Tuesday, March 22, 2011

"Student Learning Is the Goal?"

  
Or is it "Fuel Over Academics"?

Budget hearing speakers question school board's choice to cut school day, classes & arts/music programs over sports programs, transportation costs & salaries.

Tonight's mantra: "Don't cut _________!"

(Blank can be filled in with your choice of: art, music, marching band, library, teachers, gymnastics, length of school day at elementary, the sibling rule for SOCs, school options/choice ... )

"This budget is going down!" ~~ Former BOE member, Joe Moscato
 
"I think the biggest concern with the budget that they have is that it's kind of a take it or leave it presentation." ~~  Marching Band Director Robert Schreib

“The money we could save by closing just one school could maintain music and art for years.” ~~ Parent Judy Rosenthal
 

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

Did Frank Oberg really end the meeting by basically saying "thank you all for coming and speaking, but we have to cut some stuff and it's really hard so too bad"

That's kind of what it sounded like.

What a farse!

SCATS said...

To 9:15PM ~~ He did NOT say "too bad" ... but it was sorta implied.

Anonymous said...

I liked what Bev said...we choose FUEL.
Shannon Kozak

SCATS said...

To Shannon ~~ The single most important statement she made concerned the loss of 30 minutes to the school day at elementary and how the only way we will get that time back in the future is through negotiations (i.e. added cost to the district via the GTA contract) with the teacher's union. Sadly, it fell on deaf ears.

Anonymous said...

While I agree that SOC have run their course, if the transportation budget in half the district would save something like $8million this year.
What happens next year? Same problems without the ability to cut $8million.
Education is a labor intensive endeavor. Without seriously restructuring employee contracts the district will be in the exact same position year after year.
Frank Oberg may be wrong on many things, but he said one thing that rang true tonight. A simple year over increase based on existing teacher step increases(raises) would have cost the district over $5million.
Closing schools, reducing transportation cutting a few more administrators are all excellent ideas and should be done. However, next year or the year after that we will eventually have to deal with labor costs, they are the real problem.

SCATS said...

To 11:04PM ~~ Of course labor costs are a problem. However, they will ALWAYS be a problem as long as we're dealing with public employees who are protected by a union without having to perform for pay increases, or even to retain their jobs. On the other hand, Greece could have been saving millions over the last 5 yrs. had anyone had the guts to tackle the monkey on the district budget's back ~ transportation costs and keeping open half-filled schools. Can YOU afford a summer home? Why not? Many of those same reasons pertain to the higher expenses we face when keeping buildings open that need to be closed. Everything from grounds maintenance to insurance to utilities to repairs of the facility are ADDED expenses each & every year they keep their heads in the sand and refuse to fix what's no longer working. They are "a real problem" too.

Anonymous said...

Lets fix the real problem here:
Frank Oberg and the rest of the BOE needs to be replaced. Who the hell do you think you are with that really pathetic comment at the end.

Frank, lets start with your pay and work our way down.

SCATS said...

To 1:04AM ~~ FYI, he gets paid NOTHING to be BOE Prez ;) All BOE members do their work voluntarily.

Anonymous said...

Many non-profits in the area have endured pay freezes and/or cuts for several years now, including the UR. As much as I support teachers, I see no other way around the current situation, there must be pay freezes. A new contract needs to be worked out asap. Yes busing in Greece is out of control and yes administration could also take freezes and cuts but the overwhelming portion of the budget (75%?) is teacher benefits and pay. We need a reality check here in Greece- teachers and the community

Anonymous said...

