Monday, May 24, 2010

BOE Remains Indecisive On Budget Plan As They Begin To Recognize Their Own Dysfunction

   
They will meet again Wednesday at 6:30PM to look at Supt's recommendations (without restrictions by BOE on where to cut from) for further cuts to bring the tax rate increase down to 3.5%. Thursday is the deadline to get any revote advertisement to the newspaper in time to have another vote.

The defeated budget plan was below the required caps for declaring a contingency budget, but another $1.1-1.2 million must be eliminated in capital improvements, equipment purchases, etc. to make it a contingency plan.

"We need feedback from the community ... It comes down to the fact that we need to make hard cuts." ~~ Sean McCabe

"We got a lot of feedback, in the form of the exit polls." ~~ Frank Oberg

"It's becoming us vs. them ... maybe it's been that way for awhile ... We (the BOE) are the "How To" book on how not to do things." ~~ Julia VanOrman

"3.5% is artificial ... We are the poster child for not working together." ~~ Roger Boily

SCATS ~~ The first step to recovery is recognizing you have a problem. Two out of 9 have said they have a problem ... Stay tuned!
 

48 comments:

Ben said...

Yo, SCATS.

The soap opera continues.

I thought you guys knew enough not to vote down your school budget since its the best way to get an even higher one passed.

Of course, it has to be fun watching the tap dance, stumbling and all.

I have a friend who just closed on a Fanny Mae foreclosure handled by a Realtor who is specializing in unloading them for the agency.

He had an initial 50 assigned to him and they just said he'd be getting another 150 real soon. He's not the only approved vendor doing them in the Roc region.

The new sales prices are going to shock the townships' more than the city's assessors. Lotta full-value assessment challenges coming in the near future as these properties hit the rolls.

Meanwhile, Nero fiddles.

a resident of The Nation of Brighton

Anonymous said...

Let's break up the town and start all over again. I will move to any new entity that doesn't include the residences of Auberger and Boily

We could have the town of Barnard
Megachurchia in the Latta Road area
and Fucillia on the ridge

Can't be worse

SCATS said...

To "greececsdparent" who emailed me ~~ Did you want your comments posted? You didn't say.

To Ben ~~ I recently noticed a trend in home prices that sell far below the assessed value. I've been comparing the listed sale prices as posted by the D&C with the new assessments posted via the county clerk's website. There are a good number of homes assessed between $8000 and $38,000 MORE than what they've sold for in recent weeks. Seems like some folks are getting taken to the cleaners. It PAYS to protest those assessments ;)

Ben said...

While we're at it, friend, we might as well get some class envy going.

Have you been noticing the above $350-400K range is near dead. The $850-1M range is really dead, with inventories of expired listing properties backlogging until "better times."

So, wait 'til those owners (many of whom are hoping to follow Golisano and snatch a depressed sale in Venice, FL) bite the bullet and leverage down their sale.

This is the calm before the storm in the upper end market.

There just aren't the incoming executives to buy these places any more and the existing ones are sitting tight on what they have rather than bumping up during these uncertain times.

Anonymous said...

So.
I listened intently to the BOE meeting tonight hoping to hear some discussion on ways to honor the vote of the people of Greece.
What I heard was yet more grandstanding and speech-making. There were very few solutions offered aside from removing the "non-contingent" items and reducing the unappropriated fund balance. McCabe sounded like normal, does he ever offer anything remotely constructive.  Boily sounded like he still thought the budget was too low. Gale sounded like a wind bag. Pat sounded lost and confused. Julia sounded like just maybe she understood what the public thinks. Was Jeff Smith even there?  Frank came across as well intentioned and well informed.
They all seemed to be looking for solutions and finding none.
Here is the solution.
1.  Sit all of the "bargaining units" in one room.
2.  Tell them that the district tried, but the communtiy can't accept the current budget and the ditstric needs to reduce.
3.  Reductions can happen in two ways.
     A.  All accept a salary freeze for 2010-2011, or
     B.  The reduction in spending will be achieved through the reduction of headcount.

If the "baragining units" fail to offer meaningful concessions, then the BOE should follow through with layoffs.

Yes it might be tough, yes we might have increased class sizes, but everyone will know why.

If they do agree, then the BOE will have a repreive and can actually begin to sit down like adults and make some decisions about the future structure of the district.

Perhaps they can finally see the light.    

Anonymous said...

Sorry folks - 3.5% will get voted down again. The same people will come out to vote again and they will be even more angry the second time around. Why are the BOE members not willing to make those hard choices they keep talking about? Why are they putting it all back on the Superintendent? My guess is nobody wants to be the bad guy. Well then why are you sitting there? Why do you not RESPECT THE EXIT POLLS?

