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Saturday, October 08, 2005

Lawrence District Dishonesty

Anyone who has been following this blog is probably aware of the acrimonious battle going on in my school district, School District #15, between the private school and public school communities. The trouble began when the private school community began to object to skyrocketing school taxes in inverse proportion to the plummeting public school enrollment. More background can be found in this round-up of my posts on the subject: I, II, III, IV, V, VI.

Basically, after rejecting the proposed budget twice, the district went automatically to an "austerity budget". This led the public school community to level accusations that those who voted against the budget do not care about the educational interests of any children but their own, and that they have no interest in promoting public education. They clamed that they were unable to educate the students of District #15 properly under the stringent mandates of the "austerity" or "contingency budget".

So imagine my surprise upon finding out that the selfsame school district that has been claiming to be unable to properly educate their children on the current budget, has a $9 million surplus of funds from last year's contingency budget, according to financial officials who report to the school board. Huh??? So they really don't need all that money that they were trying to get the district to approve? They came to us with a proposal for taxes to be raised to a point that most district residents obviously found unacceptable, leading to the rejection of the budget twice, when they should have presented a budget to the voters that would have lowered taxes, or at least left them at status quo. Instead, district officials chose to run a doomed budget, which left the district's hands tied in terms of spending. The question is, why they would do that, when they could have run a budget that the whole community would have embraced,and passed, thus bringing the district out of austerity? The $9 million surplus seems to be something district officials were hoping no one would find out about, when they seemingly could have used it to fill in the shortfall that would have been created by presenting a budget that did not raise taxes.

Now the district remains on an austerity budget, the public school community cries foul at those who rejected the budget because they claim that the budget constraints under austerity leave the district unable to meet the educational needs of its children. It seems, however, that district leaders themselves are as much to blame for the economic hardships the district is facing.

Talk about not having the best educational interests of the children of District #15 at heart.

46 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was waiting for this topic to rear its head again on your blog. Nice post, but you don't mention how you know about the 9 mil surplus? Is there a source for the info, or is it just hearsay?

10:00 PM  
Blogger Ezzie said...

Wow. $9 million surplus?! That's a lot of teachers... (though I'm also curious where you got that from, even though I trust it's a good source)

I'm never a fan of raising taxes - this is especially true in Lawrence, where I would think the district would have good reason to want people there to spend it on building it up even further, rather than just on taxes.

10:18 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

It was published in the local paper. Apparently it was brought to the attention of the school board by financial officials who report to the board. The school board apparently owned up to a $4 million surplus - in a very non-public manner that seems designed to keep it under the community's radar - and then the financial officials increased the estimate of the suprplus from $4 to $9 million after they did some research.

10:24 PM  
Blogger Education4Less said...

As I understand this...
Each year, the district constructs a budget allocating $80+ million to various purposes. If voters approve the budget, then the district has the ability over the course of the year to move funds that turn out to be excessively budgeted for one purpose and spend them elsewhere. If the budget is not approved by voters, then the district still gets to spend close to the same amount, but it can only spend the money precisely as it is budgeted and loses the ability to move excess funds from one purpose to another during the course of the year.

The district maintains various reserve accounts which it sweeps excess funds into, whenever possible. These include reserve accounts for (1)pensions, (2)workers' compensation, (3)unemployment, (4)post unemployment and (5)"unreserved/unappropriated" (this one could be characterized as a district slush fund)

In past years, these accounts tended to be drawn down and depleted somewhat since the district had the ability to tap into its various accounts during the year and move funds around (and spend them) without restrictions. Since the district has been restricted by austerity, it has lost the ability to "move funds around" and freely spend funds allocated for one purpose, on other unrelated needs. As a result, the end of each austerity year finds the district funneling several million dollars in over-budgeted funds from its various operating accounts into the above reserve accounts. (That's the only way that the district is able to keep the over-budgeted funds from year to year)

In the past few years, these various reserve accounts have grown astronomically as the district has concocted decreasingly plausible explanations for projections of skyrocketing needs for pensions, workers comp, unemployment, etc. With this year's excesses added to last year's excesses, the district basically maxed out on the amounts that it could possibly (legally) stash in its reserve accounts and it was forced to declare several million dollars as surplus funds that could not even be allocated to its surplus accounts. (That means that the funds will have to be applied to next year's budget.)

When these funds, which exceed the district's reserve limits, are added to the funds which the district already funneled into its reserve accounts, the total comes to approximately $9 million.