Frank Oberg has told people in the past that he never liked school and joined the Navy to get his education. He spent years employed as a "manager" at a large local company with just one job; keep the unions out of our workforce. Although his granddaughter benefited greatly from elementary music and he and his wife were very vocal in supporting that school's music program the child no longer needs those programs.
So what do we have: A staunch conservative that supported Auberger in the last election because "the streets are plowed and the roads are repaired". An old man who hated school and no longer needs music for his granddaughter. A union-buster mentality that thinks in black and white and can never see shades of gray. And someone who is intellectually challenged in understanding how to navigate the current financial crisis with the best possible outcomes for our children's future.
His public remarks in the last few days and again last evening are a disgrace to the citizens of this town. He has completely destroyed any vestiges of leadership capability that might have been present in the past. He has allowed a seriously ill acting superintendent who has no "skin in the game" to conspire with vindictive and incompetent senior school administrators (aka Walts appointees) to construct a budget that is like the coup de grace to our kids education (after years of declining academic performance). Unfortunately the translation is "blow of mercy" and there is hardly anything merciful about what Frank and his henchmen are doing to our kids. I think the passage of this budget in its current form will be the tipping point that Greece schools will never recover from.
Why can't our budget cuts mirror what many other local districts have done to meet the new financial realities? Only Greece has chosen to protect administrators, continue obscene purchases of fuel for busing, leave multiple buildings half full while further reducing classroom time in a district which already has the lowest amount of classroom instruction time in the county.
Are 8 other board members comatose? Will anyone stop the insanity?

Anonymous said...

Good idea, cut Franks pay! That really sums up the kind of suggestions you get from those with strong opinions and very little information.

I hope the board and the press work harder to let people who do want to understand, just what expenses really are. A few charts could help put costs and flexability aroung those costs into perspective.

I know it would not help those who just want to yell and scream, but it could help those who sit on the sidelines and do not know what to believe,

Anonymous said...

Here is a good analogy. This year the Wizard of Oz is 72 years old

Today, if Dorothy were to encounter
men with no brains, no hearts,
and no balls, she wouldn't be in Oz.

She'd either be at a Greece BOE meeting or in Congress

Anonymous said...

Pay increases will cost $5 million. Union offers $0.5 in consessions. Thanks for nothing! How about all that $5.0 million!
That would bring you down to my pay raise this year!

SCATS said...

To 9:37AM ~~ I hate that you've put me into a situation where I have to defend Oberg but your comments go too far. Yes, much of what you say is true, but he is neither "mentally challenged" nor are his remarks last night "a disgrace." In fact, I emailed him requesting the list of stark facts & stats he read at the beginning of the meeting. EVERYONE NEEDS TO HEAR & OR READ THOSE AGAIN.

I do agree with your other remarks, including the last one about the 8 other BOE members.

To 10:09AM ~~ Last night, I requested Oberg's list of stats & facts that he read at the beginning of the meeting. I'd like to post them, but he doesn't like this BLOG any better than he likes changing his mind ... so we'll see if he comes through.

SCATS said...

To 10:10AM ~~ You forgot to mention a Greece Town Board meeting where the 4 on the Town Board are even more comatose than the other 8 on the school board ;)

Anonymous said...

The BOE president was quoted in the paper as believing that the budget is just perfect the way it is and yet there was a public BOE forum to hear resident input on the budget within hours. That sure disrespects those that attended last evening.
And Oberg's ability to categorize the problems and articulate them at the start of the meeting is not in the same league as being able to wisely lead the district to a balanced and appropriate solution. He certainly has not done that. We can debate whether he chooses not to do so or doesn't possess the ability to do so.
Of course SCATS is anti-union and anti-schools of choice and anti-extra-curriculars. But you aren't anti-education the last time I checked. I am anti-dumb budgets that further degrade the educational opportunities of the kids while protecting administrator's jobs, keep underused buildings open, pay for outrageous bussing policies and fail to negotiate a sensible contractual participation from the employees. Sound familiar?

Anonymous said...

The school board should challenge the union and lay off all the employees and rehire who they need at the rate of pay we can afford. Let the law suits begin but in the end we will save money and preserve the education. The only drawback would be getting the board out of jail when they refuse to honor contracts and are put in for contempt of court when judge says foul. Then the board members could all resign. See what a judge would do about that !

SCATS said...

To 11:10AM ~~ I take exception with your claim: "Of course SCATS is anti-union and anti-schools of choice and anti-extra-curriculars."

While it's true I'm not fond of unions in general, I think the need for unions in public schools today is about as necessary as retaining SOCs in Greece! Both of those have outlived the situation they were designed to help.

I've never been "anti-extra-curriculars." I have ALWAYS BEEN for balance, common sense and a proponent of the idea that our public schools can no longer be all things to all people. If you take a good hard look at where we are right now, I think you will see I'm right.

