Monday, April 07, 2014

SCATS PREDICTED IT ...


Greece BOE Will Use 'Lowered Tax Rate' To Get District's Bloated Budget Approved

The Truth Is That Without The Huge Assessment Increases Foisted Upon Greece Homeowner's By Our Assessor, The Tax Rate Would Have Risen!

"If the state had kept its promises, we would be in much better shape. Over the past few years, we have cut staff, consolidated schools, refinanced bonds, even sold a school and have other properties up for sale in order to cut our costs. We are always looking for ways to streamline our costs, and yet there has been no relief from any of the state mandates we must continue to pay for." ~~ Julia Van Orman, BOE Prez.

SCATS ~~ Julia, you can't even follow your own policies so belly-aching about NY State's "broken promises" seems a bit disingenuous. If you want to rein in GCSD's costs, CLOSE ANOTHER 1-2 SCHOOLS TO KEEP PACE WITH FALLING ENROLLMENTS!

 

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

I VERY CLEARLY remember that when Apollo/Kirk Road, etc were closed that was to be the first of several waves of closure to happen. Babs stated that a board meeting. Of course, it never happened...

SCATS said...

To 5:11PM ~~ That fits them well ... short memories, long noses ;)

Anonymous said...

A turned down budget would still leave the alternative, bare-bones budget which would probably be equal to the proposed budget, but it might show the lack of confidence in the board's ability to cut costs in light of falling enrollment

SCATS said...

To 7:48PM ~~ AND it might show them that their complaceny isn't appreciated.

Anonymous said...

An increase in the budget and kids still get the shaft. Why is it that each school has an array of courses that are offered at some schools and not at others? Why does Athena have all these programs that are not available at the other schools? I find that to be quite discriminatory. Maybe it is because the kids of color don't really need options, but rather they tell them what courses they "can do". Once again my tax dollars go to provide for the elitists while my kid gets the crumbs. Thanks GCSD!

SCATS said...

To 10:38PM ~~ They have discriminated like this for many years. Look at the whole school-of-choice debacle. Pinebrook STILL hasn't had to make any changes. But then look at the privileged principal who runs that place. Babs sold us a bill of goods with her "next year" promise when they closed Hoover Dr., Kird Rd. etc. That was 3 years ago now. Still no action.

Captain Obvious said...

Salary is the #1 expense to schools.

Superintendents negotiate multi-year salaries with yearly increases and then feign that they have no choice but to raise taxes because they are legally obligated to pay for the very contracts that they themselves negotiated.

Additionally, school districts can "hire through BOCES" rather than hire staff directly. The advantage is that up to $40,000 in salary for individuals hired this way comes back to the district in the form of BOCES aid. Instead, Greece does the opposite: they locally hire staff positions that could be hired through BOCES. It makes no sense.

District Administration play "shell games" with information upon which the BOE makes decisions. BOE gets only the information that supports the administration's goals. When BOE's make poor decisions, the end result is that Administration gets what they want and someone else gets the blame.

This is a story that I have seen play out since the Ralph Bleier days of the 1980's, happened again to Chuck Hubbard and continues today. It happens in EVERY school district. Truth.

Anonymous said...

Besides closing unneeded schools and reducing the bus miles, there are some ways we could improve education for our students without increasing the cost. For example, we built a television studio some years back. Why not use it to teach AP courses, available to students in all high schools over TVs or internet hook ups? We would need one teacher qualified to teach the lectures and a couple of others who are qualified to assist with labs, recitation, etc. We could off every AP course when the TOWN has the minimum number of students instead of requiring every SCHOOL to have the minimum number.

Idea might even work in other upper level, non-AP courses where one teacher and a few assistants could teach the courses, freeing up other teachers to focus on the students who need more help in the basic level studies.

Just requires some thinking and planning on the part of the Board and the Administrators to uncover all sorts of ways to redistribute teachers over the district to provide quality education without just adding more bodies.

