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Wednesday, June 15, 2005

School Budget Results

In an update to this, the budget was voted down, 3,074 to 2,543.

33 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope youre happy for the kids of district 15 now.

11:16 PM  
Blogger Just Passing Through said...

there's no question that they're better off now.

11:20 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Wasn't much being made of the fact that the budget that was being presented was actually LESS than the contingency budget? So the kids of District 15 are actually getting more than they would have. Or was that whole ploy just a ruse all along, as supected. I guess the taxpayers have spoken, and they are saying that they don't trust the school board to spend their money wisely.

11:24 PM  
Blogger Five Town Watch said...

check out new post at fivetownswatch.blogspot.com

12:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do you think that its ok to pay as much as you do in tuition to the jewish schools you send your kids to, but begrudge public school children the same quality?

10:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

does such a specious question even require an answer?

10:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is your problem with my question? If you weren't paying so much towards tuition, maybe you would throw a little more our kids' way without exercising your communities power to screw ours. And our children.

11:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In that vein, perhaps the next budget should allows for tax dollars to be directed toward secular education in yeshiva private schools so orthodox parents wouldn't have to pay so much for a religious education and they'd be less irritable about having to pay tuition twice?

12:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Or maybe you should take advantage of public education....or move back to Brooklyn

7:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your response is that I should move or send my kids to public school?? How convenient...and predictable

It seems a better solution is that you should move. After all, you're the one who seems unhappy with how the neighborhood is changing.

As for me, I'm perfectly content living here and perfectly content making accomodations as I see fit for my family. If that includes sending my kids to private school, this is my prerogative.

It is also my prerogative to reject the notion that because I moved here I must pay to prop up a mismanaged, overfunded, anachronistic school system that really needs to be modified to accomodate the current student load, not subsidized to accomodate the current staff load.

10:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The truth is that the frummie community would vote for $0 for public education-state law mandates at least austerity. On the other hand the public school community wants as much as possible from other people. No moral issue-its raw politics. Of course it causes a chillul hashem-but who cares. Vote no-if you wish but not as a community.

3:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The truth is that the frummie community would vote for $0 for public education"

"Of course it causes a chillul hashem-but who cares"

Well put, and quite true. It also correctly explains why budgets are voted down. It is selfishness and a complete lack of concern for the public school contingency and their children. Quite hypocritical, I must say, for a group of people that has historically valued education. There will always be a reason. Scores are not as high as they should be. (Suddenly, there is concern for the public school students educational well being?) Salaries are too high. The board cannot be trusted. There is still too much fat to be trimmed. Etc. Are there real issues to be addressed? Of course. However, and unfortunately, I think that many among the orthodox community should be honest enough to admit that they only care for their own. After all, if a chillul hashem occurs, who cares?

9:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The truth is that the frummie community would vote for $0 for public education"

This statement is the opinion of its author. And it isn't true. not to mention a vicious generalization, and thoroughly insulting to suggest members of the orthodox can't wait to dance on the grave of the five towns public school sysatem.

I'm far from alone in my belief that every community resident is obligated to support his or her local school system. In kind, I'm clearl ynot alone in my belief that this local school system is obligated to operate in a fair, factual manner, without wasting public funds.

Is a fair system that serves public school students who currently live in this community too much to ask for? Raising taxes to support an increasingly superfluous school system staff load is criminal. At the very least, an unfair expectation.

10:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Of course it causes a chillul hashem-but who cares"


While it's certainly unfortunate that anyone feels compelled to vote no on a school budget, I think it's unfair to play the chillul Hashem card, considering that most other districts have voted down their school budgets as well.

With or without the budget passing, the SD15 residents probably pay the highest amount per student in all of Long Island, without even mentioning the poor academic performance.

Considering all of the fiscal mismanagement highlighted in the Audit (which was released only one week before the revote), one must seriously question the intellect of those who vote yes on the budget.

Obviously, the 2500 strong who supported the budget are not idiots - Rather, they are well aware that despite the fiscal mismanagement and already ridiculously high per student spending, every single extra dollar they pay in will earn their children at least double that value in services (considering how many people are paying a dollar and getting back 10 cents at most).

11:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

(The truth is that the frummie community would vote for $0 for public education.)

"This statement is the opinion of its author. And it isn't true."

O.K. I stand corrected. Let me clarify. It is MOSTLY true.

1:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"While it's certainly unfortunate that anyone feels compelled to vote no on a school budget...",

- Does this mean that you voted for the budget?