The bottom line is that district wishes to spend the $9 million as well as the expected $15 million proceeds from the #1 school property sale in ways that voters clearly would not approve. The only way that the district can make irregular expenditures is if they pass a budget. Voters will not pass a budget until they regain confidence in the board - confidence that the board will not spend the funds in ways that voters would not approve of.
STALEMATE!

12:47 AM  
Anonymous Mycroft said...

A surplus does not mean that necessary education was lost tp the public school community-it simply means that what was budgeted was not spent, Not getting into your school districts dispute-I don't live there-but it seems from reading blogs the opposition is to spend any taxes on services that you don't get any benefit from. Orthodad works 14 hours a day-so I assume the 6 of you aren't on welfare-does that mean you shouldn't pay taxes for welfare payments for poor people?

12:48 AM  
Blogger Education4Less said...

There obviously is an element to the opposition that opposes spending taxes on anything that they will not benefit from (and obviously, school taxes are the only thing they can take a stand on). However, there is alot more to the opposition's argument - Primarily that the district has been spending as much as double what it should be spending (relative to other districts) educate it's students - Relying on parents of private school children to pay whatever the district demands. At this point, the district has dug a whole for itself, paying excessive salaries and mismanaging funds, while the district's academic results remain poor. The district is now getting a tough lesson about democracy and you can't fault private school parents for dishing it out under these circumstances. It's not like they're trying to shrug off their responsibilty to pay school taxes - they're just shrugging off district demands to face tax increases when they already pay for arguably the highest per pupil expenditure in the county.

1:06 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Orthodad works 14 hours a day-so I assume the 6 of you aren't on welfare-does that mean you shouldn't pay taxes for welfare payments for poor people?

Hey, wait a moniute, mycroft. Let's be clear here. Even under the austerity budget, our taxes are astronomical by most district's standards. No one is looking to get out of paying taxes here - just looking to avoid huge tax hikes that will not be put to good use.

8:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"when they should have presented a budget to the voters that would have lowered taxes"

they did, but it was voted down. remember the budget was for $1,000 less than austerity. therefore, technically, you are incorrect.

8:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Talk about not having the best educational interests of the children of District #15 at heart."

I refuse to believe that people that have chosen a career in education do not have the best educational interests for their students at heart. Are they imperfect, perhaps even mistake prone? Seems so. But to insinuate that they don't really care for the children they have spent a career serving is, IMHO, mean spirited.

9:03 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

they did, but it was voted down. remember the budget was for $1,000 less than austerity. therefore, technically, you are incorrect.

$1000 less than austerity is still not as low as it should have been if the district had owned up to a $9 million surplus. Again, as education4less made clear, at this point, it's a mtter of regaining the public trust before they will entrust the district supervisors with unlimited funds. And the way to do that is not to cover up the existence of such a large surplus, which are the allegations as I've heard them.

9:51 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

I refuse to believe that people that have chosen a career in education do not have the best educational interests for their students at heart. Are they imperfect, perhaps even mistake prone? Seems so. But to insinuate that they don't really care for the children they have spent a career serving is, IMHO, mean spirited.

Fair enough. But the accusations leveled at those who have been voting down the budget have been much harsher. I refuse to believe that a community made up of parents, whether they send their children to private school or not, wants anything but the best for district students. But unfortunately, the public school community has been accusing the private school community of just that.

9:55 AM  
Blogger Education4Less said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:42 AM  
Blogger Education4Less said...

"I refuse to believe that people that have chosen a career in education do not have the best educational interests for their students at heart. Are they imperfect, perhaps even mistake prone? Seems so. But to insinuate that they don't really care for the children they have spent a career serving is, IMHO, mean spirited."

I don't think anyone is insinuating that district officials and employees do not desire for all children to receive an excellent education. However, it would be grossly naive to suggest that these public servants and district employees could not at the same time be driven by greed, patronization and self-interest. There's no questioning the prevalance of greed by school district officials and employees throughout long island and elsewhere. We have already seen evidence of mismanaged finances (in the Comptroller's Audit Report) and it's undeniable that school officials and employees have for a long time been spending well more than they reasonably should be on district operations.

"... best educational interests for their students at heart"? Maybe, but certainly not ahead of protecting their own interests and securing the highest possible salaries for themselves.

10:45 AM  
Anonymous Mom of 3 said...

