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Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Election Recap

This is what I hope will be my final posting on the Lawrence School Board election, unless there are any exciting new developments. Steven I. Weiss wrote an excellent article about the saga for the Forward, nicely summing up the events of the past few weeks.

19 Comments:

Anonymous jrjr said...

The article is good.

Huttler says #1 school should be sold with funds from the sale being used to cover property taxes to avoid budget increases.

The school is going to be sold. The board is exploring different options so that they can get the most $$ for the property.

Public school parents want the same thing as Huttler suggests. However, a plan needs to be devised that 'milks' the money, softening our tax burden, not eliminating it.

One of the reasons we are in the financial mess we are in now is b/c an 18 million dollar reserve was mismanaged by then school board president David Sussman. This reserve was used to eliminate tax increases some years.

6:38 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

I'm glad to see that you and Huttler agree. But we haven't yet heard the WINNING candidate's plan for the money. I would hope that he doesn't plan to plow it all back into an even more bloated teachers' contract. It should be clear from last weeks' article in the NY Times that we have more than enough teachers in our district making over $100,000 a year.

8:07 AM  
Anonymous jrjr said...

" I would hope that he doesn't plan to plow it all back into an even more bloated teachers' contract. "

That is not going to happen. Their is no alliance with the teacher's union. They may have helped with the campaign, but I can guarantee you we owe them nothing.

Just so you know....there are teachers in the high school that have several masters degrees, teach AP classes and have been in the District for 20+ years. These teachers are outstanding! I still feel impacted from there classes. These teachers, in my opinion, are worth every penny they get. However, I graduated from Lawrence and know first hand of teachers that have been in the district for 20+ years that are a joke! Students don't take them or their classes seriously. Longevity should not mean a bigger paycheck!
This is the concensus of the majority of public school parents.

9:11 AM  
Anonymous jrjr said...

Also, there are some administrators that are getting paid way too much money! $150,000+ benefits!

I can name names but this is not the place.

9:27 AM  
Blogger Still Wonderin' said...

jrjr, or orthomom, is it true that with dwindling students, the local school budgets are bussing kids in from surrounding areas, just to keep the schools full? I heard this and it upsets me, but i really don't know if it is true.

4:31 PM  
Blogger DovBear said...

Why are you unwilling to pay the higher school tax? Is it simply a matter of saving money? Or do you have philosophical oppositions to public education?

5:33 PM  
Anonymous jrjr said...

@still wonderin

Kids are not being bused in from other schools. However, I am sure there are kids sneaking in from Rockaway by using a relative's address as residency.

5:40 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

DB, it isn't a matter of not being willing to pay higher school taxes on principle. When enrollment is going down consistently, it just doesn't make sense to have double digit tax increases on a yearly basis to the extent that we have been having in this community. Philosophical objections to public education? Are you kidding? Who doesn't want to pay school taxes? We just want the tax hikes to be responsible, and to be used properly. The local teachers' pay and benefits' packages are outlandish, as pointed out in a NYTimes article this past weekend. Isn't it reasonable to expect that our money be used to actually educate children, Public or not?

5:49 PM  
Blogger DovBear said...

What's the other side of the story. The people who want to raise taxes must have an argument. What is it?

5:57 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

They need the money in the school system. And I'm sure they really believe that they do. But we feel that if they would manage it better they wouldn't need such a bloated budget. Their per pupil spending is among the highest in the state, but their test results are not. So what is the solution? If a teacher to student ration that is among the lowest in the state is not producing results, do we hire MORE teachers? Or work on the system? Not everything benefits from throwing money at it.

6:04 PM  
Blogger DovBear said...

Your argument sounds one sided.

There has to be a better reason for the higher budget, than greedy adminstrators who refuse to do more with less.

If they're so greedy, why are the big hikes only happening now? Why didn't they play these games 10 or 15 years ago? (they didn't)

6:06 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

They had a very large reserve.18 million dollars. One year, not too long ago, they squandered it, and now they are scrabling to make it up. Check the second comment from jrjr. He admits they mismanaged the reserve.