"...I think it's unfair to play the chillul Hashem card...",

- I didn't play the chillul Hashem card. I wasn't even the one to bring it up. I was merely responding to another post and stating my opinion.

"...considering that most other districts have voted down their school budgets as well."

- Most? I don't think so. Let me know the source of your information.

1:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

" "(The truth is that the frummie community would vote for $0 for public education.)
"This statement is the opinion of its author. And it isn't true."
O.K. I stand corrected. Let me clarify. It is MOSTLY true." "

Not to belabor the issue, but with all due respect, even with your qualification, this is still a very unfair statement. I am very uncomfortable even accepting this as slighly true.

Having an exceptional school system is good for everyone. Even those who choose to send their children to private schools. I find it hard to accept that anyone honestly believes the Five Towns Orthodox community at large doesn't appreciate this.

All the arguments against the current budget have to do with accountibility and fair expectations. It is not fair to preserve the system at its current size just to save jobs, or in worship of an arbitrary status quo. This isn't communism. Corporations scale back to meet demand as it grows and retracts.

If taxpayers, regardless of religious denomination demand the system be scaled down to provide only for neighborhood residents, why is that unreasonable?

2:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While we seem to disagree, you seem like a reasonable individual. We should run for the board together on a slate entitled, "The Public/Private Alliance".

3:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Public and private school parents workng together, working for not against each other? It sounds like a beautiful idea.

But what happens when private school parents decide they will no longer kowtow to leaders who engage in minor corruption and allow profligate spending of tax dollars, and insist on not having to put up with abuse, derision, and discourtesy for insisting they receive simple things like PT, OT services, transportation, and other basic rights all local taxpayers are rightfully entitled. I stand for these, too.

Will I still sound as reasonable?

5:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're right. What was I thinking? An alliance between us could never work. First of all, I'm in favor of corruption. Secondly, I also have money to burn and don't mind allowing the profligate spending of tax dollars. I also feel that tax payers shouldn't be untitled to every service allowable under the law. Abuse, derision, and discourtesy, however, I can do without.

Wait. A moment of seriousness here. "Minor corruption?" What exactly are you speaking of? While the audit discovered that less than perfect accounting methods have been used, no illegalities were discovered. Programs, clubs, sports, teachers, custodians, secretaries, teacher's aides, supplies, field trips, etc. have been cut or scaled back. Some of these cuts make sense, keeping in mind the dwindling enrollment. However, other cuts simply harm the children. The conservative philosophy of "starving the beast", in which governmental agencies are forced to trim unnecessary expenditures due to a lack of tax revenue has merit. However, the philosophy is not "starve the beast to death!" Your insistence that tax dollars continue to be spent unwisely, even after three consecutive austerity budgets, is unmerited. Private school parents are taxpayers, too, and their children are entitled to all of the services that their tax dollars may provide under the law. The same goes for public school children. I'm also at a loss to explain your complaints about the delivery of transportation. School district #15 must have the highest transportation budget, by far, on Long Island. This is not a complaint, just a fact. (I think. If I'm wrong, I'd love to know the community that spends more!) The leaflets going around prior to the last BOE election urged people to vote Huttler/Forman in order to preserve their transportation services. I found this to be a disingenuous scare tactic meant to get people out to the polls. In order to eliminate transportation, a public referendum must take place, which would NEVER pass! One more point before I get off of my soapbox. I do not understand the private school communities continued mistrust of the board when they continue to support the only member of the board still currently serving, David Sussman, that helped to spend down the $18 million surplus that "disappeared" several years ago. Surely, if you're angry about profligate spending of tax dollars, wouldn't he be the man to oppose? Or is all forgiven?

If anything I've stated sounds unreasonable please let me know.

7:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I'm also at a loss to explain your complaints about the delivery of transportation. School district #15 must have the highest transportation budget, by far, on Long Island. This is not a complaint, just a fact. (I think. If I'm wrong, I'd love to know the community that spends more!)"

Obviously, the transportation budget is very high (though it's certainly not the highest, since there are other of districts which are significantly larger than ours). Transportation is the most significant benefit that private school parents receive from the district, and it amounts to a very small part of the total school budget. The only reason the district has a high transportation budget is because it has the highest percentage of private school students on Long Island. That means the district receives the highest infusion of tax dollars (out of all the districts on Long Island) from residents whose children benefit well under 10% the amount they pay in to the district. Considering that the district uniquely reaps an over 90% windfall from most parents, why should those parents not be outraged when members of the school board advocate for transportation cuts, which would reduce their benefits even further below 10%? (Yes, board members have threatened and continue to threaten cuts in holiday bussing and evening bussing - all of which would affect only private school children, and which they can accomplish even without a referendum.)