I am actually responding to your previous post re. La Hillary, but thought if I put it there you might not see it. I agree with you 100%. Just as I was opening my mouth in shock at Hillary's idiocy, your response took the words right out of my mouth.

And I just want to say that I love your blog. I enjoy the news items you post (both the serious and the fun) and your comments are always right on the money, as well as concise, well-written, and articulate. Keep it up!

Sincerely, Mom of 3

11:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"and securing the highest possible salaries for themselves."

I suppose people that have chosen the "noble" profession of education should be the only one's in America that do not try to secure the best standard of living possible. Also, last I checked, educators have to buy houses and pay taxes, as well. (I'm sure it's pricey as well in their communities as well.)

11:53 AM  
Blogger Education4Less said...

While your comments certainly don't warrant a response, here are some facts to munch on (gleaned from various letters to the editor of the Nassau Herald):

Many LPS teachers are paid as much as $112k plus benefits for teaching only 3 periods a day. That equals $170/hour plus benefits (for teaching five 43-minute periods 184 days per year).

Taxpayers also pay the teachers' union president $112k plus benefits for teaching only 3 periods a day (which amounts to $283/hour for time spent teaching)

Teachers in LPS teach only five periods a day while teachers elsewhere teach 6 periods a day.

Among the 56 high schools in Nassau County, LPS' Regents passage rate ranked last year between the bottom 10 and bottom 16 percent for each of the five subjects (as reported by Newsday)

As reported by the NYT and Newsday, LPS' 4th grade, 8th grade and high school scores are all well below average while LPS teachers salaries are the 2nd highest in the county

The teachers' union president has in the past publicly stated that local taxpayers can afford to pay the high salaries demanded by the teachers.

LPS teachers are currently paid $50/hour for bus duty while teachers elsewhere perform this for free.

LPS teachers received up to 375 sick day payouts at $125/day while neighboring districts do not grant any sick day payouts.

With 18 personal and sick days, LPS teachers receive one day off for every ten days worked.

The teachers' union president wrote to teachers who had volunteered to mentor students and demanded that they stop such efforts immediately, stating "you may be establishing a practice which will expand your responsibilities and ahrm the [union] in future grievances and negotiations"

LPS teachers currently received annual increases in salary and benefits amounting to 8-9 percent while inflation is only at 3 percent.

LPS teachers work less than 4 hours each day for only 39 weeks each year.

1:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you are a truly delusional individual. a few valid points, but mainly gross exaggerations and untruths. it is amazing that anyone would want to devote their lives to educating the youth of today and helping to create a nation of industrious workers able to compete in an increasingly competetive global economy with people like yourself spewing and promoting such anti-teacher propoganda. I was going to acknowledge the areas of truth you stated and refute the others, but it simply isn't worth it. (BTW, letters to the editors are mostly comprised of opinions, not facts.)

1:56 PM  
Blogger Education4Less said...

In that case, please do acknowledge the facts and point out the untruths, so that we might better understand this issue.

While it's obvious that letters to the editor frequently include the writer's opinion, I purposefully did not include any opinions above.

8:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well, why don't we start with a direct response to my previous comment.

You stated, "'... best educational interests for their students at heart'? Maybe, but certainly not ahead of protecting their own interests and securing the highest possible salaries for themselves. "

My response: "I suppose people that have chosen the "noble" profession of education should be the only one's in America that do not try to secure the best standard of living possible."

Are you indeed saying that teachers should be advocates for their students, but not for themselves and their families?

9:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"While it's obvious that letters to the editor frequently include the writer's opinion, I purposefully did not include any opinions above."

That is pretty comical. You must have a lot of free time on your hands to sort through the comments in the letters to the editor in your local paper and verify the fact from fiction. So, please, share your sources with me where I can look up the following "facts" on my own.

- LPS teachers work less than 4 hours each day for only 39 weeks each year.
- Many LPS teachers are paid as much as $112k plus benefits for teaching only 3 periods a day.

9:29 PM  
Blogger Education4Less said...

Thanks for catching that error. I misquoted the letter writer. It should say "Many LPS teachers are paid as much as $112k for teaching only 5 periods a day." (My apologies to the letter-writer, as well, for the misquote.)

