Sunday, March 20, 2011

Just Look For The Union Label ...

Thanks to an alert Facebook friend, I've discovered that alumni of GCSD's music programs are planning to do the union's bidding for them at Tuesday night's BOE budget hearing. They created a Facebook event page titled: Greece School Budget Might Dismantle Music Program and state that "We are reaching out to any Greece Central School District High School Alumni who can speak on the importance of art's education in their lives. For those of you who don't know Greece's next proposed budget, in the words of Don Palozzi, president of the Greece Teacher's Association, "...virtually dismantles the music program..." So far 157 of them "plan to attend." Should be fun to spectate at.

NOTE TO BOE ~~ If these folks show up, be sure to ask each speaker if they own a home and are paying property taxes in Greece! I'll bet you that few are ;)


Your March 15 editorial titled "Business as usual won't work long term for schools" spoke to how Greece school leaders must determine how to handle the budget challenges facing the district. The proposed budget for the 2011-2012 school year in Greece calls for the reduction of 70-plus teachers. The president of the Greece Board of Education tells Greece teachers that these cuts are necessary because teachers won't make "concessions." On Sept. 28, 2010, after nearly five years of negotiations, Greece teachers ratified and presented to the board a successor agreement, in which we guaranteed concessions in health care and other benefits. This agreement, voted down (7-1) by the board on Oct. 12, 2010, would have saved the Greece Central School District nearly $500,000 a year.

We offered the president, and the rest of the board, concessions and their answer was a resounding "No." Greece teachers requested, but never received, an explanation of the vote. So, is this business as usual or just bad business?
Executive vice president, Greece Teachers Association.



Anonymous said...

Why should the opinions of non-Greece residents be discounted? Their state taxes go to support the Greece Central School District, too.

SCATS said...

To 1:59PM ~~ There's a difference between "discounted" and "ignored."

The topic of Tuesday's hearing is the school district budget. The speakers comments on this subject which goes DIRECTLY TO OUR PROPERTY TAX BILLS should be "discounted" proportionately to the stake they have in the outcome and consequences. If they aren't residing here and paying for what they promote, their words should carry proportionately less weight than those of us who do.

This discussion reminds me of a time when we had a BOE member who lived in a tax-free home. They ALWAYS promoted the budget, no matter the size.

Anonymous said...

Maybe we should go back to the good old days when only landowners could vote. And darn those women getting to vote too!

Anonymous said...

Scats if you look the attending is not literally the meeting rather a web event, look at the dates. It is merely to draw attention to the fact that once again the arts are being targeted, before non educational expenses being cut first. I agree that many no longer live in Greece however they did benefit from these programs on the chopping block. I I do live her have kids in the district and do not support these cuts. I am not doing bidding for the union, I am speaking up for my kids. WHy are there cuts to the education day before cut to extra curricular, admin and closure of buildings. These cuts directly effect every student from the 4th grade through high school. Cutting the instrument program is the first step in phasing out the band each year less kids to participate and it will dry up. Sounds like the old cut K and Westridge and slowly cut the school, yet the BOE put that back in at the benefit for 36 kids. The proposed cuts to music and art effects EVRERY ELEMENTARY STUDENT in this district. It is wrong.

SCATS said...

To 2:45PM ~~ Many of these folks are NOT RESIDENTS IN GREECE, so they can't vote here anyway ;)

To 2:48PM ~~ I saw the dates and scanned through the comments. The only "event" is the budget hearing ~ there's nothing else "to attend."

I agree 100% the BOE should be looking at closing schools, scaling back transportation and a myriad of other NONEDUCATIONAL reductions. I'm pretty much with you up until you mentioned keeping kindergarten for 36 kids at West Ridge. It was WRONG then. It would be wrong still. That was a matter of pandering to a small group that make things ugly for anyone who didn't win the lottery.

This district can no longer afford to be all things to all students, parents, taxpayers, employees & other stakeholders.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I have lived in and paid taxes to the Town of Greece/Schools for over 20 years... It is outrageous to cut music and art... Who will be left in Greece? Strong schools lead to strong communities... the poor and old will be the only ones left...STOP the busing, close undersize schools and cut non-educational programs before touching educational programs. Shortening the day? Really.. we should be lengthening the day...