SCATS said...

To 7:23AM ~~ Good point made about hiring through BOCES! They NEVER mention that possibility. Regarding shell games: they play it with info AND $$. They bury the costs of certain items that would cause an outrage if they were known. A good example is sports programs.

To 8:26AM ~~ As I recall, back when the BOE "discovered" we had the TV/radio station, I think we were told by admin about the use of those facilities to do EXACTLY what you just described. It hasn't happened, just one more broken promise (lie) told and forgotten.

Ridding this district of those who are stealing services would cut costs in a big way. We would reduce salaries, teaching & potentially some other staff numbers, the number of schools that remain open, etc. More important, it would MAGE GCSD SAFER FOR THE STUDENTS WHO BELONG HERE.

Does anyone on our BOE have the guts to bring these items up???

Anonymous said...

With regards to the Walts' stealth TV station, as I recall the board back then when it was"discovered " it was learned that one of the main reasons given was to enable the 5 western towns served by channel 12, to take control of that PBS outlet. the other one given was to enroll students in a communications course and provide them an opportunity to gain live TV broadcasting experience
That board in 2006 nixed the channel 12 scheme much to the shagrin of the town supervisors one of which was our very own dictator and upset 3yrs of conspiring with Time Warner to take it over,
As to 8:26 comments about its use as a teaching tool, I recall the board suggesting just that by linking all schools to the facility and provide live broadcasting to all buildings. Of course the " pro active" Achromovich administration was not interested .
My point is just this, It could have been done then and as 8:26 suggests, could still be done and put to good use in the manner proposed .

SCATS said...

To 2:09PM ~~ Agreed. Sadly, our BOE appears to lack any interest in doing what will benefit students. Employees are their only real worry.

Anonymous said...

Some of you people must all live in La La land if you think kids will sit still in a room and listen to a lecture on a TV. Kids have no interest in school other than the social aspect of it. Sure, you can get some students who will be fine with it but the majority of them will just sit there and tweet all day. Ideally it is a great concept, but realistically it is not feasible to implement. Do you not think that if the caliber of students were there that this concept would not have been pushed through? Same thing with "virtual schools". Many of the online schools cater to a select few individuals that are self motivated, high achievers and driven to succeed. Schools like K12 Inc. are just a money making scheme to siphon money from the taxpayers. So let's not kid ourselves when we come up with these cockamamie ideas to cut costs, especially in the classroom. Kids need teachers more so today than they ever before.

So to the poster who has all these great ideas. Maybe you could become a consultant and make money that way. You seem to have the qualifications of "not ever having taught" to telling teachers and administrators how to run a school. The problems with schools today are a direct result of the unfunded federal and state mandates that are required. NCLB and RTTT are just a few examples. The cost of implementing teacher evaluations is by far more costly than the actual benefit that it derives. How about SPED? Take a look at the amount of special education teachers in the district and you can see the direct correlation between an increase in spending with the hiring of said teachers to these mandates. Schools today are a little more complicated than that. THEY ARE NOT BUSINESSES although many of you wish you could run them as so. That line of reasoning is elitist!

Anonymous said...

The fact everyone posting here believes that GCSD is only interested in employees only confirms that none are employees. GCSD leadership only cares about themselves, much the same as what occurs in private sector workplaces. Think back to the golden eras of EK, Xerox, Delco, Roch. Prod, Bausch, etc. The reality is anyone working below school admin status is treated like crap... Just like back then when CEO's and leadership reaped profits galore in the private world! Now let your whining begin... The Golden era for private sector failed, and now you want blood from the Public sector? We suffered in the 70's and 80's while you all cashed in. Now that we have what you had, you're pissed, but you forget the laughter at our expense back then! Sucks for you that now the shoe that's on the other foot hurts a little too much!

SCATS said...