These numbers are hardly anyone's opinion. The NYT (on May 15, 2005) found 91 LPS teachers earning $100k or more, based on information provided by the State Education Department. Most LPS teachers teach 5 periods a day. (If you inquire with the district or the NYS Education Department, you'll actually find quite a few teachers earning well more than $112k when additional duties and activities are taken into account.) As for the simple math: 5 (periods) x 43 (minutes per period) = 215 (minutes taught per day). 215 (minutes) divided by 60 (minutes per hour) = 3 hours, 35 minutes taught per day by LPS teachers. 52 weeks minus summer vacation and holiday weeks equals 39 weeks.
Now that's a job that I'd love to have - too bad these positions are doled out based on patronage.

But there's no use quibbling over these facts, and you haven't even tried to dispute most of them. I have a number of family members and close friends who are in "the noble profession of education" who unfortunately cannot earn salaries anywhere near those of LPS teachers. Yet, when they consider these facts, they arrive at the same conclusions that I (and the majority of District 15 voters) have. This is not reasonable compensation. This is about students and taxpayers being held up a powerful teachers union in cahoots with district officials.

10:21 PM  
Anonymous uncle moishy said...

A naive question:

How did the members of the School Board get their jobs? Aren't they voted in (as in NYC)? Shouldn't the "private school community" have been able to get their advocates onto the Board by now?

A cynical comment:

All things considered, I'm sure the teachers and administration would prefer to deliver the highest-quality education possible to their students, but I suspect that protecting their positions and compensation packages remains priority #1. So the "no free mentoring" browbeating by the union official to the well-intentioned (but misguided) teacher rings true with me.

But I don't believe that the frum community really wants the Lawrence public school system to deliver a quality education either (except maybe the renegades looking to pull their kids from yeshivah and send them to public school + religious after-school). There are simply too many advantages from not having a top-tier system:
• reduced property taxes
• accelerated flight of remaining non-frum families from the community, thereby increasing neighborhood homogeneity even further
• possible grand prize: purchase of unneeded/unwanted public school building(s) by a growing yeshivah looking for more space (possibly on the cheap, depends on who controls the sale from the District's end).

Not to suggest that there's very much illogical or wrong with this -- on either side. This is just the American way -- everyone looking out for themselves.

11:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To edu4less:

I. I will ask you this question for a third time, although it appears that you are unwilling to respond. Here it is. A direct response would be appreciated.

You stated, "'... best educational interests for their students at heart'? Maybe, but certainly not ahead of protecting their own interests and securing the highest possible salaries for themselves. "

My response: "I suppose people that have chosen the "noble" profession of education should be the only one's in America that do not try to secure the best standard of living possible."

Are you indeed saying that teachers should be advocates for their students, but not for themselves and their families?

II. Thank you for the math lesson. It boggles the mind the contempt that you have for educators. You equate their profession with that of a burger-flipper at McDonald's. (not to disparage burger flippers) How so? Well, the average burger flipper puts in his or her eight-hour day, and goes home. Are they up all night mixing the special sauce so that it will be ready for the Big Mac's the next day? I think not. Teachers, as I am sure you are already aware, do not work 3 hours and 35 minutes a day, 39 weeks a year. A teacher’s day does not go as follows: Show up. Teach a class a class or two. Have a period or two to do nothing. Repeat. Go home. Relax. Spend taxpayer’s money on luxury items. What bothers me is that I am sure you are aware of the fact that teachers work during their free periods, at nights, on weekends, and even over the summer (and I'm not talking about second jobs) However, you choose not to acknowledge these facts in order to continue your attack against them. There has been good press about progress being made on test scores. I sure have never seen mention of it here. Oh, and about the patronage, I'm sure some people have been hired that way. But to state, "Now that's a job that I'd love to have - too bad these positions are doled out based on patronage," is ludicrous. You want a job so badly that has an extremely high burnout rate? Also, by stating that positions are not earned is insulting to the people that have worked hard to get where they are.

III. To Uncle Moishy:
I'm happy to see some honesty. Thank you. I've always asserted that frum concern over public school test scores was disingenuous. (for what it's worth, Orthomom, that is not a blanket statement. I sincerely believe that you, and others, care.) However, I must take issue with your last point.

"Not to suggest that there's very much illogical or wrong with this -- on either side. This is just the American way -- everyone looking out for themselves."

Looking out for the best interests for your family and your community is most certainly the American way. However, attempts to destroy a public school system (if, indeed, that is happening in some corners) for selfish interests most certainly is not.

12:13 AM  
Blogger Education4Less said...