Anonymous said...

Let me clarify, I thought it was wrong too keep K at Westridge, I was only using to compare to how many would kids would have been effected had it gotten rid of K vs how many kids are effected with the cuts to Music art and Library. Sorry it was not clear.

There will not be 154 from that FB event to attend, I think the reason for it being called an event is so it is easily distributed among FB friends unlike fan pages.

I do want to add that if it was GTA's intent for 500k in concessions it is LAUGHABLE that is chump change compared to the cost of salaries and annual benefits of the GTA as a whole. I ask this GTA rep why no wage freeze for a year to keep you fellow teachers employed and prevent shortening of our children's school day.? To clarify how insignificant the 500k is...the percentage of proposed concession is .003% 500,000/142,000,000.

SCATS said...

To 3:49PM ~~ Greece already has one of the shortest school days in Monroe County ;)

To 4:07PM ~~ What does the 142,000,000 represent?

Anonymous said...

Salarie s /Wage s B e ne fits
2011-12 2010-11 Budget % Proposed Budget Variance Change
$ 103.97 $ 41.45 (in millions)

from the budget proposal

The $142,000,000 is salaries and benefits. so perhaps a bit high if admin is factored in but still the concessions are less than 100th of a percent.

Anonymous said...

500,000 must be insignificant. It is merely "chump change".

Anonymous said...

$500,000 is NOT "chump change" as you indicate. The more important point is that the BOE had a savings of $500,000 each year on the table, and they voted NO for that savings. That's $1M every two years. That equates to music, art, etc.

Anonymous said...

500,000 is .3% of 142,000,000
not .003%

Anonymous said...

To 4:07, that is .003 or .3%, not .003%.

The reason the union has not agreed to a pay freeze is that the district has shown no proof that if the union agrees to a pay freeze that it will not happen again the following year. If the board would show that it could manage money correctly and do the necessary things for the district (close buildings, cut busing etc..), then I would have faith that we would not keep seeing these budget problems over and over again. I have said this before, if the board gets their act together and runs things appropriately then I will gladly accept a pay freeze.

SCATS said...

To 4:40PM ~~ Thank you for specifying that. I thought it was probably salaries & benefits but wanted to be sure.

God help us when figuring simple percentages are beyond the capabilities of those teaching our children!

Anonymous said...

500,000 divided by 142,000,000 = .003

Now 7:54 and 801 my mistake either way it is .3 percent and it is not significant and still laughable.

7:39 I hope you are not a teacher, the same poster that states the 500K would equate to the music and art and library you must be kidding.

18 teaching jobs cut for the Music art and library at an average of 45k a year ( single year) is 810,000 in salaries alone with no benefits. Your calculation of a million for 2 years would be spent long before the so called savings and we would be back to cutting teachers.

Anonymous said...

8:01 it is easy to say you would accept a pay freeze if the BOE gets it together. It is easy to take a stand when your do good-er sacrifice of a pay freeze is contingent upon what someone else does. What about the kids...have you forgotten about the kids? To think that you may be teaching my children is very sad. If it really what you believe and other teacher are willing to a pay freeze for the good of the student you have the privilege to educate on my dime, then speak up at the BOE meetings, don't hide behind the union reps, March 22 6pm you can speak too. I will be there I care that you and your co workers are cutting loose the low on the pole, cutting into my kids educational day all to take a stand...because you have no guarantees the freeze won't happen again. Sick you already have guarantees that most of the families in you paying community don't have...a job for sure next year with low cost health care and a pension and that is after having the summer off. And you want yet another guarantee? GREED plain and simple. I hope that the union are busted and the pensions run out. It is teachers like you that live and breath entitlement.
The only guarantee in education is teachers get paid, homeowners pay taxes and our children get no guarantee of a quality education!

Anonymous said...

since there are some 5 being thrown around. There are approx. 64 music teachers in greece with 6 being prosed to be cut that is 9 % as compared to the approx 950 teachers in greece if they cut the proposed 18 teachers from the whole rather than the arts music library group the percent would drop to 1.8 %.

