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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

School District 15 Board Meeting Report

I unfortunately was too busy with Pesach preparations to attend, but these are excerpts from a report I received by e-mail:
Proposed Budget

Last night's school board meeting began with an elaborate (though sorely unconvincing) presentation by Dr. Fitzsimons of his proposed budget for the '07-'08 school year. Notwithstanding the annual $6 million to $9 million surpluses generated by District and the dwindling enrollment in the public schools, the Superintendent's proposed budget was $96.4 million, which would represent a 5% budget increase and an 8% levy increase over last year's budget. Fitzsimons insisted that this significant budget increase is absolutely necessary to cover increased costs including salaries for the 14 new full-time teachers and administrators that he would like to hire. (He did not clarify why these personnel additions are necessitated by dwindling enrollment.)

Murray Forman suggested that Dr. Fitzsimons go back to the drawing board with the proposed budget and come back to the board with a budget that represent a 0% increase over last year's budget. Mansdorf, Forman, Sussman, Kaufman and Hatten insisted that they would not support Dr. Fitzsimons' proposed increase or anything close to it, and that allowing any increase to be placed on the ballot would only lead the District into yet another year of contingency. Murray Forman noted that the proposed budget could not be an accurate characterization of the District's expenditures since the District has been left with surpluses of $6 million to $9 million in each of the last few years. Fitzsimons, Kopilow and Greenbaum railed against the majority of the board and insisted that even the proposed 5% increase would provide the District with a skeleton budget and that any suggestion of presenting a 0% increase budget is "irresponsible," despite the expectation that the current school year's budget will generate a $6 million surplus. At the insistence of the board majority, it was decided that the proposed budget would be revisited objectively by the school board's outside auditor or accountant so that a budget could be presented that the board and the voters would approve.

Pre-K Busing

The board introduced a referendum prepared by the board's attorneys, to be presented to voters for their approval on May 15th. Fitzsimons, Kopilow, Greenbaum and a few rowdy members of the audience suggested that the board shouldn't approve the referendum for a litany of reasons. They publicly questioned the owner of Independent Bus Company in an effort to find flaws in the board's proposition, and to try to illustrate that the District could not sufficiently establish the cost of pre-k busing (which the board estimated at $500k), and that providing pre-k busing for private school kids would be too expensive for the District. Greenbaum suggested that there shouldn't be any pre-k busing for private school children unless the board ties this referendum to a guarantee that public school children would continue to receive the free pre-k program (with transportation) that they currently receive. Kopilow suggested that the pre-k busing referendum should include a measure requiring that all of the $30 million proceeds from the sale of the #1 school property be spent on capital improvements to the other buildings. Despite the protests from Fitzsimons, Kopilow and Greenbaum, the board voted (5-2) for the pre-k busing referendum to be presented to voters on May 15th. The referendum will provide for free transportation for all District 15 private school children (who will be 4 years old on December 1, 2007) who are in "full day" preschool programs that contain in the aggregate at least 25 children in their 4 and 5 year old programs. This pre-k program will only be implemented by the District if it is approved by a majority of voters on May 15th.

Capital Improvements

Uri Kaufman presented the conclusions of a group of architects and engineers who reviewed the capital improvements needs in the District's buildings. The architects concluded that the cost of necessary repairs to the buildings is approximately $7.1 million. Kaufman's report was not well-received by Fitzsimons, Kopilow and Greenbaum who maintain that all of the $30 million proceeds from the sale of the #1 school property be spent on capital improvements. Mansdorf suggested that the board approve a referendum for voter approval to allocate $10 million (from the sale proceeds) for capital improvements, in order to provide a margin of error on top of the architects' estimate. Fitzsimons, Kopilow and Greenbaum balked at the conclusions of the architects and insisted that all of the $30 million proceeds be allocated for capital improvements (suggesting that an old estimate of $33 million in necessary repairs, which was arranged by the Superintendent, was more accurate). Mansdorf suggested that the issue be tabled for further discussion and Kopilow and Greenbaum agreed.
My bottom line: the May 15th vote is an important one for all district voters - and particularly pressing for those with young children.

283 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So OM, you busy packing, or busy cooking and cleaning?

8:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How can one architect say there is only $7 million in work needed, when Fitz's architects say they need $30 million? One might think that someone is pocketing money for a whole bunch of unnecessary projects, or Kaufamn's architects are incompetent.

So which is right?

10:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it should surprise no one that the actual estimates for the work are far lower than the projections made by Fitz.

11:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought the most telling part of the meeting was the way Andrew Levey was gesticulating and screaming at the board members throughout the course of the meeting. It's admirable of him to attend every meeting and to participate in the public comment portion of the meetings, if he wants to run for the school board. But does he really believe that he's going to earn anyone's respect by acting like an animal and constantly disrupting the meeting?

Public figures should all strive to be role models for our children - and especially those individuals who serve on a school board. I have a hard enough time teaching my children right from wrong without poor role models. Who needs this kind of behavior on our school board?

1:24 AM  
Anonymous justme said...

I would like to know why is it such a hard fact to grasp that the public school children are entitled to "perks" through the school system, and it's not so for the private? Why is it a must that PreK get busing, with out having to back that proposal up? The Superintendent of the schools talks about hiring 12 members of staff and all hell breaks loose? When will it be in the best interest for ALL children? It should never be about pinning child against child. Everyone thinks their child is qualified. They are, but nothing is free! Busing, books, etc. costs money! Money that seems to be more harder to part with than peoples morals! What ever happened to, do to others as you would have them do to you! NO child should be left behind. NO child should have to suffer because of the adults egos. I have become to comprehend this is not about religion, but about ego. No core of religion, Jewish Christian, Muslim, Buddist or Hindu, (forgive me for any I have left out)would have you think it is morally right for children to deteriorate. It is through man's own ego, that created the hatred and malice that now dominates in religion! Shame on all who have lost sight of what G*d really would want! My he NOT have mercy on your souls!

9:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"public school children are entitled to "perks" through the school system, and it's not so for the private"

Huh?

10:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am orthodox, with young kids in yeshiva. I really dont believe that busing for the 4 year olds is absolutely necessary...sure it would make my life easier, but it is a "perk" for both public and private school kids, and perhaps the money is better spent elsewhere??

But this community really tires me out....

11:06 AM  
Anonymous Observer said...

Justme -- Yes, hopefully it is just you.

In a District where a majority of the school children attend private schools, yet private school parents have the same tax obligations as public school parents, you wonder why people have an issue with added "perks" for public school children but not private?

11:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am orthodox, with young kids in yeshiva. I really dont believe that busing for the 4 year olds is absolutely necessary...sure it would make my life easier, but it is a "perk" for both public and private school kids, and perhaps the money is better spent elsewhere??

I think you are missing the point on this issue. It is not a question of whether pre-k busing is important for parents of private school children or any children. For some parents it is extremely important (such as those with multiple young children and those with dual incomes) and for other parents it isn't that important and may even be viewed as reckless.

The important thing to realize with respect to this issue is that children who attend public school currently receive a free pre-k program which is not required by law and received free pre-k transportation. There is a government grant that covers a significant portion of the program's cost, but it does not cover the entire cost of the program and it is questionable how much, if at all, it covers the cost of transportation that they currently receive.

If a service (or "perk," if you wish) is provided to children who attend public school and it is legally possible to provide the same or similar service (or "perk") to private school children, then the system is inequitable as long as private school parents aren't offered the service. Of course, any parent who doesn't want this service would not be forced to receive it, but would have the option to receive it if they so desire - just like parents have an option to sign up for the public school pre-k program. Under law, it's still up to the voters to decide whether transportation services should be expanded to include pre-k busing for everyone.

But there's certainly very little justification for the argument that the board is wrong to make this proposal because it's an "uncecessary perk" or "the money would be better spent elsewhere". It's clear that the board made this decision because there are obvious inequities in the distribution of services in the District. That does not mean that anyone is entitled to an expansion of services, but it means that it's reasonable to look for ways to make the system more equitable and in this case, to give the voters the choice.

1:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent characterization of this issues - I couldn't agree more.

This is also an smart move by the board to help get the budget passed. It's been 5 years since we've had a budget, and it's a no-brainer that the 4%-7% budget increase proposed by Fitzsimons and supported by certain members of the board will only piss off voters and lead the district into another year of contingency. What's the sense in that? It's nice to see the "private school board members" taking a real stand in support of getting a budget passed and it's sad that Fitzsimons and the other board members are not supporting this objective.

1:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Controlling costs isn't just a private school parent issue. I have 2 kids in public schools and I also want my taxes to get under control. The old Board used to tell us it cost 3-4% increase just to maintain programs.

But if we'd had senior teachers retire and we've cut back wasteful spending, then why can't the administrators present a budget that's 0% over this years?

They tried to do it last year with a budget less than austerity so it is possible.

If you need to cut costs, start with the administrators....why do we now have 2 people managing HR when there used to be 1?

1:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, Fitzsimons has the wrong attitude about taxing and spending. His only motivation is to have as much money as possible in the system and he's losing sight of the fact that he'll bury the district if he puts up another significant increase (even if it's "only" an austerity level increase of 3.5%) and it gets shot down again by the voters.

The key to getting this system fixed is to get everyone's support for a budget and to get everyone to feel that their needs are being given the proper attention. And in the short term, if that means spending $500k on pre-k busing, then it's the logical thing to do.

1:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First, Dr. Fitzsimmons stated this year the decline in the public school will be 1/2%. That is really not much of a decline. The extra teachers needed are for all the classes this year that were way over the cap. Our special education program is increasing, and even when a child attends private school we pay for the one on one aide. Things cost money. It is a fact of life. The money from school one should be put back into the schools and the community. Money for afterschool busing,weekend programs, etc. No district has a budget that has no increase it is not possible. If we go on austerity this year again, we will contine to endure. But, don't complain when services, like pre-k busing and all other programs will get cut. No matter who is on the board the majority of money will be put into the public schools. This is the law and a fact of life. Murray Foreman all of a sudden feels, phones, and building repairs are not necessary. Funny, this is a man who beat Rose out by 74 votes. This is the man who handed out flyers "If you want to make sure the district keeps busing vote for me" Not realizing the district residents have to vote on busing. This is who should run our budget??? You pick on Andrew Levy. A man who screams maybe but a man who has the interest of all our children. Perhaps if you would listen to him speak, you would see, his frustration stems from the board putting its agenda first and not the children. Also, pre-k busing as per the state is not considered a service that has to be offered to both public and private. Pre-k is not a legal grade. (state legal dept). It would be nice this election if people who are interested in putting their children first listen to the proposed budget, and make a decision based on how they feel and not how somone tells them to vote. This is America, and if we allow those in this community to insist on who we should vote for, we might as well not vote at all.

2:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It would be nice this election if people who are interested in putting their children first listen to the proposed budget, and make a decision based on how they feel and not how somone tells them to vote. This is America, and if we allow those in this community to insist on who we should vote for, we might as well not vote at all.

So I assume you were against Fitzsimons, Kopilow, Greenbaum's attempts to keep the Pre-K busing initiative off the ballot?

2:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also, pre-k busing as per the state is not considered a service that has to be offered to both public and private. Pre-k is not a legal grade. (state legal dept).

- Spoken like Pam herself (though perhaps without a crib sheet). It's time to take off the blinders and to realize that the support of the entire community is needed to pass a budget. If the support of the entire community is needed, services need to be alloted with an open hand rather than with a closed fist. Pre-k is not a legal grade and that is precisely why it is fair to offer everyone the opportunity to weigh in on whether some of the services that are being offered in the public schools for pre-k.

2:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also, pre-k busing as per the state is not considered a service that has to be offered to both public and private. Pre-k is not a legal grade. (state legal dept).

- Spoken like Pam herself (though perhaps without a crib sheet). It's time to take off the blinders and to realize that the support of the entire community is needed to pass a budget. If the support of the entire community is needed, services need to be alloted with an open hand rather than with a closed fist. Pre-k is not a legal grade and that is precisely why it is fair to offer everyone the opportunity to weigh in on whether some of the services that are being offered in the public schools for pre-k should be offered to children in private school as well, where legal.

2:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You want a bigger piece of pie @ any expense...without paying more...even if it means taking away from the public schools...

2:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and, of course, the board majority is correct in every area of disagreement, right? is this even open for debate? G-d forbid anyone from the frum community disagree with one of them.

2:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who needs to disagree with them? They seem to disagree plenty among themselves.

3:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You want a bigger piece of pie @ any expense...without paying more...even if it means taking away from the public schools...

Is it theoretically possible to take any piece of the pie - bigger or smaller - without "taking away from the public schools"?

District 15 taxpayers pay more than they'd like to and will continue to pay even more whether they like it or not. But as much as they will ever pay, there will always be "Public School Advocates" who cry foul and insist that any money spent on a private school child "means taking away from the public schools". So it's not really about paying more - private school parents already do pay far more than they will ever benefit. It's really just about making sure that the needs or interests of private school students are always served last since any money spent on private school kids would be better spent on public school kids.

4:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I for one have no problem if the needs and wants of the private school children are met, within the guidlines of the law. Certain members of this community on BOTH sides do their best to stir the pot. The children who are non public currently receive all legal entitlements plus more. Busing on public school holidays, services in school instead of having to drive to them. These are things not required by law. I have no problem with pre-k busing. I feel bad for the transportation office, but if they hire another person or two I am sure they can handle the volume. I also think that anyone who enrolls for pre-k busing should not be allowed to complain about route times or bus stops. The cost 1 million dollars, is not a problem. If you do for one in transportation you should do for another. The private school tuitions, fine, I agree, but do not be surprised when every parent(both) refused to sign on any IEP. The above issues have consumed every board meeting for the past year. We have heard little about the consultant that was supposed to be hired to help scores. The educational plan that Fitz presented which was good never was acted on. The job of the board is to represent the community and advocate for the public schools. While it is appreciated that Dr. M has obtained many grants, we have yet to hear the educational plan they have set for the future. This includes child find for the private schools. Setting up a strong program for the private schools would stop the non stop evaluations on children who do not qualify for special education, but do need extra help. Blaming the on the teachers contract at this time is just redundant. It accomplishes nothing, and frankly I feel as if I am listening to a bunch of kids complaining about how unfair thinkgs areat this time it cannot be changed. It is time to stop talking about it and move forward. If the board puts up a zero increase budget, I urge every member of this community to vote it down. Costs go up. Surplus or not, the budget should be realistic, and not be a pipe dream. Just think that extra money could be used for the children, ALL the children, just think late busing,weekend programs, "perks" that all our children can participate in. Let us not be the puppets our respective communities encourage. Ladies, vote for who you think will do a good job. Don't be a sheep. Make your own decisions. Demand an increase of our budget. Let the men know what our children need. Set up accounts for the money from the sale of school 1. Gluing the front of a school on is not the answer, it needs to be replaced. We will only have the proceeds from a sale just once. The population decrease as per the state is now 1/2%. These schools should be fixed appropriately, and not with spit and glue. Create technology learning centers that the community can use on the weekends. Develop gifted programs for all the children of the district. Most importantly remember the board are elected officials, we need to let them know we stand together and not apart.

10:38 PM  
Blogger proud_mom said...

We have heard little about the consultant that was supposed to be hired to help scores. The educational plan that Fitz presented which was good never was acted on. The job of the board is to represent the community and advocate for the public schools.

These are very odd comments. I happen to agree with Dr. Sussman's advocacy for a specialist to focus on children who are slipping through the cracks. And I heard it brought up at countless meetings. But sadly, it was the "public school advocates" who shot down that idea ever time - Fitzsimons, Kopilow, Greenbaum, LTA and PTA representatives. Who are these people who are supposedly advocating for our children? Why is their vision always clouded? Fitzsimons has presented his plans year after year, but he has never implemented anything notable - not under the '04-'05 board, not under the '05-'06 board and not under the current board. I've been to too many meetings to be fooled by his ambitious plans. He's a fine talker, but what positive impact has he made for the children?


If the board puts up a zero increase budget, I urge every member of this community to vote it down. Costs go up. Surplus or not, the budget should be realistic, and not be a pipe dream. Just think that extra money could be used for the children, ALL the children, just think late busing,weekend programs, "perks" that all our children can participate in.

I just don't understand. I don't understand why any board member would oppose a budget that for the first time has a chance at getting approved by voters. This attitude of bickering and obstructing just because you're on the other team has to end. That is the reason why our system is in a rut and our kids are suffering. We elect board members to advocate for our kids but they're too busy trying to concoct reasons to obstruct progress - merely because the progress may be initiated by "the other side". Where is the sense in our community? Why would someone who sincerely cares about the children suggest that anyone should vote against the budget and drive the District into a 5th year of contingency? Is this all just a childish game to destroy the schools? That's all anyone would accomplish by trying to sink yet another budget.

11:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If the board puts up a zero increase budget, I urge every member of this community to vote it down."

Is this a joke?

1:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If the board puts up a zero increase budget, I urge every member of this community to vote it down."

Due to the legalities of the system, many more dollars will be AVAILABLE to be spent in a 0% increase budget, than in another year on austerity. This electorate has voted down four budgets, and will vote down a fifth if the superintendent insists on presenting his pipe dream 10% increase budget for a vote.
And for the record, public school students also receive all legal entitlements plus more.

8:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"public school students also receive all legal entitlements plus more." Of course they do, they are supposed to! It's public school, Not private. Public school is a right. Private is a parents choice. Parents choose to pay for a private and different education. If money is such an issue, as it seems to be, demand the rabbis or heads of the schools to lower tuition! Stop biting off more than you can chew, by having an endless amount of children. Some people have children as though they are a stray cat in heat having babies left and right. No concern in the world as to how the hell they will pay for them. When it comes down to it all, parents need to be more responcible with the choices they make.

8:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Yes, hopefully it is just you." No it's not Justme that feels that way, so do I. "In a District where a majority of the school children attend private schools, yet private school parents have the same tax obligations as public school parents, you wonder why people have an issue with added "perks" for public school children but not private?" What in the world is wrong with you?? Just because there is a majority of school children attending private schools doesn't mean the public school children should be second. All children should be getting an excellent education. When parents send their children to private school it is because religion usually is more important than education(which is their right and their choice). If you choose to move somewhere, do you do it blindly? Obviously not. All who live here knew what the taxes were and what the demographics were. School tax is just a small drop in the bucket. It seems as though there is an idea that if people don't live as you do they are wrong. That their children a less important. Everyone hides behind religion. It is all about ego.

11:21 AM

9:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Stop biting off more than you can chew, by having an endless amount of children. Some people have children as though they are a stray cat in heat having babies left and right."

Classic....

I love seeing the family with the mother holding the newborn, the seven year old holding the two year old in her arms with the three year old holding her hand. Then the the four and five year old are running ahead into the busy street.

10:28 AM  
Anonymous Observer said...

Anonymous 11:21: Are you kidding me. first of all, I don't think that people who don't live as I do are "wrong." Where do you even come up with such nonsense? I am a firm believer in a pluralistic society and quite frankly, don't give a rat's behind how other people choose to live. How I choose to live is my business (not yours) and how other choose to live is theirs, not mine.
Let me ask you this though, how, to your thinking, am I putting private schol children ahead of public school children by asserting that "perks" should be equalized. I don't begrudge the school taxes I pay -- I think society as a whole benefits from an educated populace. Even though my children are educated in private school, I pay the same taxes as public school parents. That is fine by me. But if the District chooses to provide extras or "perks" for District children beyond education and State-mandated busing, why shouldn't all children in the District benefit from such "perks?" How is that putting one group ahead of the other?
By the way, this has little to do with ego and little to do with religion and a whole lot to do with money. Like every other taxpayer I know, I would like my tax dollars to be well-spent, to benefit society, and not to provide benefits for which I am not eligible, but similarly situated people are. Thus, I am (relatively) happy to see my tax dollars well spent on educating the local populace. I choose private school, so I don't begrudge not obtaining that benefit. Where the District provides added "perks," I object to private school children not being on equal footing with public school students. That is all that was at issue here. I don't look to have public school children treated "second" as you claim, rather I simply ask for equality with respect to "Perks." It is you who objects to this equalization. Get real. Who is it that is really looking to put someone else's children second here? Methinks it is you.

10:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here here. Well said

10:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"public school students also receive all legal entitlements plus more." Of course they do, they are supposed to!


Please explain. Why are public school kids SUPPOSED to receive more than legal entitlements, but private school kids are SUPPOSED to receive only the minimum allowed by law?

11:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Observer, can you read? No one said public school kids SUPPOSED to receive more than legal entitlements, but private school kids are SUPPOSED to receive only the minimum allowed by law? Stop picking apart sentences and read as a whole! AGAIN... as stated before "All children should be getting an excellent education." No ifs ands or buts! What do you think public school children get that is not mandated or standard for New York? What do they get that private doesn't? Please explain. You just seem to be ranting otherwise.

3:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is all very interesting. While I agree with some points private school parents make on a whole, the truth is state and federal laws mandate what children are allowed by law to receive. The board under New York state board laws charter is very clear. Represent the children of the community, advocate for the public school children. If you read all the New York State Educational Website, it clearly states "private school children do not have the same legal rights and cannot expect to receive the same services." This was not written by a parent. Perks or what are considered perks, are within the state laws. If pre-k busing is a perk, than so be it, make pre-k busing for all. Don't complain when 1.5 million is spent, don't cry fiscal irresponsibility, you can't have it both ways. There seems to be a misconception on equality amongst community members. I say this without sarcasim or malice. Their is no equality, the Blaine Amend. ensures that. So, if you have a complaint, which you are entitled to, call the state. We are one of the few states that offer busing to private school students. The movement is so, that many parents are talking about bringing a Law suit to repeal Board of Ed vs Allen. If this goes through, which it very well might, 4-3 last time, the people in this area would be hurt. As far as a zero increase, and reduction of teachers, perhaps 40 in a class would be more appropriate. Come now folks, the state even said we will only lose 1/2 a percent this year. We are not moving. It is the job of this board under federal and state law to advocate for the public schools. They need to start. All these extra programs cost money, waiting to figure out where it comes from is fically irresponsible, a cry that all have said won't be tolerated. Well it is being tolerated. I am tired of hearing from people I know in other districts call us "those people" Or the ever popular, "Private school means private, we don't have that problem, are people don't feel the have that you know "entitlement." I personally am disgusted by these comments made by reform jews. With all the garbage that has been going on what would be great is the state to appoint a special member to oversee the monies from the sale of school one, and ensure the money that should be going to the public school children do. This is The Lawrence Union Free Public School System, its name sums it up. If you do not like the taxes and the feelings of being treated unequally, then either sue, or move.

3:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

whole lot to do with money.

I agree. So let us discuss that. We receive state aide for every child that attends public schools. The children that are not enrolled no extra money. As harsh as this sounds, you don't get perks because you are not legally entitled to them. Plain and simple. It is the law. What can I tell you. Most states don't have to provide any of things Board of Ed vs Allen has provided. This is the way it is. We are a joke. No other school district puts up with this. It is not equal, it never will be. If you are not happy with this, and I am not being sarcastic, hire a lawyer, go to court and get the Blaine Amendment overturned. The problem you are running into though, is the trend of the country, is to enhance the public schools. All reports, and trends show ALL monies should be pumped into the public schools to enhance programs, and offer more technological programs. Now, as unfair as this seems, it is the law. Things are not equal your right, and they never will be because it is illegal. Read the laws. Pre-K busing is not even a legal service. The district only has to provide equal for k-12. If the tax payers want to pay, hey, I have no problem. If you want to spend no money fixing the buildings, fine. When the buildings start to crumble, and we need to put a bond up, and your taxes go through the roof, don't cry poverty, you will have had that 100.00 relief from 2007.

3:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have an easy solution. Let's enroll all of the private school children in to the district this summer. That will bankrupt the school district in a matter of months. Then the school system can merge with neighboring districts and cut costs

5:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you're so smart! Get real moron

7:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know. It would certainly put an end to the constant debate over what public and private school students are entitled to. Everyone would be a public student so everyone gets the same services. That would end some of the fighting.

Of course, how our schools could grow from 3,400 kids to 7,200 remains to be seen. We'll sure regret selling No. 1 school.

9:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Enroll! Go for it! It would be a wonderful sight to see. I'm serious!

9:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Forget the pre-school busing. $1.5 mil is insane for this. Buses plus matrons for a program that is not required, plus many people who use Pre-K are either paying privately for the "creative child" program at Number 4 school or are financially modest enough to receive state aid for the program.

As far as Fitzsimon's remarks that the district has a ton of wealth, there are many falling through the cracks too.

Down with the busing referendum!

10:00 AM  
Anonymous Observer said...

Anonymous 3:11, yes, I can read, but thanks for your concern and for asking. It would seem that it is you who doesn't get the issue. what this thread dealt with was "perks," meaning additional services not mandated by law for either public or private school children. All I argued for was equalization of such perks. If they are available to public school children, they should be available to private school children and, conversely, if available to private school children they should also be available to public school children. Since you asked for an example of services not mandated by State law to prove I am not "ranting," how about the one at issue here, pre-k bussing. The District has no obligation toi provide such service. Private school parents simply ask that in the event such additional service or "perk" is made available to public school children at taxpayer expense, that it also be made available to private school children. By the way, if you are going to put words in all caps in blog comments (the equivalent of shouting in the real world), it seems kind of silly for you to then accuse others of ranting, especially when you ignore the content of what they have said.

Anonymous 3:26 You seem to think we are in disagreement on some level. I don't think we are. With respect to "perks", I simply posit that non-mandated services that are provided to public school children at extra cost to the District, should also be made available to private school children. Should the District decide to take on such expenses, provide the services to all, should the District choose not to fund such programs (such as bussing) then so be it. All I am asking for is equality.

Which leads to another point. In Teaneck, N.J., which has a large Orthodox community, it is my understanding that the public school parents and private school parents run a united slate (opposed by tax-cutters). Such a union of parents who want services for all children, might make sense here too, but with all the rancor, I don't expect it to happen.

10:24 AM  
Blogger proud_mom said...

Anonymous said...
Forget the pre-school busing. $1.5 mil is insane for this. Buses plus matrons for a program that is not required, plus many people who use Pre-K are either paying privately for the "creative child" program at Number 4 school or are financially modest enough to receive state aid for the program.

As far as Fitzsimon's remarks that the district has a ton of wealth, there are many falling through the cracks too.

Down with the busing referendum!


There is no question that pre-k busing is not an entitlement for any children or a vital service for the school district to provide.

But it's shameful to hear people suggest that it should be voted down merely because it's a "private school perk" or because it's too expensive. (And lets be fair about this - it certainly does not cost $1.5 million to provide this service.)

While I probably would never vote for Mansdorf and his crew, your attitude about the busing referendum is the real reason why nothing ever changes with the school district. We realistically can't expect the private school parents to support a budgets when at the same time we show disdain for a benefit that they're interested in. We need to help every voter in the school district appreciate and support the system. That is the key to fixing this school district and as long as that's not the focus, we will all suffer.

If that means some voters' support must be "bought" with additional services, then it's a no-brainer. I just can't understand how someone who really cares about passing the budget can have such a short-sighted attitude with this issue. Are we ready to lose another budget just because we don't want to spend a little more money on a service just because it's not an entitlement?

11:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

pLEASE REMEMBER THAT IF THE pRE k program that Dr. Fitzsimmons advocates goes forward next year there will be 126 public school children in the pre-k program. This will be a full day program. Only 70 of the 126 children will probably meet the districts ECONOMIC guidelines(that is why Pam Greenbaum wanted the guidelines changed). All of the 126 will get free bussing with a matron. The referendum will cover the rest of the PUBLIC children as well as those who go to the private schools. It would seem that the colloquial phrase "What is good for the goose is good for the gander comes to mind!"

2:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Logically that is correct, but believe it or not, there are shortage of people around her who will cut their nose to spite their face, whenever there is an opportunity to cut out services that benefit children outside of public school. Those are the same people who have advocated in the past to discontinue all bussing "since it's too expensive" notwithstanding the fact that busing is just about the only benefit derived from the school district by most private school children.

To paraphrase proud_mom's point above, it's illogical, shortsighted and divisive to oppose a measure that could very well help get the first budget passed in 5 years, just because it means that an additional $500k to $1 million will neeed to be spent on private school children.

2:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Logically that is correct, but believe it or not, there is no shortage of people around her who will cut their nose to spite their face, whenever there is an opportunity to cut out services that benefit children outside of public school. Those are the same people who have advocated in the past to discontinue all bussing "since it's too expensive" notwithstanding the fact that busing is just about the only benefit derived from the school district by most private school children.

To paraphrase proud_mom's point above, it's illogical, shortsighted and divisive to oppose a measure that could very well help get the first budget passed in 5 years, just because it means that an additional $500k to $1 million will neeed to be spent on private school children.

3:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Yes, hopefully it is just you." No it's not Justme that feels that way, so do I. "In a District where a majority of the school children attend private schools, yet private school parents have the same tax obligations as public school parents, you wonder why people have an issue with added "perks" for public school children but not private?" What in the world is wrong with you?? Just because there is a majority of school children attending private schools doesn't mean the public school children should be second. All children should be getting an excellent education. When parents send their children to private school it is because religion usually is more important than education(which is their right and their choice). If you choose to move somewhere, do you do it blindly? Obviously not. All who live here knew what the taxes were and what the demographics were. School tax is just a small drop in the bucket. It seems as though there is an idea that if people don't live as you do they are wrong. That their children a less important. Everyone hides behind religion. It is all about ego."

Very well said. Sometimes the truth hurts!

7:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To bus 125 children to Pre-K automatically means that the other 200 to 300 children in the district will have to be bussed with matrons. That is where the costs swell. Whether public or private, to do both is very expensive.

Hewlett-Woodmere gives out stipends for transportation. Lawrence should adopt the same policies and not have the buses leaving the area.

I had a child in private school when she first went to school. She was 14 miles away. She had to get up at 5:30 each morning to dress, eat and catch the bus. If she got sick, she was pretty far away from home. G-d forbid she had an injury and I needed to rush to the school - so far away.

In fact, there was a problem in school that required immediate intervention - and I didn't trust the judgment of the school officials (and nurse). Turned out I was right (she was sent back to class by the school) and I pulled her out and took her right to the doctor. I was able to avert complications by getting her to the doctor.

I always wondered why people would put their small children on buses and go so far away to school (i.e.: Brooklyn and northern Queens). I went through it once and it was scary enough to keep my child within the bounds of our community from then on.

And, how about all of these accidents that are occurring in and around the Five Towns with buses and private school children? They happen on Route 878, Peninsula Blvd., Woodmere Blvd., etc. We're stressing out our children further and putting them in harm's way further by allowing them to travel on buses so much.

8:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Pre-K bus referendum as written, with the 25-student enrollment requirement and the 7.5 mile limit restricts your options in most cases to the local big yeshivas and Woodmere Academy. Most out-of-district schools (ie Long Beach) won't qualify because of the requirement that at least 5 kids from Lawrence be enrolled at the school. And Nick Fabrizzio said at the last meeting that based on data he received from the local rabbis the cost could be anywhere up to 2 million dollars depending on how many kids decide to take advantage of the free bus. Everyone should take mental stock of their preferred pre-K programs before deciding that this really is "free pre-K bussing for all."

1:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nick Fabrizio knows the buses well enough to be putting those kinds of numbers ON THE RECORD.

Without solid numbers before us to be an educated decision on the referendum, to vote in favor of this would be a real waste of money.

7:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We are now bussing over 100 public school preK children.8 busses that all have matrons. Do those matrons get Medical and Dental? What do you think? 8 busses, what do they cost? No one has ever bothered to honestly figure the cost of that. We also educate over 100 pre k students in full day-program school. library, nurses, gym, social workers, administrators, custodians all cost money. 6 classroom teachers with a salary(before benefits )of close to 700,000. Add FICA,dental, pension, sick days Medicare. Wonder what that costs? Will we ever get real numbers? Remember these facts when anyone tells you not to vote for a referendum that tries to even the playing field, even if just a little.

9:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Without solid numbers before us to be an educated decision on the referendum, to vote in favor of this would be a real waste of money.

This pre-k busing is a waste of money whether or not there are solid cost numbers. There's no reason for the school district to spend any more money than what is legally required to be spent on services to children who do not attend the public schools. And as long as the school board is focused on serving children in yeshivas, our kids will continue to suffer. If they want to receive more services for their kids, let them attend the district's schools and then they can become real partners.

9:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you're right about returning private school benefits to the bare minimum the state mandates. While we're at it, we should return the whole school district to the minimum state mandate. Lets get rid of all the clubs and programs not explicitly required by law. Lets get us closer to the NYC per-student cost of under 10k. that would really save us money. Why quibble over pre-k busing when we have so much other excess going on.

(Yes, this was sarcastic, but I hope the people out there with brains get my point.)

11:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This pre-K busing issue isn't a little quibble. It is a big deal.

I'm sure other excesses will come under the gun too. But don't take a district that is under austerity AGAIN and try to stretch it further - it is breeding such contempt, the only ones who will be buying houses in this school district are the immigrants who stuff the houses full of relatives who have children. It is already happening in Cedarhurst.

11:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's not confuse the facts here. The primary purpose of the school board and the school district is to service the educational needs of students enrolled IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS. If students are offered clubs and other extracurricular programs, that is because they further the purpose of the schools - serving the educational needs of students IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS rather than making life more convenient for rich, lazy parents. It's time they cut out all busing for public and private school and focused on education IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS. Private school children should be receiving nothing more than what is absolutely required under law.

11:43 PM  
Blogger proud_mom said...

These sentiments are a really sad comment on the state of affairs in the District 15 community.

It doesn't make a difference whether you send your child to public school or private school. It's time everyone learned to support each other. It's time that the system learned to treat everyone as a partner in the system. To suggest that transportation should be discontinued or that pre-k busing is an unecessary perk going to "rich, lazy parents" shows a disgusting level of tolerance for people in the community who must be made to feel like partners in the system.

We have all watch several years of budgets voted down and there's no question how much our schools have been damaged by operating in contingency. Of course, we all like to point fingers and blame "certain segments" for the budget defeats and for the resulting hardships in the district. We all like to talk about the voters' obligation to support our schools. But it's a two-way street, and these voters will certainly never support budgets if we send them the message that we don't care about what's important to them.

Our children will only be given the tools they need to excel if we make the entire community partners in our schools. This attitude of opposing any interests of private school parents will only dig this district into a bigger hole than they're in now. It's time we reached out and tried to make them partners in our schools. And the only way that's going to happen is if we show the good will to support programs like pre-k busing which present privates school parents with more of a motivation to be partners and help improve our schools.

12:28 AM  
Anonymous goyguy said...

"There's no reason for the school district to spend any more money than what is legally required to be spent on services to children who do not attend the public schools."

I've got to put my two cents in.

If anything there are political reasons. Something for you, something for me. A little horse trading. It's hard enough to get a budget passed anywhere on Long Island. There are a certain number of permanent no votes in every district. And a certain number of sure yes votes. It's the swing votes you are trying to convince, whether it's yes or no.

The question the people in the middle ask is 'what's in it for me?' As a parent and a taxpayer you have conflicting emotions. I'm the cynical type of taxpayer who figures that there's always somewhere to cut. But as a parent I have to say that the staff in my district is very professional (and very well paid), and the programs offered are just about as good as anywhere. As a matter of fact that's probably true of most districts on Long Island. So even cynical me is usually a yes vote.

I don't see why a school district would not want to provide the kids in private or parochial schools with services that can be legally provided at the same levels as the public school kids get. I seems only fair, whether it's required or not. And it makes good political sense.

12:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

11:43 PM
I believe that all children deserve a quality education. Because of my religious beliefs, I choose to send my children to private school, even though the cost of sending my children to private school puts me in a very precarious financial state. There are plenty of others in our district in similar situations. The schools that my children attend do not have anything close to the facilities or programs that our public schools offer.
But, I guess that makes me one of the “rich, lazy parents”, that you think should pay for all the extras for your kids.
Your "facts" show your ignorance, but I'm not calling you a bigot.

12:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a parent of a public school child in the high school, I will vote for pre-k busing. I mean why not? Forget after school busing for those who could get homework help offered at schools like Halb, those kids don't need it. Why not spend that money on a weekend program you ask? Well, we need to pass a 0% increase budget passed. Hmm, Come now, don't you want the $100.00 tax decrease a year, why put that money in a fund, once we finally get a true estimate, the
schools won't need any repair, and when that bond is put up, because we don't have any money in capital reserve, then we will only have ourselves to blame. I will vote yes for pre-k busing, no to a 0% budget increase. Sorry, can't go for a budget where class sizes will increase because the fiscally responsible board wants to cut more teachers to save money, only to spend millions to bus three year olds. Class sizes in 3 buildings reach up to 26 kids. No way no how will any public school parent agree to this. I agree the district should offer so called perks equally. But, legally it ends there. Yes, private school children are starting to out number public. But, all those children are not yeshivot children. I know of at least 100 children whose parents have pulled them from public school to put them in other types of private schools. I think since everyone is so interested in fiscal responsibility we as a "community" need to have all areas of our district audited by the state. You know every private school we send books to make sure all signatures are on file for parents requesting, since there are on loan only, make sure they are returned. If we are going to be equal, I think it is only fair.

1:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will vote yes for pre-k busing, no to a 0% budget increase. Sorry, can't go for a budget where class sizes will increase because the fiscally responsible board wants to cut more teachers to save money, only to spend millions to bus three year olds.

This is the most foolish sentiment that I've seen expressed here. Any way you slice it, a passed 0% increase budget is far better than a contingency budget. That is, of course, unless your motivation is to starve the district.

1:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why would a passed 0% budget be better for the schools than the state-mandated contingency budget?

1:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone really needs to educate themselves about these concepts, because you certainly can't trust in the system.

Even though a contingency budget may come with a higher $ amount, it's much more valuable to pass a budget (even if it's a lower $ amount) since that would give the administration the ability to (a) expend funds on items that are not ordinary contingent expenditures (b) transfer funds where necessary between different line items in the budget and (c) dip into reserve funds when necessary.

1:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I understand completely what a zero budget increase would mean. Only items deemed an emergency or education related would be allowed. I have no problem with that. Pre-k busing, which I find to be an okay addition, although kind of a sell for the private schools picked. Where do you think the money is coming from?? The board in order to cut costs, want to cut teachers, raise class sizes, but add pre-k busing, hmmm. Halb, and other schools offer after school homework help. Late busing would help ALL our children attend these help sessions, but pre-k busing comes first, and let us not forget the free building usage. Weekend programs for ALL our kids, not in the cards. Mainstreamed classes with special needs children 26 in a class, but let us cut teachers. The community needs to realize the agenda at hand. In charge is Mr. Foreman. He is pulling all the monetary strings. His agenda is clear, and he has said it numerous times, condense. He doesn't care about anything else but his sect. Sussman is a sheep wanting to get elected, Hatten, Kaufman, and Mansdorff, really care about getting things done, but the group behind Foreman is pushing hard, really hard. Trust me, if you are not in Foreman's supposed group, you will get nothing. This is not meant to be a public vs private issue, this a community vs the agenda of one. Think about it, why do 3 year old busing, when we all have asked for late busing,weekend programs, tutoring. Look at the state web site where is tells how much we spend for "actual" educational costs. We spend $20,000 for special education. The lowest in Nassau County. That is right, look and you will see. Why is that?? Pupil Personnel is not allowing one on one occupational therapy, group only. Susan Kosser is not making these decisions on her own. The tuition that was paid, will have to be reviewed each year under the Carter law, and the Supreme Court ruling on public schools paying private tuitions. Do you really think they will pay again next year. Open your eyes folks, the writing is on the wall, I only hope you can look past the public vs private and make it children vs the board.

10:38 AM  
Anonymous goyguy said...

Anonymous said...
"Everyone really needs to educate themselves about these concepts, because you certainly can't trust in the system.

Even though a contingency budget may come with a higher $ amount, it's much more valuable to pass a budget (even if it's a lower $ amount) since that would give the administration the ability to (a) expend funds on items that are not ordinary contingent expenditures (b) transfer funds where necessary between different line items in the budget and (c) dip into reserve funds when necessary.

1:59 AM"

Of course if you're into conspiracy theories, you might say:

Even though a contingency budget may come with a higher $ amount, it's much more valuable to pass a budget (even if it's a lower $ amount) since that would give the Orthodox school board the ability to

(a) expend funds on items that are not usually given to private school students.

(b) transfer funds as they feel between public school programs and private school programs and

(c) dip into reserve funds to pay for perks for their supporters.

According to the district's attorney as reported in the Nassau Herald, the transportation vote means nothing if the budget fails, since the pre-k busing wouldn't be allowed under a contingency budget.

So maybe it's the public school parents who should be voting against the budget.

Please note: This is meant as a wise a**, sarcastic post. Please don't start a campaign to vote down the budget based on this theory ;-)

Also:

Anonymous said...

"Nick Fabrizio knows the buses well enough to be putting those kinds of numbers ON THE RECORD."

I'm sure Nick Fabrizio knows business well enough not to give an estimate (ON THE RECORD) with no enrollment figures.


"Without solid numbers before us to be an educated decision on the referendum, to vote in favor of this would be a real waste of money."

I do have to agree with that. It's kind of open ended. How can you know the cost until the parents apply for transportation? And who's going to go to the trouble to apply if there's no program? It's a tough one.

10:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Again, regarding transportation, the district should adopt Hewlett-Woodmere's policies regarding busing - give transportation vouchers to those who elect to be educated outside of the district. Period. That goes for the private schools, whatever religious or ethnic affiliation.

10:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have no confidence in one or two members of this board. These two members seem to be in control. It seems the interests in our children seem to be related to a specific few. Why on earth would a community agree to spending millions on busing, while we all agree programs educational ones need to be expanded. Does anyone find it odd, only certain private schools were picked. Nothing to do with public or private. I am actually talking about the Yeshivot's. Gee, you have a big choice, send to my school or you get XXXX. What about that weekend school, or the after school busing. Free building usage? Gee who does that help. How bout a handwriting help class. For the money we spend on pre-k busing, private, tuition and other items which help a select few, we could have in ten years, an indoor pool!!!. 30 million, which can only be used for building improvement. Why give 100.00 back to each taxpayer, use the money, to enhance our schools so we all can use it. Community technology centers, state of the art. Fix all the heating systems that are old, and put the money in a fund, so when something else happens, a bond wont need to be presented. People this is a no brainer folks. By approving money back, it is just a ploy to give you comfort and trust in a board that is drive to help only a select group. They want to close the public schools, and control all. Please really look at all proposals, all candidates,and vote for somone and something that has the best interest of ALL our children. I just ask we vote for our children and their future and what will help them.