"I do not understand the private school communities continued mistrust of the board when they continue to support the only member of the board still currently serving, David Sussman, that helped to spend down the $18 million surplus that "disappeared" several years ago."

I haven't been following the school board saga for that long, so I don't know much about the misspent $18 million that keeps coming up. (I would venture to say that it's unfair to pin the guilt for any school board decision on one person, considering that it takes at least 4 people to make any decision.) However, I have attended some of the recent meetings, and it's obvious that David Sussman is the sole member of the Board who continuously advocates for transparency and reform in the face of insults, derision and character attacks against him.

12:13 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Anonymice: pick some pseudonyms. There are more than two of you, and it's getting confusing!

1:58 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

And I do agree that the Chillul Hashem point is a ridiculous one, given the number of budgets rejected throughout Long Island, most with communities that have negligible Orthodox populations.

2:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

District 14 approved its budget on revote approx 3100-1900.

12:04 AM  
Anonymous hatethefatpig said...

I think it is fair to say that EVERYONE feels that Board has spent unwisely in the past and that administartors' and teachers' salaries and contracts need to re-evaluted. However, voting down the budget does not fix these items. It only hurts the kids, specifically the public school kids.

Answer this for me.....would the private school residents still vote the budget down if they knew that a defeated budget would mean cuts to their children's education?

The Board needs to step up and make cuts to the private schools. Maybe that will change the Orthodox community's opinion and allow them to better see the views of the public school parents.

1:03 PM  
Blogger Education4Less said...

That's ridiculous. Now that we've identified the problem as unwise spending by the board (on public school students), and everyone is already paying substantially more than they should, why should private school parents be punished for taking a stand and forcing the board to spend wisely, or rather, a little bit less than extravagantly - Hey, $23,000 on each student is not too shabby. (From what I understand, top notch private school education in the area runs between $8k and $15k per student)

I think the onus is now on the public school parents to come to terms with the district's failures and take a stand against extravagant and unecessary spending on teachers, administrators and underutilized facilities. The district already has far more money than it should need in all of its recent budgets. With the proper community-wide pressure and the right choices by the school board, the district should be operating far more efficiently on a lower budget without cuts to any programs or services.

BTW - A large part of the private school community (along with a portion of the public school community) just did vote down the budget 6 times in a row, despite threatened cuts to the minimal services that they now receive. I'd imagine that if there actually are cuts to those services, they'll just respond with increased turnout in following school board election.

1:30 PM  
Blogger Education4Less said...

"I think it is fair to say that EVERYONE feels that Board has spent unwisely in the past and that administartors' and teachers' salaries and contracts need to re-evaluted."

I was at the school board meeting last night, and after the teachers' union president praised the teachers and union and placed all the blame for the problems in the district on the private school community, he got a rousing applause from most of the public school parents and PTA members in attendance.

What kind of message does that send about the feelings of the public school parents and PTA members who attend meetings and probably influence the opinions of many less-informed public school parents?

1:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding the past spending practices of the board, there is no doubt that the board has acted irresponsibly with the taxpayer’s money and a taxpayers revolt was inevitable. However, I find it hard to believe that the district is still spending their money unwisely. After all, after three consecutive austerity budgets, their choices are between which programs to cut and which to fund, not whether or not to attend the convention in the Bahamas or Aspen. I also feel that part of the tax revolt island wide has more to do with the property value reassessment than with school taxes. After all, people are furious about increased property taxes, which they have no control over. However, people can take out their anger on the school budget, which provides a sense of empowerment. The fact that schools are supposed to spend tax dollars wisely not withstanding, school districts cannot be blamed for the fiasco caused by reassessment. I, for one, am flabbergasted at the lack of dialogue between the two sides. As a public school parent, I want what is best for all of the students of the district, and I hope that the majority of the private school community feels the same. Has the Superintendent made overtures to the private school community? Has anything been done by the district to allay the fears of the private school community and reach a compromise regarding the distribution of services? It's a shame that children suffer because of the poor communication skills of the very people that are supposed to be looking out for their best interests.

4:32 PM  
Anonymous textex said...

I had made attempts with Orthomom to meet with leaders of the Private Schools to try and create some sort of peace and undestanding.

After one or two emails attempting to move forward, Orthomom stopped writing.

4:37 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Textex: I emailed your info to an involved party, as I told you I would. I just emailed him a reminder, and he is hoping to get back to you ASAP.

10:29 PM  
Anonymous textex said...

Got it....will keep you updated.

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