Do we REALLY NEED TO OFFER EVERY SPORT UNDER THE SUN? NO!!!!! Just as we can no longer afford to offer classes like basket-weaving or jewelry-making, I think we can no longer afford golf, bowling, croquet, ping pong, bocce ball, tap dancing, ballet and a plethora of other sports and activities. If your kiddies are REALLY INTO RECYCLING, do it at home or form a "club" in your neighborhood. Don't make taxpayers pay a teacher a stipend to stay after school to teach an elementary school kid about what goes into your blue box every Tuesday night! On top of that, we're paying bus drivers to run late buses that are burning through some rather pricey diesel these days.

SCATS HAS ALWAYS BEEN PRO-EDUCATION! Thank you for recognizing that fact :)

Anonymous said...

We need Governor Christie now. Hey Union Guys and Gals the free ride is over. Donny Brasco, I mean Palozzi will sell out the younger members to protect all of you tenured non producers. Music Important? only if you are gonna make a living at it. We need forward thinking energetic non union teachers to lead our young into the future. Think Math and Science, Trades. Productivity in this country is not some guy in a business suit pointing at a computer screen while someone looks on in amazement, it is people who can make and do things All of you Unionized Hippie,Woodstock fried brain retreads have had your day and you blew it. You did not like the world your parents gave you so you went about wrecking it and the education system to boot. Most of you are teachers because you really did not want to work for a living. Get over yourself lead follow or get out of the way. Preferably GET OUT

Anonymous said...

To 4:37.
You spew your hate against teachers and unions but you you talk about trade workers. Probably guessing that most trade workers are unionized. So go ahead and spew your hate and then talk about your own failures in life then sit down and enjoy your favorite malt liqour beverage which was produced by union workers. Sorry you hate the very same people that tried to keep you from dropping out of high school and ruining your life.

Respectfully
A successful 2002 Greece graduate

SCATS said...

To 2:42PM ~~ It wasn't hard to peg you as a graduate of Greece. The bullying remarks are typical.

As a reminder to ALL - let's try to focus on ideas, behaviors and things people can change to make a difference in the schools instead of an anonymous individual's personal life ... which you know nothing about!

CONSIDER THIS A WARNING BEFORE I BEGIN DELETING NASTY COMMENTS ;)

Anonymous said...

My goodness, has anyone even mentioned cutting the overpriced waste of space assistant principals in Greece?! Their salaries make the teacher salaries look quite average. Not to mention, they don't do a whole heck of a lot. At these prices, two to three new teachers, roughly, could be hired. Think about this, if you would.

Anonymous said...

To 4:37
Jealous much?! Quit your job and go back to school and become a teacher. I am self employed. I wouldn't want to teach. Working with someone else's kids?! Are you kidding me?! You couldn't pay me enough! Go get a job, man. You need one, apparently. Yes, I am a hippie.

SCATS said...

To 8:29PM ~~ At least 3 of those positions would be gone instantly if we down-sized the number of schools we had open to "right- size" Greece Central.

To 8:33PM ~~ I agree with the other person about needing Christie. For some reason, everytime I read a comment like yours, I can hear Elvis singing in the background ... "In the ghettooooo ..."

Anonymous said...

Teachers should be paid a solidly middle class wage. I personally would have to be medicated daily to be a teacher. Should superintendents make more than building principle, well yes but 2 or 3X as much, I don't think so. If teachers are being asked to take a pay freeze those in administration, as an act of good faith, should agree to one too- be leaders and just maybe others will follow.
J Kuebel

SCATS said...

To 8:40AM ~~ No one ever said teaching was for everyone. But then, I'd need those meds to be in health care. So let's assume that teachers are in their profession because they adore children ;) If they don't, they need to get out fast.

Anonymous said...

Why do people think there is something magical about k-5, is there evidence? Unless I'm remembering wrong both of the schools here in Greece have a very low percentage of kids on free or reduced lunch. Same with Odyssey. Put the best and brightest and more well to do in one building, they will perform at a higher level then low income kids. Income level and mom's education level are the two biggest predictors of student success... just saying... jk