11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My only comment to the general public is, since our board is so interested in ensuring private schools tuitions for some, anyone whose child get services or not, appeal every decision that the CSE hands down. If this board wants to settle every case for ALL our kids, let us let them......

11:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In contradiction to another post, O.T.'s are giving 1:1 therapy as necessary. They haven't gotten enough O.T.'s to fill the needs - which is growing.

It is not only cheaper for the school to educate the special needs, but it is local, inclusive and a wonderful program. I cannot see how Kulanu can do better - and they aren't a certified or licensed school. Neither is HASC - if you read HASC's advertisement, they are licensed as a child care facility - who then brings in therapists.

I would agree, if you need to appeal a CSE decision, then do it. CSE is a community decision and needs to assure needs are met for all the special needs children, but make sure your medical and psychological testing is done independently PRIOR to going to CSE - so you can present additional evidence for need. This is what I did and it made all the difference in getting the help my child needed.

11:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In contradiction to another post, O.T.'s are giving 1:1 therapy as necessary. They haven't gotten enough O.T.'s to fill the needs - which is growing.

Well things are changing. Last month Sue Kosser handed down to all, no more one to one...

12:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sue Kosser won't be able to enforce that if a physician statement (from the outside) requires 1:1 for a set period of time - CSE will have a hard time enforcing that on the ISP.

This happened a few years ago with Judy Masone - and it was overruled by a physician's statement. The physician on the CSE board could not advise contrary to this.

That's why a developmental pediatrician should be consulted FIRST before bringing the child before the CSE. There is a GREAT one in Hewlett (Dr. Gutman - who just so happened to have graduated from Lawrence). She is with Schneider's Children's Hospital and has an office at 1800 Rockaway Avenue, Hewlett.

12:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bottem line, I know a doctor can help but not everyone has this knowledge. Sue Kosser is only a puppet for the district and the board. This school board feels busing for 3 year olds is more important than securing to notch occupational therapists, and other professionals as full time employees, rather than the consultants that are agency employees, that have little to no stake. If we have so many empty rooms in this district, why not create a state of the art pt and ot room, or rooms, staffed by top notch professionals. We can even service cpse, early intervention, but that would make money..... It is not on the agenda that is why. How many people have kids who were sick and missed the once a week service, only to be told, sorry, can't make it up. So sorry if I cannot agree to a budget that helps 3 year old get to a pre k program for a select few schools, while children won't be able to read or write. Sorry I can't agree to giving myself a 100.00 tax decrease for a year, when some children have therapists that are horrible. For those of us that have these problems, Mr. Foremans ideas are going to kill the public schools and all its programs, be careful folks what you wish for. The money increases help ALL our children, and free building usage will not help a child write or walk.

12:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

YAWN

12:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

YAWN

12:56 PM  
Blogger proud_mom said...

Why on earth would a community agree to spending millions on busing, while we all agree programs educational ones need to be expanded.

This doesn't appear to be the sentiment expressed by many people that I have come across, but it's troubling even if it comes only from the troublemakers. This attitude for business as usual will only prolong the conflict. These elections have been increasingly been resulting in the election of board members who do not have children in public school.

So your big idea is to antagonize their supporters off even more (by rallying against their interests) so that when they re-elect their "private school board members," they'll be faced with continued antagonism rather than good will and collaboration?

Let's not continue to be so shortsighted. Rather than burning bridges, let's set an example of good will by showing that we care about what's important to them. There's no question that we will all benefit far more from the resulting partnership.

1:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They use agency therapists because to do otherwise will cause these workers to become unionized - and the school district does not want to shell out more benefits.

It costs the district $10K per year per special education child - certainly a lot cheaper than sending them to BOCES or private schools.

You are right when you say that Sue Kosser is only a puppet, but the documentation from a developmental pediatrician PRIOR to any CSE involvement would put this to rest right away.

A pity that Mansdorf is leaving. Murray Forman is not healthy for the school district - for both private and public school children. He doesn't want to work with the board.

1:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To 1:06 PM regarding partnership:

Approving a referendum for busing based on astronomical numbers is not good for the community - both public and private. It is the agenda of one board member who wants to appease the private school rabbis who have his ear. The same ones who keep tuition on the rise and keep those who are struggling to pay running on the treadmill.

1:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's not continue to be so shortsighted. Rather than burning bridges, let's set an example of good will by showing that we care about what's important to them.

I agree, and by saying after school busing,tutor, and better special education is for ALL children. Make no mistake, it is a select few in this community on both side that make it impossible to actually accomplish anything. My comment to spend more on educational programs for both communities, is logical. Why not spend the 2 million on tutors, Sunday programs, technology. I am sorry, I think pre-k busing is an okay thing, as long as it is not predicate on the schools my board feel I should send my kids to. Sorry can't do that. I also cannot agree to free building usage, when my board refuses to higher quality therapists to service our children. I want things to change, by electing officials that will care, and I mean really care, about the programs that go to our kids, and not the special interest groups, then and only then will we be able to accomplish. Why shouldn't a child that attends non public not receive services if his school is closed. Well, they don't things like this need to be changed, and will only change with people who care about the children.

1:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Slightly off topic: A doctor can write a prescription for as much OT as he wants, it doesn't compel the school district to provide it. The district can tell the family to obtain it through their health insurance. The prescription just means the doctor wants the child to receive the therapy, it has no bearing on who should pay for it.
Now back to regularly scheduled programming.......

3:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hold on a moment...

We're not talking about the family doctor or Pediatrician. We're talking about a Developmental Pediatrician - a lot of work goes into those assessments - from teachers filling out questionnaires, mental, physical and emotional intake, etc. Believe me, those things carry a lot of weight on the CSE Board.

As of this weekend, Pam Greenbaum IS RUNNING FOR RE-ELECTION. She went to a fundraiser on Friday night and announced she is running.

Does anyone in the community know who else is running besides her and Andrew Levey???

4:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are we talking about the huge discrepancy in utlization rates between the public and private communities.almost two to one. The public schgool children utilize almost two units of special ed resources for everey one by the privates. Yet Kopilow and Greenbaum chjose to target Kulanu. What else is new

7:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kulanu is not being targeted. It is not a special education facility that is a certified school - that's all. It isn't a BOCES or any other special education school. It doesn't have a license to operate in New York State as a school.

7:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The public schgool children utilize almost two units of special ed resources for everey one by the privates

I am a special education teacher in the city. The comment above is interesting. Now, is this person upset that public school children have more educational problems? Or do they feel the children in non public schools are being denied services even though thier test scores showed they qualified. Special Education is a funny thing. In general, normal in the state of NY is 25-75%, I have children who scored in the 3% for speech in the city and received one day a week. I have listened to the complaints of several of my childs classmates from a local private school. The school insisted on them going for testing. The Rabbi did not like the articulation, or the Rabbi thought handwriting was not neat enough. They were all riled up, and what ended up happening was they did not qualify for services. If anyone feels they were denied services and qualified, they should not sign the paperwork and file a complaint. Also, because you qualify for a service, like speech, or ot, does not guarantee you will be classified. Now the big tamale, The six private school tuitions. The district must offer a free approriate public education in the least restrictive enviornment. When Mr. Kopilow asked to speak with the CSE to see why these programs were better for these children he was rebuffed. Five of those students were covered under the Carter law. One student was referred by our CSE. This was illegal. Why? The state has a list of schools that have been approved, one of them I know could have serviced the child quite well. The problem with tuition payments is each year we will go through this. No child left behind insists these children start to be mainstreamed. When do we stop paying? Once again, I feel the district plays to a select group, and that the board has an agenda to represent them. The working class who pay thousands in tuition have no say, no power, and no chance of getting for our children. We might as well put our kids in public school. This board has an agenda set out. Pre-K busing first, what happened to the educational programs they promised. Fiscal repsonsibility? On what planet.

8:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While election season is obviously the best time to criticize the actions of the board, anyone who attends meetings knows that the board has been gunning for academic improvement since day one. And of course, they were rebuffed at every opportunity by Pam, Stanley, Fitz, LTA and PTA. Pam and Stanley of course can't agree with anything constructive from this board because it's the "private school board". Fitzsimons and the LTA will not agree with any idea that may make them look bad. The PTA might as well just go out of business because they never know the right thing to say or do, they haven't advocated for the kids for as long as anyone can remember, and they typically just find themselves advocating for the LTA, since they don't have the balls to take a stand for what's right.

8:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

they don't have the balls to take a stand for what's right.

In response to 8:27, I find your comment just plain uneducated. The largest problem with this district is lack of communication, which always seems to get worse around election time. My daughter attends public school. It makes it easier to say what really goes on when your child attends a school. I have attended board meetings, have fought to try to improve many things in her school. While my board buses three year olds, my daugter is on a computer is 8 years old. My taxes which are over 8500.00 for school taxes alone, should cover more than that. Her grade has 2 classes because the board felt it better to put 24/25 per class and who cares. The meeting that they had for these violations was held by the principal , the board who had a meeting for transportation did not attend. I guess door to door busing is far more important. As far as the educational consultant, every news article written this year had Dr. M stating they would be hiring a consultant in January to help improve scores. Please, do not blame Kopilow, and Greenbaum, they were supposed to hire somone, and they did not. As far as these academic improvements, for those of us who actually attend these meetings for real, the only subjects we have heard the past few months pertain to busing,building usage, and the phone system. Oh, and I guess the woman who yelled and screamed wasn't advocating for the children to have a phone system that worked. I would guess that her actions fall under the textbook definition of advocate. Stop the poor excuses, stop blaming the LTA, and the PTA, face it technology older then some of the children, programs that are just as old as the kids, classrooms with 25 children, middle school and high school classes with 30 children. But this board wants busing and teachers fired... The national school board association has by laws. The last one is to advocate and fight for the public school children. It does not say, public school cleansing has become.

8:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

since they don't have the balls to take a stand for what's right.

Okay,

Here is my stand.
1 Vote down the 0% budget. No way should control be given to a bunch of individuals who put 3 year old busing before programs.

2.Class size should be 21/22 as Spitzer has decided. If this district cannot handle it tough.

3.Buy new computers with educational software that is logical.

4.The law provides for certain services for children. Parents of non public students have rights. They are listed on the NYS web site. Busing,Books and Special Education. This is what you are entitled to. This is all you should have.