The cuts to the 3 areas are highly disproportionate to the overall number of teacher is GSCD. To not see these as an attack on the art is ignorance.

Anonymous said...

Anybody remember how much that fancy piano that lives in the locked air conditioned room cost?

How much did it cost to send people to buy that piano?

How much does it cost per year to keep the piano in a climate controlled room?

Has anyone actually seen the piano on GCSD property?

I suppose if GCSD cuts out music they can stop worrying about the wall falling off the Performing Art Center.

Anybody ever heard of a GCSD Performing Arts Student making a living in the entertainment business?

Maybe the parents of the future entertainers can get a group going with the group from Hilton where Marching Band and Ice Hockey are going away.

Anonymous said...

The Meeting Tuesday is about the budget. We should welcome the opinions of those that benefited from the district's Music/Art programs - because they are the programs being cut. Where those former students now live has nothing to do with the experiences they had when they were attending Greece Central Schools.

I also do not believe the framers of the Constitution ever said anything about Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Assembly - EXCEPT for those that do not live in your town.

Anonymous said...

Our policy on residents forum does exclude non-residents, even if they were former employees or students, especially if they were critical of the school board.

SCATS said...

To 11:49PM ~~ I forgot all about that piano! I think someone should ask the BOE members which of them have ever set eyes upon it. My understanding is that the BOE Prez. hasn't and doesn't give-a-damn either.

To 12:29AM ~~ You're right. We should turn the BUDGET HEARING into a 3-ring circus where 150+ former music students can shed tears into the mic and drown out the noise the 3 current taxpayers who come out to the meeting make about the BOE's refusal to do what needs to be done. Hot dog anybody?

SCATS said...

To 12:46AM ~~ I think you are wrong about the current policy, but since Tuesday is a PUBLIC HEARING and is not technically a Resident's Forum, the BOE can make up rules as they go along. IMHO, anyone who goes there to do the union's bidding should be represented by one voice ~ The Prez. of GTA or his designee. There is no need for teachers, or in the case of many of these former music students - children of teachers, to be complaining about job losses, because Dom Pallozzi represents their interests.

Anonymous said...

Scats why does me supporting the music program make me a union voice? I am OK with teachers being cut, but not when it targets one group and reduces my child's day. How about cutting some classroom teachers, or the PHy ed teacher that allows kids to opt in to physical activities rather than this is PE get dressed you are playing the sport, how bout cutting the sports after schools I don't see cuts anywhere close to the equivalent in the sports so you see 600k plus being cut from xtra's? When the BOE makes such cuts equal to the cost of the 4th grade instr. program and 6 music and 6 art teachers and then say we need to cut more then make cuts in the classroom. That has not happened and I am against cut to the school day.

Anonymous said...

Don't tell me about $500,000 (or any other number) in "consessions" without spelling out exactly what those concessions were. I have observed many "funny" numbers come out of union and administration mouths that did not hold up to analysis. Most frequently there has been a flaw in the logic or even bad arithmatic.

Just give us the facts and if you desired show us your anaysis of those facts. But please allow the public the opportunity to do their own analysis.

Just providing only the "conclusion" is no way to support your argument.

SCATS said...

To 7:33AM ~~ If you are not tied to a teacher in Greece, fine. Go say what you need to say. But as I said, many of those former students are children of Greece teachers or otherwise tied to GTA. GTA has it's own representation to speak for them. This hearing is for those of us who are not otherwise represented.

Anonymous said...

7;33 we need these cuts so we can continue the schools of choice program

SCATS said...

There's NO DOUBT ABOUT IT! The Facebook group PLANS TO OVERWHELM the BOE Tuesday night! As of now, 162 on the FB page say they will attend the meeting. Others are promoting that those attending speak, contrary to what 3/20/2011 2:48 PM suggested ;)

Anonymous said...

