. We are now having to consider 'doing w/o' as our household income is now 1/2 of what it was and that may include selling the home that we have been in for the last 10 years.

I have lived my whole life (except 4 years at college) as a Greece resident. The last 20 years as a home owner. Nearly that entire time I've voted to support the school budget. But when the report came out that Monroe County was in the top 5 most taxed counties in the US and Greece one of the highest taxed towns in the county I began to realize that something is very wrong here.

Anonymous said...

Scats I think the point may have been that if the school offers lets say soccer...they must provided the bussing for games.

It is the same as to why secondary option kids are bussed. WIth having schools of choice and providing bussing, they must provide for all kids going to a school that is a "choice" as per the NYS law.

NYS law does not require bussing for pre-k.

I have to say after much thought the bussing is a very small percentage of a $195 million dollar budget. I would like to see more done in reduction if the largest part of our budget, the compensation packages. If that makes up over 70% of the budget we are voting on very little.

I am not saying that there are not area we can save money and probably should as in closing school.

Anonymous said...

I have to wonder about the enrollment in the pre-k program - is it even worth keeping? I have a child eligible for it in Sept, but we choose to use (and pay for) a private preschool at our church. I actually got a call from someone at Paddy Hill asking if we were going to send in our application, etc. It made me think that perhaps the pre-k enrollment is way down. I've NEVEr been called before.

SCATS said...

To 4:01AM ~~ It was about time they made it "news." GCSD did everything possible to avoid mentioning the 7.6% levy increase and the 6.9% tax rate increase. When they did mention it, they used some bogus double-speak about the "average Greece home" worth $100,000 which was wrong! Even their correction contained errors.

SCATS said...

To Graehaven ~~ There appears to be something wrong that your comments aren't coming through on BLOGGER since yesterday morning. Today I got the comment on the Comment Moderation area of BLOGGER, but not in my email. It did NOT post here when I attempted to do so and since I have no copy, I can't cut & paste it from my email like I did once yesterday. You might want to contact BLOGGER about it.

SCATS said...

Regarding bussing, sports, extra-curriculars & secondary option ~~ I think you folks are a bit confused on a few issues. First of all, DOT Law has nothing to do with who we bus. It's NY State Education Law.

On the issue of sports, about a dozen yrs. ago, NY State changed things so that sports and transportation (to school & home) could be included in budgets and contingent budgets. It prevents districts from separating those items out to use as blackmail to get their budgets passed. It means that even on contingency budgets, sports & transportation are included in the budget. I do not believe they are in any way linked together though.

It is my understanding that we are NOT required to provide transportation to or from non-mandated programs. Grades 1-12 are mandated programs. Grades pre-K & K are NOT mandated. Thus we were able to eliminate bussing for pre-K, but retain the program in the budget that we just voted on. This is likely why enrollment for pre-K next year is falling - no buses, no takers.

We are not mandated to offer sports programs, as far as I'm aware. Therefore, we are NOT mandated to provide transportation for them either. I'm fairly certain the same is true about most extra-curriculars. The exception may be for music programs where attendance is required and contributes towards a grade & credit for the class.

Transportation for secondary option became an issue when Odyssey opened. Some parents threatened to sue if Greece didn't also provide transportation to students choosing a secondary school outside their attendance area, like Olympia, Athena & Arcadia. Previously, the district did NOT bus secondary option students. Because GCSD did provide buses for students who chose to attend Odyssey at the high school level, they had to begin bussing other secondary option students too. Under the law, if you bus kids in one high school with special circumstances like we created, you must do it for all high school students in that district who choose a different option. You can not discriminate.

Hopefully this clears up a few things :)

SCATS said...

To 7:56AM ~~ Before the vote, the BOE was given figures by Lou Alaimo (their finance guy) about the expenses GCSD would have to eliminate from the budget we just voted on to make it legal if we declared contingency. Under a contingent budget, they must eliminate certain expenses including money for certain equipment purchases & capital repairs that are NOT safety related. There is also a cap they must heed as outlined on the back of the Connection newsletter. Anyway, the list of items that they came up with totaled around $1.19 million as I recall. So there's your "best case" scenario for a contingent budget. Of course, they are free to cut even more. Want to bet lunch that they don't? ;)

Charlie Hubbard said...

The voters said NO - now what?
Don't even think about contingency budget.
Yes there is little time and decissions will need to be made without committees or studies.
Yes the easy and lazy way would be to go to contingency - but wait - the voters said NO - then put together a second budget and vote again.
So many sacraficed to give us the right to vote - thank god 'they' didn't take the easy way out.
The vote MUST be respected.


Anonymous said...

To Scats at 10:29 And if we did not have Odyssey at all we could eliminate bussing for all the secondary option. We also could eliminate secondary option.
At the elementary level we are bussing to the magnet signature schools. But if we eliminated all bussing outside the regular elementary boundary and parents still wanted the tykes to attend a different school because of signature or sitter or just because, they could just drive or car pool their own kids. In fact there are many "entitled" parents in Greece that can afford to pay someone to drive their kids.

SCATS said...

To 10:55AM ~~ We could also keep Odyssey but eliminate ALL secondary option bussing, forcing Odyssey high schoolers to walk. There are many "options" to consider!

Anonymous said...

I thought of that too but didn't say it in case the choice schools support group had dolls with pins.

And Charlie I love your impression of the FIX IT guy on SNL. Yes they should fix it, but they won't.