Oh and by the way for those of you who think the non public children are in the majority, you are partially correct. Many parents stayed in this community and send there children to Woodmere Acadamey and other schools. It turns out we still are in the majority. The last meeting Dr. Fitz stated this years decrease is only 1/2%.

Budget fails, you get nothing. I advocate for everyone to vote down the budget, no pre-k busing, no free building usage. You get nothing. There is that enough for you. Try to actual write what is factual. Don't be a sheep, by having your own mind, actual decisions can be made that make sense. It is only a matter of time, before the same legislation the at saved the Ramapo public schools come to save ours. Face it public on Long Island outnumber private.

8:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ahh, the venom.

How many more elections will it take for Orthodox taxpayers to be accepted as equals?

12:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Forget about being treated as equals.

But there's no reason any public school parent shouldn't want to treat private school parents as partners.

12:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But there's no reason any public school parent shouldn't want to treat private school parents as partners

Perhaps, but when are buildings need repairs, class sizes keep going up, and computers are older than are children, you have to see the other side when we spend 3 meetings discussing pre-k busing. This is where are boards values are . This is the board we are told is for all the children. The boards job clearly stated on the National School board web site, is to advocate and ensure the stability of the public schools. Most of the country does not have board of ed vs allen. So, look at it from the other side.

1:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sounds like it will take a couple more elections to convince you to partner with them

1:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sounds like it will take a couple more elections to convince you to partner with them

1:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

when are buildings need repairs, class sizes keep going up, and computers are older than are children,

but if approving pre-k bussing will help get a budget passed, then the buildings can be fixed, and equipment can be bought. Everybody wins.

12:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the only winners would be private schools. you have to pay for those busses. with a 0 pct budget increase where is the money going to come from? They are proposing cutting teachers and dr fitz is going to look to renegotiate the teachers contract in order to do it?

9:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So Pam's running again. Didn't she say she wasn't? Typical flip/flop.

Didn't the legilature just approve pre-k for all 4 year olds?

Technology needs to be updated and students needs this technology to be competitive in the real world.

Our buildings need repair. This is a priority.

Hard to believe Fitsimmons and Zelller-Harris could propose more administrators and staff? How do they justify that? If Fitzsimmons spent as much time on advocating for and passing a budget as he does on increasing staff, we wouldn't have as many issues as we have today. He's the ONLY superintendent in the state that has never had his budget passed. Some record to be proud of!! Shame on us for rewarding him with an extension and guarnteed increases.

If the LTA was truly concerned and about the well being of our children, maybe they would provide a little before/after school help for them.(without additional stipends) I'm not asking alot, but if every teacher gave 30 minutes of their time a week, it would probably help improve our childrens scores.

We as parents need to be more involved with our childrens homework as well. If we partner, we can all succeed.

How about eliminating the PTA and develop a District coalition of parents from ALL sections of our community? If parents from all sides work for the betterment of all children, we as a community will thrive. If we don't, we will never correct the current climate in our district.

2:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

2:02 PM said:
"How about eliminating the PTA and develop a District coalition of parents from ALL sections of our community? If parents from all sides work for the betterment of all children, we as a community will thrive. If we don't, we will never correct the current climate in our district."

I agree with you. And I'm a public school parent.

7:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

2:02 PM said:
"How about eliminating the PTA and develop a District coalition of parents from ALL sections of our community? If parents from all sides work for the betterment of all children, we as a community will thrive. If we don't, we will never correct the current climate in our district."

I agree with you. And I'm a public school parent.

7:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

2:02 PM said:
"How about eliminating the PTA and develop a District coalition of parents from ALL sections of our community? If parents from all sides work for the betterment of all children, we as a community will thrive. If we don't, we will never correct the current climate in our district."

I agree with you. And I'm a public school parent.

7:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

2:02 PM said:
"How about eliminating the PTA and develop a District coalition of parents from ALL sections of our community? If parents from all sides work for the betterment of all children, we as a community will thrive. If we don't, we will never correct the current climate in our district."

I agree with you. And I'm a public school parent.

7:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If the LTA was truly concerned and about the well being of our children, maybe they would provide a little before/after school help for them.(without additional stipends) I'm not asking alot, but if every teacher gave 30 minutes of their time a week, it would probably help improve our childrens scores."

Unfortunately the above poster is discussing something of which he/she knows nothing about ... ALL TEACHERS provide extra help (weekly)... that is a part of the contract and has been for many years.

7:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, and come 2:30 to 3:30 (depending on when the school day ends), not one is to be seen. Plus anytime the LTA is unhappy with contract talks, teachers immediately stop coming early and staying late....instead arriving all at once 3 minutes before their required sign in time. And watch the faculty lots on Friday afternoons....tell me how many teachers are staying.

10:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If the LTA was truly concerned and about the well being of our children, maybe they would provide a little before/after school help for them.(without additional stipends) I'm not asking alot, but if every teacher gave 30 minutes of their time a week, it would probably help improve our childrens scores."

Unfortunately the above poster is discussing something of which he/she knows nothing about ... ALL TEACHERS provide extra help (weekly)... that is a part of the contract and has been for many years.


Isn't this the provision in the LTA contract which the LTA chose never to comply with and Fitzsimons felt was never worth enforcing?

11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"All teacher provide extra help weekly" Would this poster please tell us where and when so we can tell our children?

8:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 11:00PM is correct.

While the school board bargained for this and got it in the contract, the LTA never performed its obligations and Dr. Fitzsimons and his cohorts never held them accountable for it.

So who's looking out for the kids if the Superintendent isn't and the teachers aren't?

9:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All teacher provide extra help weekly" Would this poster please tell us where and when so we can tell our children

Each teacher has extra help days posted on the door. I have never had a teacher that did not offer extra help. The contract is done and over, it is time to move ahead. Picking on things that cannot be changed and really are not at the center of new issues is a waste of time and energy. Most of us have no idea what the "real" contract requests. Still, this does not justify cutting teachers, no increase in budget, not putting all the money towards our schools, and not hiring the consultant or any other educational promises that have been made. Please review previous NY Times article, where Dr. M, said they were hiring an educational consultant in January. Where is that person?? Can't blame other members of the board, he point blank told the Ny times that. My suspicion is this issue was overshadowed by pre-k busing and free building usage. If Mr. Forman thinks he can cut teachers, and other important public school programs, but spend another 2 million in busing, and free building usage, while class sizes are enlarging, I say thank you. What a great way to prove to our new governor, where the interests of the new board is. It is not a partnership, it is currently one way. Frankly, and legally, it never will be a partnership. Why? You send your children to private schools, you are not entitled to equality, I did not make the laws. Perhaps, one of these candidates can help, I doubt it. The new movement to better our public schools is on the rise. It won't be long before Allen is overturned, and then this community and others in New York will see what the rest of the country who send thier kids to private school pay.

9:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most of us have no idea what the "real" contract requests.

Funny you should say that. OM posted the "real" contract online a few months ago, so anyone who read it is well aware of Fitzsimons and the LTA shirking their duties.

Still, this does not justify cutting teachers, no increase in budget, not putting all the money towards our schools, and not hiring the consultant or any other educational promises that have been made. Please review previous NY Times article, where Dr. M, said they were hiring an educational consultant in January. Where is that person?? Can't blame other members of the board, he point blank told the Ny times that. My suspicion is this issue was overshadowed by pre-k busing and free building usage.

There is nothing more disingenuous than this statement, especially coming from a defender of the LTA and Fitzsimons who declares "the contract is done and over, it is time to move ahead." Anyone who attended the meetings in August through November of this year can tell you how Mansdorf and Sussman tried to get the administration's cooperation to hire a consultant, but they were opposed by Kopilow and Greenbaum, and their efforts were derided by the LTA, Fitzsimons and all of his underlings.

It's obvious that the LTA and certain members of administration would not look very good with a consultant picking apart their performance. The PTA showed its colors as usual by running blindly with LTA.

So blaming Dr. M for won't get much traction. All anyone needs to do for the truth is to ask someone who was there or check the minutes.

10:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check the New York Times, Dr. M claims the district will hire a consultant in January. I think most teachers would encourage somone to come in and help. Maybe they can advise the schools how to educate 22 typical children 4 autistic 2 teachers 2 aides, all in one classroom.

4:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, if you say it enough times maybe you'll convince yourself.

The NYT article was published on November 5th. If you look at the minutes from October and November, you'll see the board discussing the idea and then you'll see the PTA, LTA, administrators, Kopilow and Greenbaum virulently opposing the idea and calling it a waste of money. It would be tough for Mansdorf to bring in consultant if the administration won't assist in the effort or cooperate with the consultant.

But what about the NYT times article....?

But the State Education Department said the district only spends 3 dollars per student....?


Seriously, what's the point of dialogue if you insist on discussing fabricated information?

4:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's right, even the Times is fabricating...snicker...

5:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Probably not in this case.

The NYT merely seems to quote Dr. Mansdorf's on his plan to bring a consultant into the district.

Some of the other stuff in the article may be poorly researched and unsubstantiated, but that reference to Mansdorf's plan seems pretty accurate.

Your point?

5:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Administration, Greenbaum,the LTA and speaker after speaker from the audience oppossed Dr, Mansdorf in an effort to bring a consultant to the District. Dr. Mansdorf even made contact with Dr. Weinberg, the former darling of the LTA and PTA, in an effort to bring a consultant to the District that the so called guardians of the public schools might find easy to accept. Of course, he was met with a storm of derision and anger. It seems that Dr. Mansdorf understood how this system is failing its at risk students. Obviously his opponents felt that there was nothing wrong that more of the status quo could not cure. The problem is that with all the other previous Bds the problems were swept under the rug with double talk about elementary school achievement and Intel winners. Across the country the problem with at risk students manifests itself in Middle and High School. From Fitzsimmons extension and the LTA contract it is clear that Kopilow, Greenbaum and the PTA just do not care.

10:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

to anon 8:58

http://www.lawrence.org/lms/ - click on the link on the left side that says "extra help". That took me about 15 seconds to find. You obviously didn't look very hard. However, I did notice that the high school's extra help schedule is not posted on their website, and it should. If I were you, I'd e-mail the principal and webmaster and complain about that.

12:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr. Weinberg, the former darling of the LTA and PTA,

Isn't that the former super? Hmm I wonder why the current admin would not want to use him.

I have one question for all my partners in education. If you feel a school can be run on a zero increase, and everyone on this web site is for fiscal responsibility. Does this mean you will not pay more tuition next year? If you truly feel schools can be run on budgets without increases, then you will not pay more tuition for school and camp. Do not forget to tell Key span no new increases.
I also question how a community who boasts about how private schools run with good teachers that make far less, receive state aide, transportation,books, and special education from the district, raise the tuition every year ? Now that is just fiscal irresponsibility. Perhaps the pot should look inside its own kitchen.

1:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right on!

7:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you truly feel schools can be run on budgets without increases, then you will not pay more tuition for school and camp. Do not forget to tell Key span no new increases.

You really need to get your facts straight.

There's no denying that costs increase each year. But with millions of dollars in surplus funds generated every year, there's no reason to increase last year's budget to account for rising costs. That is, of course, unless the point of the budget proces is to take taxpayers' money to give it back the following year.

10:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

10:36 AM wrote: "But with millions of dollars in surplus funds generated every year, there's no reason to increase last year's budget to account for rising costs."

You are partially right: The state allows a certain amount to be kept in reserve (remember it was depleted a few years ago???) and the rest must be reflected in next year's budget.

Perhaps with the increased amount of state aid announced this week, the district will receive, the numbers can be re-worked.

11:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last year the budget had 7 million in surplus. That is taxpayer dollars. Also last year the whole budget was 82 million spent. If we spend 91 million next year we will have spent 9 million more on 82 million in two years. That would be 11 percent increase in two years with a declining population. Of course Fitzsimmons is adding 36 preK students to the mix but our population has declined even with that 'public school Addition'. Of course those children do not meet any economic guidelines. In fact 20 of the "targeted" children ,90 in total, also meet no economic guidelines. In spite of this there is adequate money, because of the surplus to bring in a zero budget.

11:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Private schools pay for mortgages.Just imagine if our school district had to pay back the cost of buildings. Before anyone starts wondering about private costs start figuring correctly.

11:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

declining population
1/2 percent this year. Not much of a decline.

36 preK - 450,000 worth of grants, which our new Governor find very important.

In fact 20 of the "targeted" children ,90 in total, also meet no economic guidelines

Covered under the guidlines of the grant.

1/2 million dollars, on 3 year old busing, sorry that's tax payer dollars, I think should go towards education. What everyon does not seem to understand is the general "climate" for the public school systems in the state of New York and the United States. There is little debate, Public Schools are our most important resource. I personally do not want my money going to 3 year olds. I have no problem with late busing, tutoring programs, weekend programs. Heck, equal treatment, sure why not. Legally not required but hey, I can live with that. When you start to cut teachers, class sizes are increasing, 24/26, 30 in some middle school and high school classes, we have a problem. 1/2% is all it decreased we are not moving.

I still would like to know if the yeshivot's are fiscally responsible, you pay your teachers less, they do not pay for books,special education, and transportation, and I know there is a great surplus each year, why would you pay more tuition? It is a valid question. Fiscal responsibility goes both ways.

11:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you truly feel schools can be run on budgets without increases, then you will not pay more tuition for school and camp. Do not forget to tell Key span no new increases.

You really need to get your facts straight

You still did not answer the question. Will you pay more tuition?.

11:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's no question that everyone would prefer if yeshiva finances were more transparent.

There's also no question that yeshiva finances are irrelevant to the discussion of school district finances, and are only brought up as a ruse to shift the spotlight from the district's fiscal failures.

The school district is financed by taxpayers and must be transparent. Yeshivot are privately run and, for better or for worse, have no obligation to be transparent.

That being said, it's indisputable that these yeshivot educate at a far lower cost (even accounting for the busing, books, etc. from the district) than our public schools. The private school teachers are paid far less, every expenditure is scrutinzed to determine its necessity, and private schools are run with skeletal administration and services compared to the public schools. At the same time, the school day is considerably longer and children in private school receive significantly more instruction than those in public school.

This whole notion of trying to find fault in the private schools every time there an issue of accountability is raised with respect to the school district, is extremely disingenuous.

1:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1:17 PM wrote "The school district is financed by taxpayers and must be transparent. Yeshivot are privately run and, for better or for worse, have no obligation to be transparent."

It not only has an obligation to be transparent (I know they are not willing to do it) - they can lose their tax exemption status and even their 503(c) status if they are registered as non-profits.

Busing for 3 year olds make no sense for $500,000 (I think that is a low-ball price - it is going to be much much more).

We all have mortgages to pay, public and private parents. And we all want what is best for our children.

$7 million reserve will stay - you cannot build up the reserve each year - but with $12 million in additional state aid that was not forecasted previously: hope that brings the numbers down further.

6:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When Weinberg was Super didn't we have surpluses and passed budgets? He started dialogue with the non-public, Hispanic, African American communities. He attended EVERY function affiliated with the district from concerts to political gatherings of both parties. He was VERY visible in our schools buildings. The PTA, LTA, our children were very happy and getting a good educaton. Our buildings were maintained and our children received the tools they needed to learn. (Fitzsimmons take note-you've accomplished none of these as superintendent)

He's gone because David Sussman couldn't control the district and be king because Weinberg wouldn't let him. Weinberg ran the district as an educator, not a pompous, egotistical _ _ _!

Ask the administrators that worked with him if he supported their buildings and departments. You'll need to find them as they've all left the district under Fitzsimmons and either retired or are working for districts that appreciated their talents.

How about we get real and identify what Fitzsimmons has accomplished during his tenure in Lawrence. I'd like to see that list posted!

8:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Weinberg wasn't so great. He cut parents off during the "comment periods", would not follow suit to find those who were in the district illegally and supported every LTA contract out there.

When Weinberg was Superintendent, the enrollment was on an upswing.

There's a reason why Weinberg could only find a job in Alaska. He wasn't so good. And it only went downhill from there.

I do have a lot of nice things to say about Fitzsimons, but his hands are tied by the board.

Extra help sheets go out twice a year by the administration - and all teachers are listed there for extra help - they have both morning and afternoon hours posted on it. Perhaps some of the children are hiding them from the parents.

11:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Weinberg was asked to come back by mansdorf while sussman was v.p. this year. It was the PTA,LTA,Fitzsimmons and Greenbaum that did not want him back. Seems to me that the entire board voted to retire Weinberg. Strange, did they all want Sussman to be king? More hooey to cover up a system that has not educated it's at risk students but awards teacher contracts without extra time for students or academic guideposts. 4 failed budgets, low scores, on the NYS needs improvement list for three years in a row and Greenbaum votes for raises and extensions and now Bruce Scher tells us ALPS is back. More than time for an election to clear the water.

6:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1:17 PM wrote "The school district is financed by taxpayers and must be transparent. Yeshivot are privately run and, for better or for worse, have no obligation to be transparent."

It not only has an obligation to be transparent (I know they are not willing to do it) - they can lose their tax exemption status and even their 503(c) status if they are registered as non-profits.


What exactly is an "obligation to be transparent"?

They yeshivot certainly do not have any obligation to justify all of their expenditures to taxpayers, or even to tuition payers.

11:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All of the above is very interesting and well thought out. But, at the end of the day the following will remain to be true. No matter what the public schools will continue to receive mostly all of this communities money. It is why the call it the Lawrence Public Schools. Upswing towards to help public schools, leaves are so called "partners" in education behind. Truth be told, how will this district justify spending 3 million on pre k busing when computers are older than are kids? This board and future boards will now have to answer to the governor. Yes, the board wanted to hire the former super to be our educational consultant. Bad idea, if the system was not working then, bad call.... The board still had an obligation to hire an objective consultant with a history of success with minority children. The above excuses are just that. Even if a select few were against the consultant, the majority should have passed it and did. Numerous articles were written and all said Dr. M claimed to be hiring a consultant in January. I would love to hear the explanations. Please do not blame Greenbaum,Kopilow. They did not get it done, so when the scores come out and NOTHING has been put into place, no new programs, no new technology, please do not be shocked that minority student do not fair well. It is time for this community to understand we are not partners, because legally we can't be. Even the National School Board lists under a board member duties,To advocate and support the public schools. No where on this list does it mention private schools. To the rest of Long Island, this board and this community are comical to say the least. At least now we have the governor to oversee our scores, and if things don't get better, I don't think caulking, picking on Pam, or this equal partner stuff will continue. The Governor will step in and replace the board. Please justify the larger classes, no pre-k for all, and.,,, no new technology plans. For those of us who read his speech, the following are most important

1. Class size, smaller,
2. Pre-k All children should attend
3. Technology, all schools should have up to date technology
4. All assets and resources should be invested in the public school system.

How much more clear does it need to be. I look forward to the elections. I want to see the justification of 2 million in busing, and 0 for the public school children. Oh, and for you legal folk, pre-k is not considered a legal grade. We don't HAVE to bus all.

1:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

11:40 PM wrote: "They yeshivot certainly do not have any obligation to justify all of their expenditures to taxpayers, or even to tuition payers."

501(3)(c)'s which the yeshivas are, have an obligation to open their books at least once per year for PUBLIC inspection. They are supposed to advertise in the newspaper for all to see, when their books will be open for inspection and the time and place for viewing. I have not seen that posted in the newspapers.

1:39 AM is correct about the Governor's speech - it is only by kindness of the local school board that they extend above what is legally required to provide them with. Busing to various schools (about 100 of them)has been a big expense to the district who could have used vouchers to private school students instead. So let us remember that the board has gone above their minimum mandates here.

The other thing is that special education has been brought in by the district to the private local schools vs. having them receive this at the local public school and then the child return to their normal school. That saves a lot of time and money on both sides - and the child doesn't have their day interrupted as much as if it were the other way around.

The busing of pre-school children is a big waste of taxpayer money and will certainly take away even more from the district which is struggling with austerity budgets for many years.

Weinberg would have NOT been a good independent consultant. He did not have the ears for the public or the PTA. He was all LTA.

ALPS and Bruce Scher jumped on the bandwagon with the Advocates for Lawrence Public Schools - he was not invited, but decided to join the group. He did a lot of damage a few years ago and many became disenchanted with them. How much damage he will do this year is unknown as yet.

I do STRONGLY oppose the LTA joining any fundraising arm to get board members elected - supported any person from the community running for a board position. Their mission is very narrow: to see that THEIR SOLE INTERESTS are protected (jobs and salaries). I do not agree with their participation in any school board elections - this is something Stephen Clements designed a few years ago - and he has completely removed the word "professionalism" in teaching.

10:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting,when preK busing is in thepossible future as a service given to the private children and the entire public it is "not a legal grade and does not have to be done", yet,when we are educating 100 preK public school children at an honest cost of between 1,5 and two million dollars,( the most conservative estimate of education costs are 18,000 a child by divoring all transportation and administrative costs and this certainly does not include matrons), no one says a word. Then, a blogger wants us to look past Bruce Scher and ALPS because they do not know how he got there. He is the general, the architect of ALPS. We saw his handiwork for years. Bring on the election. Alps and its troops versus rerason and equality. Transparency versus tax and spend and villification of those who want an honest count. Yell and scream all you want. Threaten that the governor will remove the Board. The Governor was elected by the people. The people will speak May 15. They will speak about the LTA contract, the scores, ALPS, inequality and the politics of hate evidenced by advertisements and letters.

1:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bruce Sher is inserting himself into the Adovocates for Public Schools - he is not running the show.

Pre-K is attended 1/2 by low income children who meet guidelines while the other 1/2 pay for the Creative Child Program themselves.

1:06 PM is mixing reality with hate. Don't mix hate into the factor.

The LTA inserted themselves too. They were NOT invited to join the Advocates for Public Schools. I too am against them having any say in the elections.

1:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where is the discussion about the children. You know the ones this is all about? Who cares about all this alps,pta,lta, garbage. Grow up people, this needs to stop, becuase as Spitzer as said he will stop it for us. The board needs to fix the schools, invest in new programs for all the kids, and stop working for special interest groups. The only group they should be working for is THE CHILDREN>

2:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're completely disillusioned if you think you can get anything done for THE CHILDREN without first putting the LTA and co. in their place.

5:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that can be said for both sides. Where else do you see 3/4 year old busing before educational programs? Where else would a district have a transportation problem meeting, but not have one for overcrowding in certain grades? It seems to me the LTA is being blamed for a board that has an agenda that does not put anyones children first. Why not put in for a budget increase so that all our children can be enhanced,enriched,and be given the opportunities that are out there? I find that the greatest hinderance to this district is the group pulling Mr. Formans strings. It is time to stop blaming the LTA for issues that the board is controling. Pam Greenbaum is not the reason for all. We teach are children to take responsibility for the wrongs in thier life. Perhaps the board and this community needs to start doing the same. The proposal Dr. Fitz. put forward with goals was top notch. It enriched and enhanced all. I for one would rather have those adult and children weekend programs back, instead of my 3 year old being bused to 5 select schools that frankly I have no desire to send my kids to.

6:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"THEIR SOLE INTERESTS are protected (jobs and salaries)"

I'm an LTA member. (from the sound of these posts, I may as well be a member of the "axis of evil") Anyway, unions, of course, are interested in protecting their members. (jobs, salaries, etc.) Is it their SOLE interest? While not being part of the union leadership, I can only speak from my day to day experiences with my colleagues. Whether cynics want to believe it or not, we spend more time talking about curriculum, teaching strategies, and learning plans for at-risk kids then we do anything else. Luckily, I'm fairly thick skinned; otherwise the venom directed at me (as an LTA member) might get me upset. No one would believe me if I told you the hours I put into my work or the dedication I have for my students. Nor would I be believed if I told you that my attitude and dedication is not the exception, but the norm. Well, now I'm off to dinner, give them baths, read them some books, put them to sleep, and spend some time on my lessons for tomorrow.

6:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is the LTA leadership that has really dirtied the water, thanks to "thank goodness he's gone" Stephen Clements.

The LTA should not be endorsing candidates for the school board. It is a conflict of interest and it does not serve the entire district and even the community well.

BIG mistake allowing LTA to take part in any type of endorsement of school board members - and I am a public school parent.

I know that there are wonderful teachers in the district. Our fourth generation is about to start school in the next few years. I shudder to think what he has to look forward to - the way things are going now.

10:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No one is paying anything for pre K. The creative child program ended several years ago. In fact all the children who are in the PreK program of the school receive everything for free. This includes the 60 or so who meet the economic guidelines and also the other 40. In fact , counting matrons the grant pays for the busing but using it this way would only leave about 200,00 to pay for 6 primary teachers(around 700,000 just there and everything else including all the ancillary teachers, lunch room, custodians, wear and tear and use of administrators. Sliced any way one wants this is a laudatory program that is costing the District into the million range. No reason that the reat of the children in the District should not get busing if the public agrees.

12:47 AM  
Anonymous goyguy said...

Anonymous said... 10:01 AM

"I do STRONGLY oppose the LTA joining any fundraising arm to get board members elected - supported any person from the community running for a board position. Their mission is very narrow: to see that THEIR SOLE INTERESTS are protected (jobs and salaries). I do not agree with their participation in any school board elections - this is something Stephen Clements designed a few years ago - and he has completely removed the word "professionalism" in teaching."

another Anonymous said... 10:39 PM

" It is the LTA leadership that has really dirtied the water, thanks to "thank goodness he's gone" Stephen Clements.

The LTA should not be endorsing candidates for the school board. It is a conflict of interest and it does not serve the entire district and even the community well.

BIG mistake allowing LTA to take part in any type of endorsement of school board members - and I am a public school parent."

Excuse me folks, but are you freakin' nuts?

On a forum that is right now being attacked by a board member who feels that her feelings are more important than the rights of all of us to render our political and personal opinions freely and "anonymously"...you have the nerve to state that a union and its members should be denied that same right? Forbidden to express their political and personal opinions regarding a public election in the United States? I can't take it.

Bill of Rights

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

OR ABRIDGING THE FREEDOM OF SPEECH,

or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

1:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No one is paying anything for pre K. The creative child program ended several years ago.

Okay, if you are going to stir the pot at least do it with accurate information.

1.Creative child ended last year.
2005-2006

2.18 children were added to the program.
3.All other children met the criteria. Yes that is true. If there is any doubt, just write and obtain the information as per the freedom of information act. I would find another area to pick on. Spitzer finds pre-k to be very important. Most school districts on Long Island, (Hewlett,Long Beach,Oceanside) offer a free pre=k porgram.

7:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Below please find the Code of Ethics from the National School Board Assocaiation. I thought the community should know what is expected of a school board. Please note all the last point. This is from the National School Board Association site, an organization that does not care public vs. private.


The NSBA Board endorses the following code for local school board members.

As a member of my local Board of Education I will strive to improve public education, and to that end I will:

· Attend all regularly scheduled board meetings insofar as possible, and become informed concerning the issues to be considered at those meetings;
· Recognize that I should endeavor to make policy decisions only after full discussion at publicly held board meetings;
· Render all decisions based on the available facts and my independent judgment, and refuse to surrender that judgment to individuals or special interest groups;
· Encourage the free expression of opinion by all board members, and seek systematic communications between the board and students, staff, and all elements of the community;
· Work with other board members to establish effective board policies and to delegate authority for the administration of the schools to the superintendent;
· Communicate to other board members and the superintendent expression of public reaction to board policies and school programs;
· Inform myself about current educational issues by individual study and through participation in programs providing needed information, such as those sponsored by my state and national school boards association;
· Support the employment of those persons best qualified to serve as school staff, and insist on a regular and impartial evaluation of all staff;
· Avoid being placed in a position of conflict of interest;
· Take no private action that will compromise the board or administration, and respect the confidentiality of information that is privileged under applicable law; and
· Remember always that my first and greatest concern must be the educational welfare of the students attending the public schools

7:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Below please find the Code of Ethics from the National School Board Assocaiation. I thought the community should know what is expected of a school board. Please note all the last point. This is from the National School Board Association site, an organization that does not care public vs. private.


The NSBA Board endorses the following code for local school board members.

As a member of my local Board of Education I will strive to improve public education, and to that end I will:

· Attend all regularly scheduled board meetings insofar as possible, and become informed concerning the issues to be considered at those meetings;
· Recognize that I should endeavor to make policy decisions only after full discussion at publicly held board meetings;
· Render all decisions based on the available facts and my independent judgment, and refuse to surrender that judgment to individuals or special interest groups;
· Encourage the free expression of opinion by all board members, and seek systematic communications between the board and students, staff, and all elements of the community;
· Work with other board members to establish effective board policies and to delegate authority for the administration of the schools to the superintendent;
· Communicate to other board members and the superintendent expression of public reaction to board policies and school programs;
· Inform myself about current educational issues by individual study and through participation in programs providing needed information, such as those sponsored by my state and national school boards association;
· Support the employment of those persons best qualified to serve as school staff, and insist on a regular and impartial evaluation of all staff;
· Avoid being placed in a position of conflict of interest;
· Take no private action that will compromise the board or administration, and respect the confidentiality of information that is privileged under applicable law; and
· Remember always that my first and greatest concern must be the educational welfare of the students attending the public schools

7:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Putting the truth to spin. There were no criteria for the 18 children who entered the preK program this year. 2/ of the 90 other preK children about 65 met economic criteria. The bd has regulations that were violated. Administration stated grant allowed it, but our own policies did not. Further, 10percent of new grant waS SUPPOSED TO GO TO PRIVATE COMMUNITY. This has not happened. Why don't you publically ask Fitzsimmons why. Understand you do not want to stir the pot.Sometimes truth is calming.

10:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

10percent of new grant waS SUPPOSED TO GO TO PRIVATE COMMUNITY.

IF you would like to know the truth about the grant go to the state website, and read the wording of the grant. No where does it say 10 should go to the private sector. 18 children were added that is it. But I encourage you to call the state education commisioner Mills and file a complaint, call the governor and ask for an investigation into grant financing. Please, let us get the truth.

12:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Avoid being placed in a position of conflict of interest

Another requirement of a board member. can Andrew L live up to this with his wife as an employee?

9:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrew's wife Marla is my child’s teacher at the high school. She is an amazing teacher and an all around nice person. I have no doubt their will be no conflict of interest. Andrew like all other candidates should be heard. In the past we all have voted by “private vs. public” Let us try this time to vote for people who are not to far to the right or left and have a general interest to be middle of the road.

10:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's a fair statement, but Andrew just yells at Asher and Murray, and strokes Stan and Pam. Come on how can he be middle of the road??

7:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have no doubt their will be no conflict of interest.

When he votes on her contract or tenure? or the contract and tenure of her bosses??

7:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When he votes on her contract or tenure? or the contract and tenure of her bosses??

He can abstain, give him a chance. I am more than willing to give anyone who is running a chance. I personally am tired of hearing about Greenbaums lawsuit. I am also real tired of this Greenbaum vs Sussman. It is time for a new board. While I have agreed and disagreed with all board members, I personally feel since boards in the past have been sited as being fiscally irresponsible, why would ANY member of this community vote for somone who helped spend our reserves, wasnt't Sussman president. It is time for a change folks. Open your ears,your minds, and vote for who YOU think you will do a good job for ALL the children.

8:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sure Andrew will abstain from a vote or asked to.

So, with a 1% budget increase, INCLUDING funding for Pre-K busing, what's the consensus on passing this budget???

11:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The holy NSBA says

Avoid being placed in a position of conflict of interest;

How can Andrew comply?? His private life might create an unavoidable conflict with his Board Membership.

4:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am also real tired of this Greenbaum vs Sussman

We'll you will be stuck with 1 of them.

7:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

4:50 PM: If you remember, Frank Parise's daughter AND wife work for the school district. Don't you think there would have been a conflict of interest when he was on the board?

I can't remember off-hand who else this has happened with, but it has.

I'm sure the district's attorneys will keep that in check. That's what they're paid for.

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