Thursday, May 20, 2010

Tell The Supt. & BOE To "Do Over" The Budget & Let Us Revote It

 
As time passes following Tuesday's Greece school budget defeat, I'm getting a growing, nagging feeling that our BOE & Supt. will attempt to whack out that $1.19 million or so identified pre-vote day as being "non-contingent worthy," and declare a contingency budget Monday night. It's the easy way out. Very tempting, I'm sure, given the alternative. Starting over and really doing the right thing by the students would take time, courage and committment. I don't envision Roger Boily, Sean McCabe or Jeff Smith with the fortitude needed to accomplish such a feat, at least not unless they feel some intense pressure. We already know they cave in when that's applied.

So here's your chance to be heard and do your part. If you want them to re-do the budget and put it out for a revote, you better let them know! I'll list their email addresses below to make it easy. PLEASE send it to each and every one of them, so they can't misplace any. Thank you!


   

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have no idea how to manage the district out of this (or any) mess. Let me tell you what the Board of Education will do (if I can convince them to): declare an austerity budget that is the same as the budget that failed.

There won't be a damn thing that anyone can do about it. Greece gets a 1-year reprieve while they figure out who to hire. THEY will have to deal with an even bigger deficit.

What do I care? I've "already left".

-S

Anonymous said...

The board vote on the budget was 5-4. Those 5 were wrong as it turned out.
Those 5 it would seem know little of the mood of the community.
It is time those 5 stand up like adults, admit they were wrong and help produce a budget that does reflect the mood of the community.

Anonymous said...

Aren't there 2 new people on the board that should be allowed to offer their opinions? Race and O'Connor. Any idea how to get messages to them? Maybe through the clerk.

SCATS said...

To 9:09PM ~~ I agree! But I'm not holding my breath. If people write and/or call the BOE, it would be a BIG HELP.

To 10:54PM ~~ There are two people elected to fill seats that are not vacant yet. The current members terms do not end until June 30th. I think it's perhaps appropriate that they get to sit in on Exec. Sessions, but their opinions would be two too many yet ;)

Anonymous said...

In my opinion,this travesty rests squarely on the egos of individual BOE members. How do you go through months of budget meetings and forums, micromanage SA's recommendations, and then put out a budget with a 5-4 split with some of the BOE saying it cut too much, some saying it cut too little and some saying the process was flawed? Their failure to come together caused this and listening to some of their incomprehensible babble I'm not sure what SA could do to get them to act reasonably. Sure it is important to have checks and balances on a board but this is ridiculous. Of course few trust any decision they make. Do we really think the current super candidates will be able to get the boe (their employer) in line to focus on real solutions? The minute a new super tries to direct them away from their conflicting pet agendas, that person signs his own terminiation papers. This system makes no sense.

Anonymous said...

My message to the board:


Dear Mr and Mrs Greece school board member: (and interested others):

The contingent budget numbers published by the district look very suspicious. Those figures represent exactly one million dollars removed from capital spending and exactly $60k out of instruction; I am suspicious those figures are merely WAGS. I suggest you verify those figures before making any decisions.

Also, keep in mind the district is using figures that represent the largest budget allowed under a contingent budget, and not the minimum budget as some have inferred.

Remember, a contingent budget does restrict what you can spend money on. If a lower budget is approved by the voters, you will have more spending flexibility.

However any budget proposal that does not reflect the sentiments of the community will foster resentment. You should seriously consider an alternative budget to be voted on by the public.

Given the current climate in Greece, I strongly urge you to hire an interim superintendent.
It is obvious the search you conducted failed and more time is needed to improve the chances of getting a strong leader for our district. Any new leader should be hired knowing the outcome of this budget vote and have access to the comments on the surveys taken during the vote. It is obvious the voting public does not approve of the budget decisions made by the current school board. It would not be a streach to believe the public would also question any superintendent decision made by this same board. In the name of community good will, you should not be making any permandent superintendent decision as at this time. I hope you will agree.


Tom Kackmeiser

SCATS said...

To Tom Kackmeister ~~ You make an excellent point about GCSD using the largest allowable contingency budget. In this district, ALL cuts are seen as "bad." That simply is not the case! With 2000+ fewer students than several years ago, downsizing Greece Central is imperative! With reductions in State Aid, it becomes even more critical to right-size throughout the district. It's too bad that our budget process is driven by BOE member agendas, special interest groups and other emotionally charged factors instead of a process guided by a long range plan that focuses on EDUCATION. As always, the kids lose.

Anonymous said...

Keep up the good work SCATS. You've done your part to help get the budget to fail (a worse one will be put in place), turned over control of the board to Julia's team (oh my) and are poised to help get the worst possible superintendant placed in the top position (RCSD? Are you kidding?).

Some might ask what you want our children to have such a horrible education system serving them. If you get your way, our children will have an even worse system than we have now. Did you get held back a grade at a Greece school growing up?

Anonymous said...

I think we should ask the 4 board members that voted no for the first budget to decide what to cut. If you listened to the meetings you would know that o'toole and vanorman had no ideas, just couldn't support cutting anything! Their job as board members is to suggest solutions not just throw up their hands.

SCATS said...

To 8:59AM ~~ You forgot to blame me for the loss of State Aid, Albany's late budget, Achramovitch's lies in the Connection, Boily's claim that he thought Greece could afford the 7.6% levy increase, GTA's refusal to take a pay/benefit freeze, the unsettled contract, the lawsuits against the district, sunspots, tsunamis, volcanoes & oil rig explosions ;)

By the way, who the heck comprises "Julia's team" ?