Anonymous said...

To Ben...distressed and short sales and auction sales at the banks' reserve will not get you a lower assessment at the town level. They will just say you got a "hell of a deal" and keep your assessment the same.
And I did not mean "you" specifically of course because your vicinity could never have people not able to pay their mortgage.

Anonymous said...

Transportation for signature schools and open enrollment MUST stop come Sept. and tranportation for schools of choice should stop next Sept.
If you want your kid to go to a school outside your area YOU get them there - don't ask the taxpayers to pay for it - no educational value here.
The district and or board wanted the surveys. Are you going to "use" them or not?

Anonymous said...

The idea McCabe or anyone on this BOE stating that community input is neede is a freaking joke, and very telling. As Oberg mentions, "EXIT POLLS"! How much money was spent on them, and how can McCabe act as if they don't exist? That's your community input McCabe, you j*rk *ff!

Anonymous said...

I will support a budget with 3.5% cuts as long as the cuts are not seen a politically motivated (ie making cuts only at programs that they know the public really wants).

If the cuts are artifical,that is they use too much of reserve funds, they will have a serious creditability problem.

Anonymous said...

I understand the need for proper notice before we can have a revote, but who/how was the June date set? Can't it be any date the board decides on prior to the time to set the tax rate?

Anonymous said...

There is at least one big $1,000,000 assessment in greece

Anonymous said...

Unless the administration can threaten and then attempt to bribe the GTA members to come out in droves to vote yes so they get a new contract, the result will be the same this time. There may be even more no voters that are angry that they didn't get the message and are making us vote again. See how many people they get to work the polls. Of course that may be the strategy. It is so easy to fake the votes with the new system of not having a signature already in the book to compare. And there is no running tally of voters separate from the machine. I predict a close vote that really wins after the polls close at a very sympathetic location. Amazing what a 28 changed to an 82 will buy you if there is no recount. And after the polls close who is to say that some choice parents don't take a bullet for the team and just vote yes an extra 50 times? Easy. After all it's for the kids.
The only way to check if there are extra votes at any polling place is to have a recount that allows the complainant to see the machines and look through the books to see the signatures. Of course it would be easy to fake those too. Nothing to compare them too. And no way to contact
Gotta hand it to them. It will probably pass this time.

Anonymous said...

Anything to keep from having to make a tough decission. "We need input from the community" PHONY

Lets not forget the comment made by the super last night about how he made a decission on some cuts like the Westridge kindergarden and the board stuck it to him.
We want cuts, just not "those" cuts.
If Roger does not want any more cuts in the classroom then he better stand up and address this insane amount of bussing we are doing (finally).
Everybody wants to keep their little FETISH items, well the reality is we can no longer afford your little FETISH items.

Anonymous said...

YES,YES,YES

The alternative is just unacceptable!

Ben said...

To Anonymous:

True, Brighton's upper end home real estate market is being bolstered by its proximity to Strong and the U of R,much the same way Greece used to be by proximity to Kodak.

But I wouldn't count on the affect of widespread deflation in housing prices over time not affecting the overall comparable values for like sized homes in a region's assessment districts.

This may be a foreign idea for Greece's assessment office, given its stellar track record as of late (I know that's not fair because "nobadie never knows nutin" in that town hall.)

Mr. Golisano, now a resident of sunny FL, has had his assessment reduced on a home in Victor from 6M to 3.65M because it wasn't not selling at the previous levels.

He's going to court to challenge the 3.65M value. He says he's doing it for those of use who can't afford the lawyers like he can.

http://www.penfieldpost.com/latestnews/x1447161005/Billionaire-Tom-Golisano-wants-his-assessment-lowered

Anonymous said...

I don't get it how can the exit polls cost anything?

Anonymous said...

While I agree that we should reconsider the bussing all over, some fail to acknowledge how little the bussing is when looked at as a percentage of the $195mil budget.

SCATS said...

To 5:17AM ~~ Good question. I've been wondering the same thing myself. I've heard no discussion of the date, merely that it is June 15th. Maybe it has to do with Steve's "retirement."

To 8:17AM ~~ If asked, I suspect district office would say it costs employee time to compile, print, distribute, collect and tally the exit polls. Then there is the cost of the paper and ink ;)

SCATS said...

To 11:04AM ~~ It doesn't matter if it's "little" or not. This district's budget ballooned with small increments/changes and it can be brought under control with small increments/changes, too.

Anonymous said...

The state sets the re-vote date. Any school district that decides to re-vote a budget has to vote on June 15. You have no choice.

SCATS said...