Are you indeed saying that teachers should be advocates for their students, but not for themselves and their families?

My answer is (obviously) no. The important point that you're missing is that the district already spends over $20k per student (which is far more than most other districts). There is more than enough money built into that $20k to provide every student with an unparalleled education as well as any desired extracurricular programs and activities. Once the district already spends that much per student, it's unreasonable and unfair to demand more money from any taxpayer. So based on the per pupil expenditure alone, there's good reason for a taxpayer revolt. (Don't forget, this is happening all across Long Island and elsewhere in the state.) But this is not about judging how much a teacher deserves because the district will not be able to squeeze taxpayers for that much more. The end result is that students lose out on valuable programs and activities because of ever-increasing salaries. Classes are consolidated (and classes sizes increase) because teachers demand and receive higher salaries. There's no such thing as choosing EITHER salaries OR students, but there clearly must be a reasonable balance between the two. This balance has eroded in recent years and while unions effectively advocate for salary increases, students don't have an effective enough advocate to secure their programs, activities, etc. from encroaching salary increases.

Everyone deserves a fine education and everyone depends on members of "the noble profession" to provide it. As a corollary, I'm certain everyone agrees that teachers deserve to make a reasonable living as well. But as with all other professions, a reasonable living is determined by supply, demand, the economy, etc.

Salaries in District 15 long ago exceeded reasonable standards. Despite that, district employees continue to demand and receive excessive increases thanks to extremely effective unions and a self-dealing school board which is elected with the financial support and endorsment of those same unions. Conflict of interest? Undoubtedly?


I can't comment on how much any teacher works outside of the classroom, but I'm certain that it varies considerably. Regardless, there is no plausible explanation why the LPS market should dicate far higher teachers salaries than in other school districts or systems. And no, this has nothing to do with the cost of living for teachers in the Lawrence School District since the bulk of LPS teachers probably don't even live in the district.

12:54 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Uncle Moishy:
I actually emphatically disagree with your asessment. Though there may be some who would like to witness the dismantling of the local public school system, that is far rom true for the majority. Most for altruistic reasons - we really want the best education for these children, and certainly know the value of public education. Maybe a few for selfish reasons entirely - they don't want their property values going down if the public schools in the neighborhood start to receive poorer and poorer ratings. I can tell you, though, with complete honesty, (and you know I am always honest), that I have never, in all my business and social interactions with Orthodox members of the community, heard any comments regarding this issue that indicated an interest in seeing a collapse of the public schools out here. Yes, we would like to see them cap their spending, and "make do" on the $20,000 per student that the current budget supports. But to imply that this stems from any sort of interest in seeing the schools fail is a bit more cynical than I have the stomach for.

I also must point out that a very considerable percentage of those who voted down the budget in my community who were NOT Orthodox. Just as those who are rejecting proposed school budgets at a record pace across Long island are not Orthodox either. Rejecting a proposed budget does not make a community "anti-education". I don't hear those accusations being hurled at those who have voted down the budget in other districts (many of whom are public school parents themselves). It just makes them united in their rejection of the consistent tax and spending increases. All of us have to manage on a budget - why not the school districts?

7:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"And no, this has nothing to do with the cost of living for teachers in the Lawrence School District since the bulk of LPS teachers probably don't even live in the district."

Of course! The rest of Long Island has a plethera of affordable housing and low taxes to boot!!

7:56 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

You know, anon, you cricize education4less for not responding to your points, but you seem to be guilty of the same actions. I have pointed out the fact that these budgets are being rejected all across Long Island, by mostly non-Orthodox voters, and yet no one is painting this into an Orthodox/non-Orthodox issue in those districts. Why can't the SD #15 reps recognize this battle for what it is, like every other district in LI whose budgets are being rejected: a fight over a perceived runanway budget and unacceptable tax hikes. Maybe if SD 15 officials realized that, and worked on regaining the trust of the community instead of trying so hard to alienate the Orthodox by making appalling claims like we don't "care about the education of anyone but our own", then we would actually get somewhere. Instead, we are just getting more and more heated, and more and more angry. And that doesn't bode well for the next battle. Trust me, give treating us like people a shot. Labeling us as the "Orthodox, anti-public education segment of the community" doesn't seem to have gotten you anywhere.

8:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

O.K., OM, I'll respond to your most immediate post, with a few comments for edu4less thrown in.