To 5:40PM ~~ How do you (or we) know that: "The cost of implementing teacher evaluations is by far more costly than the actual benefit that it derives." It hasn't been done yet, but is sorely needed!

To 6:13PM ~~ We've yet to have ANY problem attracting or keeping employees so I think your cause for sticking your nose in the air is quite a bit premature ;)

Anonymous said...

Scats, you must be living under a rock. Of course it is being implemented. That is why all these administrators are needed to observe and record the findings. Also, you don't need to be a rocket scientist to know that the cost of implementing this is a lot. Look at all the manpower that is needed to manage it. Another money making scheme to divert from the real issues. When the kids fail let's blame the teachers.

FYI here is a link to back up my argument on the cost of implementing.

http://www.nyssba.org/news/2013/03/07/press-releases/cost-of-teacher-and-principal-evaluation-system-outpaces-funding-nyssba-study-finds/

http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/oct08/vol66/num02/Fixing-Teacher-Evaluation.aspx

SCATS said...

To 8:39PM ~~ Nope, I had to sell the rock because my school taxes were out of control. Why is it that to hold a teacher accountable we must do all of this ridiculous gyrating and spending when in other professions, people are ROUTINELY EVALUATED BY THEIR SUPERIORS? Oh yeah, it's the UNION ;)

Anonymous said...

5:40 You are totally missing the point of my post, Exclusive use of class room instruction by way of televised instruction was NOT meant to say that traditional teaching methods by teachers can and should be replaced. Absolutely taken out of context so let me make it again.
Fact: We have a facility at Olympia that cost taxpayers over 500,000 dollars to build. In addition, is equipped with $200,000 worth of state of the art , at that time, TV production equipment.
Fact: This facility sat idle for 3 yrs unused collecting dust waiting for the town of Greece contract with cable 12 to expire. When the board said no deal for its real intended use, and given the fact that we were struck with the reality of having this facility and it's related costs, why not put it to some kind of good use as supplemental educational tool. The other alternative is to sell off the equipment and recoup some of those costs. The object is to not let this facility become another Steinway concert piano.

Anonymous said...

Many were complaining about inequities across the district. Few choices of languages and electives eg. The only way there would be mire consistent offerings for all HS students would be if we had only 2 high schools. That is possible with the enrollment. It would be far more cost effective than having the 4 different school identities each with their own staff. Much better use of staff and equipment. Also it would get the 6-8 kids on their own in their own 2 schools. We could use the same four locations but have 2 high schools and 2 middle schools. If people persist in pointing out the discrimination at certain schools , this could happen.
Then you could have dynamite football teams, hockey is already only 2 teams, more languages and electives. How about 9-12 at Olympia building and Athena building and 6-8 at where Odyssey is and Arcadia. No more school of choice necessary. It would be better use of money and time and equipment and would really enrage the people whose kids are presently being favored. The few, the entitled, the whiny parents that Babs and Co. are afraid of.

SCATS said...

To 4PM ~~ That's an idea with MUCH potential!

Anonymous said...

Re: "Two schools" idea. Can someone(s) give a resonable estimate of the populations vs a capacity of the combinations suggested?

Any "guesstimate" of the current nonteaching professional staff at the current schools? In other words, can we start to put some meat on the bones and get a FEEL FOR THE POTENTIAL OF THIS suggestion.

Lets get serious if it has realistic potential.

Anonymous said...

To 4:00Pm
If I am reading your last paragraph correctly you would have two 9-12 schools, one at Oly and one at Athena. That would close Arcadia HS.
You mention 6-8 at Odyssey and Arcadia. That would close Odyssey school of choice. That would have a big savings by closing a major high school at Arcadia. I am not sure of a big savings with the closing of Odyssey because the students have to be educated and you are not closing a building.

Staying with your two high school idea and if the student numbers would allow it, I would close the entire Athena complex 6-12 becaue it is to close to Oly and to far west.