To 11:15AM ~~ That idea had occurred to me. It kind of makes me wonder why the BOE sat on the budget situation for nearly a week given the time constraints, but they do seem to enjoy bellyaching about it ... esp. Mr. Smith.

Anonymous said...

The Supt has been sent off and told to trim another 2-3 million. That shouldn't be hard to do for a "lame duck" who doesn't have to face the real cost of what he does. He can take some from reserves (hardly a sustainable cut) and cut the capital improvements and maintenance budget (again not a cut, just a deferral). He can probably underestimate the cost of utilities and trim the budgeted item there...Easy for someone who will be gone when the real costs come in.

The point is that the only sustainable cost reductions are real cuts. Since about 75% of the budget are the costs for labor (salary and benefits) we either cut the number of employees, including administrators, restructure the annual step-wise salary raises in the current budget, or find a way to share the benefit costs. Given the amount of time available (now that Nero has finally finished fiddling)it looks like staff reductions are in order.

Long term we could close a school or two and place a cap on the total dollars we, the taxpayers, will pay for benefits (like EK and X did several years ago). But those are longer term cuts, like for next year if we get started working on them now.

SCATS said...

To 2:15PM ~~ He may be a "lame duck" in theory, but Boily & his crew could keep him working for another 3 yrs. He doesn't want to bite those hands, just in case.

Anonymous said...

I disagree as per the small reductions make big change. When 70% or more is driven by salary and benefits even if we eliminated bussing the tax rate would still be high.

SCATS said...

To 3:50PM ~~ I think you missed the overall point. We didn't get into this mess overnight. Small changes over time, contractual or otherwise, are what put us where we are now. We didn't suddenly wake up one morning with a $200 million budget to bring under control. Negotiations on contracts continually chip away (and give away) our economic stability as a large school district. Small changes in the opposite direction are needed and must be made whenever they appear. It's OK to omit small unnecessary items EVEN IF they amount to a fraction of the overall budget. They will add up over time.

Anonymous said...

3:50, you may also wish to consider, rather than avoid, the fact that the school-of-choice bussing, which has been almost assuredly underestimated at $1,000,000 annually, goes for NOTHING. What positive does it give us in terms of student academic results? That is why are kids go to school, right? Would you say that teachers and front line school staff help to produce results… then why are we cutting there? How about program “X” or sport “Y”, is it fair to say that they help to form more well rounded people… then why are we looking to cut there as well? It is an elitist and arguably racist “pet” of our district’s establishment that does nothing more than rip neighborhoods apart.

Anonymous said...

To 3:50 But if we got rid of the bussing and the schools of choice we would have 3 fewer sets of staff to pay . That would cut away at some of that 70%.

Anonymous said...

So 3;50 what would you do?

Anonymous said...

Apparently McCabe hasn't been listening or reading the exit polls for the past two years.

Since 2006, there has been one common theme in exit polls - excessive busing costs, eliminate open enrollment, eliminate the secondary option, signature schools and schools of choice, establish neighborhood schools where possible. These expensive programs serving only 6% of our school population at the expense of the other 94% is not fair.

In addition to these expensive programs, the district could easily close a few schools, West Ridge is one and either Parkland or Brookside, the other.

These decisions would take some guts on the part of a proven gutless, clueless board however!!

Anonymous said...

I am a school of choice parent.
I could be in favor of ending the program, but where is the plan? Pinebrook and westridge would add over 900 children to the elementary school population. Where will those kids fit? How large will classes be? A similar discussion can be had about closing Odyssey.
Show me a plan for closure and I could support such a move, but let's not pretend that even begins to solve our problem.
As demonstrated by the transportation report that you all like to reference, the larger portion of bussing money is spent ferrying children across town to the babysitter's house. Are we going to end that practice as well?

SCATS said...

To 7:09PM ~~ Why do we need "a plan" to close down a couple of elementary schools when we already know the district can accomodate around 16,000 students based on the design capacities of the buildings? In fact, just a few years ago, there were well over 14,000 students attending schools here. We send the school-of-choice students where they would otherwise go had there been no Pinebrook or West Ridge. Most of you "option" parents know EXACTLY what the other school would be ;)

As far as bussing to/from babysitters goes, it is beyond time to reel in that whale, too. As I've stated before, we can no longer afford to be all things to all families. A taxi service is one of those things we can't do any longer.

I'm wondering, where is the district on ridding our schools of students who don't reside in Greece? It's been well over a year since we heard anything on that topic. At that time, there were "investigations" into a couple of dozen situations. What happened?

Anonymous said...

Scats,
you're right, why should we have a "plan"?

Wouldn't want anyone to actually think about how to manage a transition that will affect 20% of the children in the district. (that includes all of the kids taking advantage of signature schools and secondary option).