“I have pointed out the fact that these budgets are being rejected all across Long Island, by mostly non-Orthodox voters, and yet no one is painting this into an Orthodox/non-Orthodox issue in those districts.”
1. Most districts do not have sizable Orthodox communities.
2. Most districts have not voted down consecutive budgets.

Why can't the SD #15 reps recognize this battle for what it is, like every other district in LI whose budgets are being rejected: a fight over a perceived runanway budget and unacceptable tax hikes.
1. This “battle” is most certainly not like every other district on LI that had their budgets rejected.
2. People all over Long Island are fed up with high taxes, myself included. However, there is a widespread problem of people taking out their anger on the school districts because it is the only budgetary matter over which they have any control. Taxes have largely gone up in the majority of communities because of the county reassessment, not school taxes. In my opinion, consecutive austerity budgets have served its purpose in “starving the beast”. Fat has been trimmed. Programs, jobs, services cut. However, with further budget defeats, the beast may be starved to death, bringing about Uncle Moishy’s dooms-day scenario.

Maybe if SD 15 officials realized that, and worked on regaining the trust of the community instead of trying so hard to alienate the Orthodox by making appalling claims like we don't "care about the education of anyone but our own", then we would actually get somewhere.
1. I agree. The district has done an abhorrent job in reaching out the Orthodox community.
2. Unfortunately, I feel that there are segments of the frum community that don’t "care about the education of anyone but (its) own", and I’ve seen numerous posts over time that have supported this point. Let me quote our friend education4less. “There obviously is an element to the opposition that opposes spending taxes on anything that they will not benefit from (and obviously, school taxes are the only thing they can take a stand on).” I have difficulty understanding how you cannot acknowledge this, just as I have acknowledged that this is not a blanket statement concerning the entire community. It’s not a feeling that is all one way or another.

Labeling us as the "Orthodox, anti-public education segment of the community" doesn't seem to have gotten you anywhere.
1. Gotten me anywhere? I’m the same guy who posted awhile back about public school teachers working in the yeshivas in order to help bring down yeshiva tuition and to work at bridging the gap between the communities. I don’t remember getting much of a response. A few days later, you sited a link with an article by Isler and Gluck that said the same thing. (although, I’m sure they had thought of the idea before me) There are anti-public education segments of the Orthodox community. I can’t see how you would see otherwise. However, there is certainly room to work together if only both sides were willing. (which they might be, for all I know, because I’m not on the inside privy to such information)

A question: Why have you been so silent regarding the back and forth with edu4less? I thought you would have chimed in at some point other than to criticize me for not answering his points.

Remember the following exchange?

OM : I refuse to believe that people that have chosen a career in education do not have the best educational interests for their students at heart. Are they imperfect, perhaps even mistake prone? Seems so. But to insinuate that they don't really care for the children they have spent a career serving is, IMHO, mean spirited.

anon: Fair enough. But the accusations leveled at those who have been voting down the budget have been much harsher.

Your logic says, “It’s okay for me to be mean spirited, because the opposition is meaner.” This certainly is not in line with your appeal for the district to reach out to the Orthodox community as it only fans the flames.

To edu4less: “I can't comment on how much any teacher works outside of the classroom, but I'm certain that it varies considerably.”
So, how can you assert that “LPS teachers work less than 4 hours each day for only 39 weeks each year”? I thought that each of your comments were facts gleaned from reliable comments of the letters to the editor section of your local newspaper? It seems that you are now admitting that there is a possibility that teacher’s work a bit more. (perhaps 4.5 hours a day?)

Me: “Are you indeed saying that teachers should be advocates for their students, but not for themselves and their families?

You: “My answer is (obviously) no.”

Thank you for the direct answer. If your answer is no, then how can you criticize teachers for “protecting their own interests and (attempting to) secure(e) the highest possible salaries for themselves.” So, it’s reasonable that teachers advocate on their own behalf, but unreasonable that they attempt to secure the highest possible salaries for themselves? Maybe that should only advocate for themselves a little, in deference to the taxpayers, regardless of their own skyrocketing taxes.

“This is about students and taxpayers being held up a powerful teachers union in cahoots with district officials.”

You obviously have absolutely no clue about the relationship between the teacher’s union and district officials.

10:20 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Your logic says, “It’s okay for me to be mean spirited, because the opposition is meaner.” This certainly is not in line with your appeal for the district to reach out to the Orthodox community as it only fans the flames.