Scats I am on the FB group, and I do hope that many show up in support and voice that these cuts should not be made while like your list just posted give the BOE options for cost saving measures OUT OF THE CLASSROOMS. I am not a teacher nor am I related to any teacher in the district. I do see the point of the previous poster that not all "attending" will be there. I know of more than 15 "attending" that do not live locally. So if it is only 130 plus that show up great. I know we may disagree on the music art program, and I do believe cuts should be made, I however believe like you listed all of those area should be cut then cut programs. If that can't be done then I would ask that the BOE cut teachers from all departments at an equal % or dollar amount, so that in school instruction remains. AS I wrote in my letter to the BOE I ask where is there a comparable cut in the proposed budget equal t that of what music and art is being cut. I don't see anything that comes close. The sports, and clubs and like extra curricular programs were virtually uncut.
25% of all teachers being cut come from the Music/Art and Library programs all at the elementary is that equitable and in the best interest of our students?

SCATS said...

To 2:28PM ~~ The FB page shows that as of right now:

162 Attending
43 Maybe Attending
503 Awaiting Reply
130 NOT Attending

The posting shows that anyone who MIGHT BE IN THE AREA was asked to attend. It also shows that people are urged to write letters to the BOE and to sign up to speak tomorrow night. So just because someone who doesn't live here says they are attending, it doesn't mean they won't. I believe the numbers stand for exactly what they say and not for your misinterpretation of the categories folks could select from.

By the way, just an FYI : Just like art & library, music isn't required by State Ed at the elementary school level and so it CAN BE CUT. It is NOT a mandated program, so the supt. decided to hack at it.

To all of you music/arts supporters: How does it feel knowing your programs can be cut district-wide so that schools-of-choice can be maintained for the minority of students? Closing schools would SAVE ACADEMICS FROM CUTS, but Greece can't retain schools-of-choice if they close the buildings they need to close to align capacity with the downturn in enrollment.

Anonymous said...

NYSED Part 100 Reg.
Elementary Requirements:

Pre-K and Kindergarten programs must include dramatic play, creative art, and music activities.

In grades one through four, all students shall receive instruction that is designed to facilitate their attainment of the State elementary learning standards in the arts, including visual arts, music, dance, and theatre.

Guidelines recommend that the weekly time allocated to the arts in grades one through three be 20% and in grade four be 10%.

It is recommended that certified Arts (dance, music, theatre, and visual arts) teachers provide elementary level instruction.

Anonymous said...

Art and music is required by the state at the elementary level. The only difference is it doesn't have to be taught as a special by a person certified in that specific discipline. The regular classroom teacher can teach that curriculum just like they do math and reading and health and science. For that matter PE can be presented by the classroom teacher as long as it is under the guidance of the Physical education Director at the District level. That is the case up until the 7th grade when the certified art, music and health teachers must teach those subjects. (Our k-5 separated from 6th grade is still not in sync with the requirements at the state level that separates k-6 from 7-12.)
Maybe the home schooler parents could give a training session to the elementary classroom teachers so they see how it is done.

SCATS said...

To 4:51PM ~~ Thank you for making that clarification that specials teachers are NOT REQUIRED. I apologize for the confusion.

Anonymous said...

You people who are complaining about the reduction of the music programs have got to smarten up.

We need this money to keep the schools of choice going. Now sit down and shut up.

Anonymous said...

After secondary, middle, intermediate, and primary program cuts are made and senority shifts, the overall potential teaching cuts to the art and music programs could run as high as 8-9 faculty positions (including both current full and part-time).

Essentially, both programs and their effectiveness of instruction would be greatly compromised - if not destroyed.

Years of time, energy, and money used for program development - GONE!

The ARTS are considered a CORE ACADEMIC SUBJECT under No Child Left Behind.

Greece C.S.D. = Subjects left behind = Students left behind?

Remember when Greece was cited as one of the 100 BEST communities for music?

Don't let it all be forgotten...

Anonymous said...

And why shouldn't 150 music program supporters drown out the voices of three "current taxpayers?" That's democracy.
Sounds strikingly like jealousy that this side can't muster enough support or supporters to actually go out and make a ruckus.
Want to make a difference? Make that ruckus and give it right back.

