Monday, April 04, 2011

Instrumental Music Stays Out of GCSD Budget

  
Tonight, Greece School administrators Don Nadolinski & Lou Alaimo told the Greece Board of Education that the extra $1.85 million in state aid GCSD received could be used to add 21.5 EFTs back into the budget. Those recommended additions include:

4.0 Elementary teachers
4.5 Math Intervention teachers
4.0 Literacy Coaches
2.0 Special Education teachers
1.0 Social Studies teachers
6.0 Elementary librarians

The resultant tax rate after the most recent budget tinkering increases by 1.66% which equals $22.91/$1000 valuation. BOE members are already talking about what a Contingency Budget would look like.

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33 comments:

Anonymous said...

Excellent video SCATS.

Instrumental Music at the 4th grade level is a successful program that has been part of Greece for more than half a century.

Listening to the numbers last night Mr. Alaimo said the price for 4th grade instrumental music is $185K. This is less than one one thousandth of the budget!! Yet they managed to slip in an additional teacher on special assignment(TOSA) Translation: another administrator. The district continues to fund many more administrators than they had before the Walts era.

Anonymous said...

ANd with the extra money from the state what is the tax levy and how does it compare to this year?

SCATS said...

To 7:28AM ~~ I don't have the comparison to this year, but the other info is posted at the end of the BLOG out front ;)

Anonymous said...

Which TOSA was added back in?

SCATS said...

To 8AM ~~ I'm not sure that they specified that. I thought 2 TOSA's were added back in.

Anonymous said...

Learning an Instrument in the early grades has been highly correlated to improved test scores in high school-years later, specifically for low income kids! The very kids that are so hard to reach, to improve those scores. You lose kids in elementary school, what are their chances in middle school...

Anonymous said...

One TOSA social studies teacher was restored.
Shannon

SCATS said...

Thanks Shannon. They spewed more numbers in 10 minutes than I'm sure anyone on the BOE could digest, let alone the public.

Anonymous said...

Can someone explain why the $1.8 = $1.1 million where did the 700K go before the announced restorations?

Shannon

SCATS said...

Shannon ~~ Nadolinski explained that at the beginning, but I couldn't repeat it if I had to. (I wonder if anyone on the BOE understood it either?)

All I can say is that in the end, the $1.8 million was GROSS and the $1,144,006 was NET.

Anonymous said...

Shannon,
Isn't it obvious?
The $700k is disappearing into DO so they can directly distribute it to the SOC families and cut out the middle man.

Anonymous said...

Was any of the money designated for capital improvements and or bus purchases?
Was there any discussion of saving additional money via changes in busing plans?
Was there any discussion of saving additional money on administration or consolidation of any programs across schools?

Are we at the point that only more spending is on the table regardless of the source of that money?

Anonymous said...

To 9:24...there was a "fire hose" of information but there was mention of monies that "did not materialize" perhaps by grants and that admin. decided to "charge" against the $1.8M. So they cooked the books to use the new money to fund things they wanted to keep and basically only offered up to the BOE the net monies after making up other shortfalls.
If the BOE had accepted the GTA contract proposal we would have saved enough money to pay for the music.
If we didn't put so much money into buildings and grounds equipment we could pay for the 4th grade music and marching band.
If we didn't restore two teachers on assignment (aka administrators rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic) we could pay for music.
If Carol Pallas hadn't succeeded in her vendetta against music teachers we could restore music.
If the BOE had even the slightest capability to make the proper decisions and challenge the administration we would have music.
And if there was actually a leader in charge of the budget process instead of the illegal situation caused by O'Rourke's extended absence we might have music (that would require a new leader and not the Machiavellian cast-off from Pittsford who was basically fired for the same behaviors he has brought to Greece).
Every time I think it cannot get worse, it surely gets worse. Is this the bottom. Doubt it. I think we are past the point of no-return (musical pun intended).

SCATS said...

To 10:40AM ~~ No. No. No. Yes.

The idea of a contingency budget was mentioned in passing. I'm pretty sure they are prepared to enact it as Plan B when they see this budget go up in flames on vote day. They will never let us revote ;) (Gosh, I'd love to see them prove me wrong!)

Anonymous said...

To Scats @ 11:46,

I thought they actually discussed a contingency in pretty decent detail. To the point that Mr Alaimo mentioned that he thought the current budget was within the contingent limits.
I find it insulting that they actually discuss a contingent budget BEFORE the vote and that they do not discuss ways to correct the budget to ensure passage.

SCATS said...

To 11:57AM ~~ The details of a Contingent Budget are typically discussed in advance in Greece, especially when they realize their budget isn't liked. The only big surprise is that Alaimo waited this long to bring it out. I guess I missed his remark about this budget being within a Contingent Budget's limits.

Is anyone else insulted to know that they are going to ask us to vote FOR a CONTINGENT BUDGET on the FIRST VOTE?

Anonymous said...

It is my understanding based on the wording last night that the contingent budget could even cover costs of the 4th grade music and band and gymnastics as they are current programs and fall into the allowable category as opposed to that of purchases for equipment, busses and such.

It is hard to believe that there are not motives beyond that of fiscal responsibility when the cost of 4th grade music, marching band and gymnastics are less than $225. To add insult to injury is the fact that these programs do not have to be eliminated on a contingent budget and that the interscholastic big teams have been untouched. SOC is still being studied when in fact if they would create a plan in SOC the saving could be applied to nest year, even if the gained money is $200K. InEquities in Education, our motto.

Shannon

Anonymous said...

It was my understanding that A CONTINGENT BUDGET would not be allowed to have that 100K for sports equipment and other stuff that the BOE must deem more important than ALL OF FOURTH GRADE INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC and 7th Grade second language!!!!