Anonymous said...

julia's team is ferrington, o'toole, oberg, and race.

SCATS said...

To 2:16PM ~~ If those 4 are "a team" it's news to me. The fact is, I've supported Joe Grinnan for the past 2 yrs. Beth Race isn't my top pick to be on the BOE ... by a long shot. It was only in the last couple of days before the election that I changed from my "pull levers 6 & 7" stance. I doubt I had much impact on her win, just as I doubt I had much impact on Grinnan's loss.

8:59AM credits me with great power. That's amusing since this BLOG's name has never been uttered at a BOE meeting as far as I'm aware ;)

Anonymous said...

And Julia's "team" brings us what?

Julia's team believes in what? Different from Roger's team in what way?

Anonymous said...

Those four on a team? LOL Too funny! Oberg is frequently a lone voice. Julia operates from Albany's world. Beth Race ran to preserve West Ridge. O'Toole enjoys hearing her own voice blather on. Even if they were a team, they'd still be in the minority. Getting rid of Jeff Smith is a huge improvement.

Anonymous said...

It is a team of don't close ant schools even if enrollment is dwindling. Schools are going to have to be closed and tough choices that are not popular or fun for some are going to have to be made if there is any hope of turning this budget around. What will happen next year when West Ridge enrollment is down even furhter. I have heard that there a quite a few people that have pulled out of before the ship sinks. So how will they be able to ignor ethe numbers again. Do they think the crocodile tears and the shocasing of children crying in front of a room of people is going to bail them out again? Oh no wait they have Beth on the board now so everything will go their way and NOTHING will change in this joke of a budget. That team needs to learn that they are going to have to be realistic and make unpopular choices if they are actually going to make a difference like they all campaigned to do. But that would require Gale to stop blubbering on long enough to actually listen.

SCATS said...

To 4:07PM ~~ I don't think Frank Oberg belongs to the team you described. Do you?

Anonymous said...

As I recall 3 out of the 4 who voted no on the budget wanted it higher, true?
They may want to put out a budget higher than the one that was defeated for another vote. They could pick out a few of the quwestionairs to back up their feelings. Right?

Paul said...

how much do you think could be saved by eliminating school of choice, closing odyssey and a couple of elementary schools?

Anonymous said...

As I recall 3 out of the 4 who voted no on the budget wanted it higher, true?
They may want to put out a budget higher than the one that was defeated for another vote. They could pick out a few of the quwestionairs to back up their feelings. Right?

SCATS said...

To 5:17PM ~~ As I recall, one BOE member said they voted no because the budget cut too much. Two others voted no because they didn't want to cut any more and seemed to disagree with where certain cuts had already been made. It's hard to tell if they thought it was too much overall, or just too much in certain areas. A fourth BOE member voted no and wanted $1,000,000 from the unappropriated fund balance applied to reducing the tax rate, possibly in addition to further reductions. He felt the 7.6% tax hike was too much and the public would react negatively. Apparently, he had his finger on the pulse of the community ;)

To Paul ~~ Millions of dollars, possibly many millions. There would be across the board reductions in staffing that would touch everything from administrators to teachers to janitors, bus drivers, cafeteria workers ... etc. It would save a lot on utilities, and significantly reduce duplication of untold expenses like buying library books, technology needs, classroom materials ...

Charlie Hubbard said...

A quick word about contingency budgets.
They are by there very nature the ultimate insult to democracy.
Just think about it - a group of elected officials propose a spending plan and ask the people they represent (taxpayers) their opinion - the taxpayers (owners) say no.
Up until this point we have the democratic process our forefathers invisioned and so many fought to protect.

Now comes the imfamous 'contingency' which in esence gives these same elected officials the right to say 'we asked your opinion but we don't like 'your' opinion' - your opinion no longer matters to us so WE will decide what is best for you.
Democracy just became socialism/communisum.

Should the board chose to go this route I assure readers I will have more (lots more) to say about this process and those who embrasse it.

Anonymous said...

Scats: there is one thing we can do to save some money from the failed budget proposal- eliminate free Pre-K effective Fall, 2010.
We can save the cost of transportation and the staff required to provide this service.
If parents want a pre-K experience for their children, there are several pre-K providers in the town and some that closed down could reopen, given an immediate cancellation by the BOE.
For those parents who want day care, there are those available also.
We didn't get into the problem with one multimillion dollar program, we will only get out by managing the small costs.
A million here, a million there, soon we're talking real savings.

SCATS said...

To 9:30PM ~~ Actually, the BOE already eliminated transportation for pre-K from the budget that was just defeated. I'm not sure but the staffing for it might be paid for under a grant.

You're right about taking tiny steps to get out of this economic swamp we're mired in. According to the exit polls, about 80% of the people say we don't need to be funding schools-of-choice. Now there's a place to save a stash of cash!

Anonymous said...

You are correct about the schools of choice. Unfortunately not even a well oiled BOE with ability to make decisions could not change the number of students back to "neighborhood schools" by September. However, let's get started with the planning and make it happen next year. According to SCATS blog leader, the budget problems next year are even worse than this year!

SCATS said...

To 12:49PM ~~ They could start by moving the West Ridge kids back to homeschools first. I think getting that accomplished by Sept. is very doable, but it requires motivation & committment. Those things are lacking by the Greece BOE. They rather "study it" to death, form a committee, or let it continue to stew on the back burner.

Just to clarify, my statements about next year are based on figures discussed by the BOE at recent meetings.