SCATS said...

To 8PM ~~ As long as they aren't employees represented by GTA Prez. Palozzi or nonresidents who won't be paying the increased taxes needed to retain the programs, I'm ALL for it. But you & I both know GTA has their hand in getting this group out ;)

Anonymous said...

To further clarify the Music and Art and Library requirement. While it is true that classroom teachers can teach the above but the current GTA contract does not have "time" in the contract for theses subjects. Again this would require the day to be longer for the teachers...

I don't really care why the FB page exists I am glad it does. The teacher hate in this district is appalling to me. I don not believe that the issues are with the teacher but rather with the UNION REPS, and further more the BOE both are using our children as pawns in this pissing match.

As I have said and will say again. I am not happy that cuts to the classroom are being made so the SOC can remain. I said as much in my letter to the BOE. I also agreed that some cuts to music and art may be needed but complete cuts of programs like the 4th grade band are irresponsible. It is not a modification of the program it is an all out cut.
I have a secondary option student and agree that it is too much money on a feel good system and money could be spent better elsewhere. So again I am not sure why when I post I get the backlash of being a supporter of music and art. I have only said the cuts should be equitable and ALL AREAS SHOULD FEEL THE PAIN...hear me sports, and clubs and SOC families we all should feel the pain.

Anonymous said...

Please tell me this circus is going to be te radio tomorrow night.
I really want to go and listen live, but can't make it.
I might be in need of comic relief tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

8;49 the message from the board and administration has been very clear, we are going to keep the schools of choice and will need to make cuts in other programs, so there.

Anonymous said...

In addition to be extremely frustrated with the cuts to the fine arts, and the overall LACK of non educational cuts I am equally upset so with the "so called deep cuts" to extra curricular sports...the baseline budget for sports is roughly $1.6 million ( i believe without bussing cost) and the most they could cut is $60k. Cry me a river!

The highest area of cuts are to our elementary students. To say our priorities in this district are a mess is the understatement of the century.
Shannon Kozak

SCATS said...

To Shannon ~~ Oddly, I was trying to find the figure in the budget book for sports as your comment came in. You do realize that they prefer to pit the school-of-choice parents against the music/arts boosters than the sports boosters, don't you? Do you realize why this is so?

Anonymous said...

Scats I think it is because they are larger and are LOUDER? Not sure just my guess.

I have looked at the proposed budget numerous time an really feel that the BOE is trying to pull one over on parents. The wording is so that most do not understand what is written.

Bell time ( equates to about 3 weeks less school)
Sports cut in term of 5 rather than being up front about how much we spend on sports
The cut to Art Library and Music is close to you child getting 30 mins of each special every 6-7 days. I ask just what can be taught in 20 minutes after transition time to and from class?

I have daughter in Secondary option and know that it is nice to have a choice it FEELs good. I do not believe that the choice should come at the expense of ALL children in the district. It is morally reprehensible that these choice programs are adversely effecting direct classroom instruction for all elementary grades.
The cut to 4th grade instrumental is essentially removing the foundation of our band programs, further removing the lessons at 6ht grade is likely to be the beginning of the end of the Band program in Greece.

I feel that the BOE/Super. is counting on parents to be uninformed, not by choice but because many do not understand the jargon used. I feel that the Super did what her was asked, has no ties to our community and will not have to face the music after such proposed cuts are made as his is only the INTERIM, this super has no vested interest in the education of our children, he will soon be gone, and serves those who writes his check...the BOE.

Shannon Kozak

SCATS said...

To Shannon ~~ I think it pits more of the SOC parents against many of their own by cutting the arts/music instead of the sports programs. Just my opinion, worth an entire two cents on days when the stock market is up ;)

The verbiage in the budget is typical edu-speak. It's the same blather they routinely use.

The bottom line on the budget is that Greece Central has been wasting millions of $$ for years to support ridiculous door-to-door transportation (esp. at elementary), sports programs and a ridiculous number of other silly extra-curricular programs. The number and amount of stipends paid has grown astronomically, almost as fast as the District Clerk's and Finance Director's salaries!