Anonymous said...

I must ask again. How much of the additional state aid is being used to lower the tax rate?

SCATS said...

To 2:28PM ~~ I don't believe it would be allowed.

To 2:30PM ~~ NADA!

Anonymous said...

If the 4th grade music lessons and band and strings orchestras are subtracted, that means there will only be lessons in the 5th grade with the appropriate ensembles. Those are the current 4th graders that are starting their studies this school year. Next school year there will be no beginners in the 4th grade to start in the beginner band. There will only be a 5th grade band that at least had lessons and band this year. The next year the 5th graders will be complete beginners and there will only be a "beginner band" and orchestra. If this happens it will be the end of the instrumental music program. They will eventually get rid of the whole program.
The parents at Westridge knew that the subtraction of the kindergarten would signal the death of their school and fought it tooth and nail with promises of voting down budgets. Apparently the 3rd grade parents who wanted their kids to have lessons and band and orchestra next year were not as well armed with threats. Too bad for all of us.

SCATS said...

To 4:27PM ~~ Parents of 3rd graders are spread out among many schools. They are pitted against each other by being pro/con SOCs. They are also "relieved" that specials have been restored along with the 30 min. Add to that the fear parents have in speaking out about how employees respond (or don't) to parents, students and residents in the district and you'll understand their reluctance to make waves. It's DYSFUNCTION at its best.

Anonymous said...

I am a parent of a third grader and think this whole thing sucks!!! Plenty of blame to go around including myself for not getting involved sooner. There is a pissing match going on in this district and the kids and tax payers are the only ones getting wet!!! Next year will be worse...

Anonymous said...

2:28: you are correct that the $145K increase for interscholastic sports can not be collected under a contingent budget. That money is marked for score boards and field lights and various equipment needs to maintain safety of programs.


Shannon

Anonymous said...

Hilton admin has accepted a furlough day to keep the beginner band and chorus programs. Why Is GCSD DO not proposing this? When this program is cut it will never be be seen again.

Anonymous said...

To 11:10,

What are they going to do next year? And the year after that? And the year after that?
These problems are not going away. The issue in our district is the drastic, year over year, increases in employees salary and benefits.
Sure we can put-off dealing with the issue by closing a school and fixing the SOC situation, but we will be right back in the same situation if we are unable to get a realistic contract for our employees. One that includes increased contribution for pension and healthcare as well as reduction in the automatic 4% yearly raises.

Anonymous said...

Finally someone has spoken about the 7th grade language program!!! Greece is the ONLY school district in NYS (yes the WHOLE state) that does not have a FULL 7th and 8th grade language program! Our kids take all the state exams with less time on task than anyone else in NYS and yet are compared to them statistically anyway. Given such, we don't do so bad. The teachers fought hard and long to get the meager 7th grade program as it was, and now that too is being taken away from the kids!
The implications of such a move are vast. This means that ALL students , even those with special needs, will be forced to be ACCELERATED language learners in 8th grade. These students will be expected to pass the same test that other kids will have had 2 years of instruction to master. Student learning is the goal!!! Then, when the results are bad, we'll scream that teachers are not doing their job. Merit pay is the answer! Freeze their salaries!! The special ed population being forced to accelerate will not receive any special services such as teacher aides or AIS as in other core areas because it is not MANDATED by the state that it be so, therefore these kids will not and do not achieve any success. Teachers are told to differentiate their instruction for these kids (with classes of 30+)and when they fail the finger pointing begins. Didn't this district just lose a MAJOR lawsuit over spec ed, costing the district millions? Anyone smell another lawsuit on the horizon??

SCATS said...

To 7:06AM ~~ Even if we come to grips with salaries & benefits, GCSD still NEEDS TO CLOSE SEVERAL SCHOOLS! It's like owning a vacation property, few can afford it and the taxpayers of Greece can't afford the luxury of half-filled buildings to retain SOCs any longer.

To 10:10AM ~~ The learning Greece students get is that the district wants them to show up, then get out ASAP the older they get ;)

Anonymous said...

10:10 Re: "in the WHOLE state". You know not of what you speak. Therefore I ignored it all.

SCATS said...

To 11AM ~~ If you know better, then by all means show us where the previous poster was wrong. What other districts are like Greece?

Anonymous said...

To 10:10- Amen to you! The earlier a kid begins to learn a language the "easier" it is. Greece is eroding the foundation on which later learning is built. Instrumental music and second languages are after all very similar brain work. I would rather see AP languages cut (isn't that what MCC and other colleges are for) than the 7th grade program. But that is not what all those "BEST OF" list look at- pathetic. And again what about the kids that don't even make it graduation??? We can not be the "BEST of ANYTHING" if we are letting down so many...

Anonymous said...

To 11:00-You may ignore all you want and wallow in your ignorance if you so choose but the facts are the facts! Other districts that don't offer a 7-8th grade program, have a level IA in 8th and a level IB in 9th still giving kids the 2 years on task. Greece will(and did) ACCELERATE ALL students including special ed. You sir do not know of what you speak so please keep your head in the sand and ignore away and in the toilet the kids will go!!! Just be prepared to fork out the big bucks when the district loses yet another lawsuit. They got away with it during the Janine Sadki years but the public-especially the special ed parents are wiser today. Let the games begin!

Anonymous said...

Do I understand this correctly that if the budget gets voted down there is a greater chance for 4th instrumental and 7th languages to get put back in the contingence budget? The sports equipment budget should have been prioritized for what is needed for safety 1st followed by what is wanted by various teams/schools.