I would keep the Arcadia complex open, 6-12 to serve the northern half of the Greece Central and keep Oly 9-12 and Odyssey 6-8 to serve the southern half of Greece Central. By serving north and south halves, entire east and west of the school distrct. along with serving east and west of the magical Mr. Read Blvd you are truly mixing all student bodies and economic levels. In addition you have real cost savings by closing the huge Athena complex.
You would have all the benefits of course electives and sports teams as you have described. You could then have the IB program at Oly and Arc HS and keep the educational advanges of Ody but not available to all high school students.

Enjoy

Doug Skeet

SCATS said...

To 2:33AM ~~ I'm not sure if GCSD has put out any individual school enrollments data since Nadolinski left us with his forecast of "growth" to use for planning lol

Doug ~~ It seems to me that keeping both Apollo & Olympia open makes no sense in that they are so close together! Just my two cents worth ;)

Anonymous said...

It's all about the money and not about the kids... There's a large body of research that points to about 150 students per grade level as being the optimum grade level size. The administration took this into consideration when the first schools were restructured with the closing of Odyssey.

The cost of implementing the states new mandates for items like the APPR is huge! With the new APPR mandate a principal has to spend an overwhelming majority of their time filling out APPR forms, attending meetings, and formal/informal observations for each and every staff member. Their time would be better spent dealing with student/parent, instructional issues. Bullying, fights, etc...take a long time to deal with or to discipline (if that happens) because school administrators are swamped with the APPR process.

Anonymous said...

Scats

Apollo close to Oly would be a positive. Some how I think we are miscommunicating. Apollo would return to a true 6-8 to feed Oly., with no Odyssey.
Oly would be 9-12 only. Arc 6-8 matched with Arc HS 9-12.
Close the Athena 6-12 complex. Millions would be saved.
Enjoy
Doug

Anonymous said...

To Doug from 4pm...I like your ideas. Make sense and save money and preserve programs and foster equity. I'm glad someone noticed and added wisdom. I suggest some people meet in the real world and have some discussion. It's been too long. We need to "encourage" the district to look at space utilization and school/staff organization.

SCATS said...

To 11:49AM ~~ I find it curious that Odyssey was founded with the notion of having 110 students per grade level if 150 is really the ideal.

To Doug ~~ OK, I did misunderstand about the middle school for Apollo.

Anonymous said...

Two things: Odyssey was founded in 1996 (is this right, I can't recall the exact year), and a large part of the research on grade size affecting student achievement has been done in the past ten years (look it up).

Secondly, the ~110 per grade level that Odyssey had was only derived from the fact that the old Hoover drive building could not physically fit more students per grade level if Odyssey were to remain a 6-12 school.

SCATS said...

To 4:09PM ~~ Odyssey opened in Sept. of 1993, the same year as Pine Brook.

As for the 110/grade level, I do not know of any year where they maintained anything close to that across the 6-12 grade levels. In fact, many years had HUGE "waiting lists" that were completely gone BEFORE school reopened the next Sept.

Anonymous said...

Geography-based arguments for which buildings to close won't carry the day in the end. If we do the reshuffle to true 6-8 and 9-12 and find that we can close a building or two, the buildings to close will be chosen based on features and amenities and age/decrepitude.

On that basis Athena will survive, if for no other reason than to hang on to the PAC.

The east/west student distribution can still be accomplished, it just adds a mile or two to some of the bus routes.

SCATS said...

To 7AM ~~ Geography DOES matter in Greece as per the decision to build Pine Brook in the NW quadrant where there were no other schools. It impacts busing, too.

Anonymous said...

The PAC might be a reason to unload Athena. It needs millions in rebuilding to make up for design flaws. I think we are seriously lacking a car wash in that quadrant of Greece.

SCATS said...

To 1:22AM ~~ I think you are onto something! In fact, I heard long ago that plans were underway to overhaul that white elephant into a more useable facility. I think a carwash would be ideal :D