No, my answer, "fair enough", concedes your point that my comment was unecessarily mean-spirited. Not that it was OK to be mean-spirited. Then I pointed out that maybe some people from the "other side" shpould make some concesiions about how far the rancor has gone on their side as well. Were YOu at the school board meeting when Anthony Licatesi stepped down, and got up to make the most disgusting, diatribe-filled speech against the Orthodox community, to thunderous applause? Well, maybe it's time for those in the non-orthodox community to denounce those kinds of statements before we can sit down and talk like people who actually trust each other.

“I have pointed out the fact that these budgets are being rejected all across Long Island, by mostly non-Orthodox voters, and yet no one is painting this into an Orthodox/non-Orthodox issue in those districts.”
1. Most districts do not have sizable Orthodox communities.


Again, you're missing my point. You are so blinded by the forst that you cannot see the trees. Maybe if this wouldn't be viewed merely as an Orthodox/non-orthodox issue, and as a issue of fiscal responsibility, we would actually take steps toward a solution that would make both camps happy.

10:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, I wasn't at the board meeting you refer to, but if I was, I doubt that I would have been cheering.

I'm blind? You can't even bring yourself to admit that there are segments of the Orthodox community that don't care about the public schools.

Also, after being criticized by you for not responding to edu4less' points, I thought I would have received a more in depth response from you. (unless, of course, you're busy with the family or other responsibilities at the moment. I, too, should get off the computer and get to work.)

10:38 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

(unless, of course, you're busy with the family or other responsibilities at the moment. I, too, should get off the computer and get to work.)

Good call. :) I'd be happy to continue this when not bogged down by duty's call.

10:41 AM  
Blogger Jack's Shack said...

You can never pay teachers enough for the work that they do. What is more important than educating our children.

That being said there are some significant problems with teachers that need to be addressed such as the lack of oversight in some schools/districts.

12:32 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

I love when you pop in as the voice of reason, Jack!

12:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah!! I agree! Oversight is fine with me. After all, it's a pretty important job, and someone better make sure it's being done properly.

12:40 PM  
Blogger Jack's Shack said...

I used to want to be a teacher and even did some, but had to give it up because I couldn't earn enough to support a family.

I am just one of many who has had to do something else. There is something very wrong with the system right now and we really need to work on fixing it.

2:05 PM  
Anonymous uncle moishy said...

OM: I'd appreciate it if you could address my first question: Aren't school board officials elected, and if so, why hasn't the same coalition that has defeated multiple budget proposals coalesced to elect one or more like-minded members of the Board?

Anonymous: In response to “This is about students and taxpayers being held up a powerful teachers union in cahoots with district officials,”
you claimed that

"You obviously have absolutely no clue about the relationship between the teacher’s union and district officials."


Really? I'll concede that there's always a degree of adversarialism between "management" and "union" but school administrators don't grow on trees. They rise from the ranks of teachers, and as such, there's a considerable identification by mgmt with teacher sensibilities, no matter which side of the table they're sitting on. Personally, I agree that both the admin and the union have a strong stake in maintaining the status quo in the district.

10:54 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Uncle Moishy:
There's a bit about that on this blog. Check the previous post links contained in this post.

11:02 PM  
Blogger Education4Less said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:09 AM  
Blogger Education4Less said...

In response to uncle moishy's question regarding electing officials:

Recent school board elections have been very close and the most recent election for 2 seats resulted in one seat being won by each of the two camps.

The fact that budgets have been failing by far greater margins than the margins in elections for seats on the school board (in the same election) is further indicative that the district's fiscal management is disapproved of by a significant number of public school parents and supporters of "public school" school board candidates.

12:10 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Exactly my point in my comments above. In a recent election, the candidate endorsed by the public schoool community was elected in favor of the candidate presented by the private school community - yet, the budget was turned down by a very comfortable margin. Which goes a ways towards explaining why this issue isn't all it's cracked up to be. Again, the reason the public school community keeps losing the budget votes may have something to do with their lack of comprehension of who is unhappy here - and it's far fom just the Yeshiva parents. It's easier to present the case to the public school community as "Us vs. Them", but that is obviously not the full picture here.

8:00 AM  
Blogger Romach said...

Don't have the time to read the previous comments, apologies if I duplicate one:

Under the austerity budget, I think taxes do go up, but by a much smaller amount. Therefore, the board would have more money this year than they did last year. And to them, money=power.

12:50 AM  
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