6:08 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

By the way, if you are aroung, jrjr, I would love to hear what you have to say on this topic. I have no problem with getting some dialogue going.

6:09 PM  
Anonymous jrjr said...

18 million dollar reserve squanered by then school board president David Sussman.

Orthomom, can you explain to me why the Orthodox backed Sussman last year knowing that he is responsbile for the money mismanagement?

6:46 PM  
Anonymous jrjr said...

Regarding the budget debate....

voting down the budget is not going to lower the teachers' salaries.

The salaries have to be renegotiated when the contracts are up.

6:50 PM  
Anonymous jrjr said...

The difference between the current 4.5% budget and austerity is 1% (austerity budget is no more than 3.5%).

Prgrams were cut last year as a result of the failed budget and programs will be cut this year.

The only ones who are hurt by the failed budget are the public school kids.

The private school mandates are untouchable by law.

There are areas that the board can cut into that will effect all students of the communtiy, i.e. field use and going back to state mandates for busing. However, for some reason or another, the board has yet to do this.

I want to also clear up a major point about the busing scenario. We don't want to go back to mandates b/c it will incovenience everyone. I can also assure you that we don't want to go back to mandates out of spite to the private schools. However, many public school parents would rather drive their children to school everyday then have important programs and classes cut.

7:47 PM  
Anonymous hello? said...

Let's get something straight here. Look at Lawrence 20 years ago. It had twice the students in public school and half the budget of $40 million. Now the budget has increased to almost $90 million with an ever decreasing student enrollment. I cannot figure out that math and I am an Ivy League grad. The district did itself a tremendous disservice by not consolidating earlier and if it had some of today's problems could have been avoided. However, ALPS and others fought every sensible consolidation plan. True, the district burnt through a large pool of reserves and they did this to not raise taxes and mask a bloated teachers contract with mandated 5% salary increases. Certainly Sussman deserves some blame but hardly all of it. The LTA's Sam Clements has a stated view that Lawrence is a wealthy district and can afford the hefty tax hikes year after year. The private school community does not trust an ALPS candidate to negotiate firmly with the union.

11:56 AM  
Anonymous jrjr said...

@hello?

B/c of inflation your scenario of comparing the current state with the situation 20 years ago is weak. Also, the current cost per student is skewed b/c of the Distict's obligations for state mandated private school costs.

You state "The LTA's Sam Clements has a stated view that Lawrence is a wealthy district and can afford the hefty tax hikes year after year." First of his Steve. I know that his agenda is not 100% the same as the rest of the public school parents. He has a job as LTA presidnet to get the best for his teachers. However, he is genuinly very passionate about the children in this community getting what they deserve.

Also, I said it before, ALPS nor its candidates owe the teachers union anything. We, public and private school parents, are all on the same platform waiting for the same train when it comes to our feeling regarding the teachers' contracts.

Again, just so you know....there are teachers in the high school that have several masters degrees, teach AP classes and have been in the District for 20+ years. These teachers are outstanding! I still feel impacted from there classes. These teachers, in my opinion, are worth every penny they get. However, I graduated from Lawrence and know first hand of teachers that have been in the district for 20+ years that are a joke! Students don't take them or their classes seriously. Longevity should not mean a bigger paycheck!
This is the concensus of the majority of public school parents.

Regarding ALPS fighting any sort of consolidation. That is not true. The decision to close which school was the issue. No one was happy that a school was going to be closed but the means in which the Board proceeded in its decision is what angered everyone. They did it behind closed doors in executive session.

Sussman deserves most of the blame for the spending down of the reserve. Can you explain to me why he was endorsed by the Orthodox knowing that he squandered everyone's money????

1:31 PM  
Anonymous mycroft said...

jrjr: 150K + benefits for Public school administrators.
So what-what are your local Yeshiva administrators earning?-bet its a lot more than 150K

6:09 PM  

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