Wouldn't want to have a "plan" to deal with empty buildings, unused busses, repurposing classrooms in existing buildings, changing enrollment and class selection for high school students.

Let's just play it by the seat of our pants....seems to have worked well or district so far.

SCATS said...

To 7:54PM ~~ "Plan" ... "study" ...
"consultant" ... "committee" ... all of these words waste time, money & manpower. Show me a place where any of them have resulted in a significant payback for our district in the last 15 yrs. I bet you can't ;) The transportation "study" is an excellent and recent example. THREE YEARS AGO the BOE adopted a resolution directing the supt. to look into ALL school option arrangements, transportation for them etc. THREE YEARS LATER ... i.e. NOW we have a partial "study" on a portion of the resolution with NO EXPLANATION for the delay or the incompleteness of the "study." Of course, it wouldn't matter anyway, since it's pretty obvious our BOE has NO INTENTIONS of upsetting the whole applecart if they can get away with upsetting just one or two barrels instead. Then they will say: "See? We did something!"

Sorry, but I've seen enough that I've become tough to impress.

Anonymous said...

Scats,
so your solution is scrap the current system close a few schools and the kids will figure it out?

Anonymous said...

I think I found a consultant that Greece could hire in order to help assist in the apparently mind-bending project of eliminating school of choice, and returning to neighborhood schools. I would use the consulting group of Use The Border Plans From Twenty Freakin' Years Ago, based right here in Greece's district office (I'm sure). With this as a general guideline, plus minor changes do to population growth or decline in certain areas of town, it could probably be DONE in about a week or two. Rocket science?... not exactly. I bet these consultants could also throw in the bussing plan for free!

Anonymous said...

The problem with the previous "plans", "studies", etc. Is that they did not have a goal, or an end-game.

If the board can make a decision that they will end schools of choice, signature schools, secondary option; then a suitable, viable, achievable PLAN can be implemented to that end.

Previous studies, plans, consultants were searching for the problem not for the road to a solution.

Anonymous said...

If I complete a study and report the results, what will I have to do afterward?
-A

SCATS said...

To 8:23PM ~~ My solution is let the Supt. do his job! It amazes me to know that we pay him one of the highest salaries for any public employee in Monroe County but then refuse to let him & his also highly paid cabinet work for their compensation. Like 8:44PM says, it isn't rocket science. It's merely reversing a portion of what we changed before. I'm sure our district's archives of documents can be dusted off & used. If all else fails, ask Don Nadolinski. He was here before Pinebrook was built & opened.

Anonymous said...

Scats,
just for clarity...
You're solution is to let the superintendant do his job?

Would this be the same superintendant that you have railed against for years?
The same superintendant that you actively campaigned against on this blog, by supporting BOE candidates who would not extend him?
The same superintendant you can't wait to be rid of?

Sounds like a great idea.

SCATS said...

To 10:05PM ~~ You forgot to mention the same Supt. who attempted to start us on this path by redistributing West Ridge's kindergartners for next school year. He had it right. He knows how to do it. It's a matter of the BOE allowing him the lattitude to succeed ;)

Anonymous said...

I agree with you Ben. Financial analysts have been making your prediction, albeit rather silently, for a while now. But the bubble is about to burst. Anyone who doubts that should spend a day in the County Clerk's office and look at the deeds being filed by the fistfuls.

still laughing at greece said...

Welcome to the SCATS Waffle House.

The fact that "S" can't manage in this environment is proof that he doesn't have the skills to.

SCATS said...

To 6:04AM ~~ Excuse me! SCATS has NOT "waffled." I've always said that the TWO TIMES Steve did his job correctly and without someone telling him what to do, the BOE smacked him for it! Once was for the hockey coach firings and the other was with eliminating West Ridge's kindergarten. Our BOE loves a puppet. That's why Ms. Dyce-Faucette will never get hired here ;)

Anonymous said...

Steve doesn't have the spine to lead properly. If he did, the BoE wouldn't have smacked his bare rump in such a public way. Man up and move on with whatever dignity you can muster, Stevie.

I'd like orange juice with that waffle.

SCATS said...

To 5:52PM ~~ I agree that he is no "leader" but neither are most on the BOE. I said he knows how to get these kids back to the schools in their neighborhood. You lose out on breakfast, lunch & dinner ;)

Anonymous said...

And yet, those kids aren't back in those schools. His skills to deliver (lead people to success) are nonexistent.

I'll leave a place next to me at the table. Let's break some bread. :)

SCATS said...

To 5:34AM ~~ Stick a fork in it. Steve can't do anything the BOE won't allow him to do. They are the boss of him ... and us, too ;)