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Monday, March 05, 2007

SD 15 News

This week's 5TJT ran an article by School Board President Asher Mansdorf which related a very interesting development that took place at last week's school board meeting:
On Tuesday evening, the Board of Education ratified an agreement with the parents of several children who attend Kulanu Torah Academy [a special education Yeshiva] at a total cost of $135,000. To preserve the dignity of the families involved, and to protect the identity of the children, the agreements are negotiated out of the public eye. In an attempt to reach an agreement on student services and placement without the need for litigation, the school attorney and the director of special education met with the students’ advocates in a resolution session. The BOE directed the administration to do their very best to resolve the issue, and they did so successfully. The benefit is self-evident. The children are receiving an appropriate education in an environment that both their parents and educational mentors feel will result is a positive academic experience.

This settlement is in contrast to last year when the BOE authorized expenditures exceeding $350,000 to litigate against children who contested their special education placements. That expenditure was in addition to over $200,000 in settlements. When the BOE decides to contest a unilateral placement, the toll on the family, the school, and the child is not purely financial. However, the process for each impartial hearing can exceed $18,000 per student.

This year, instead of proceeding to full-blown court battles, the BOE decided to attempt an alternative procedure that was within their purview. Parents of special needs children filed a form requesting “due process” and our special education coordinator entered into a resolution phase. This process is practiced by many school districts in order to avoid litigation and to alleviate the stress on the families of special needs children.

The BOE, in an executive session, discussed the process at length. Mr. Kopilow revealed at the open session Tuesday that in a 5-2 vote the BOE agreed to allow the district to attempt to settle the cases out of court. He wanted to go on record publicly stating that he disagreed with the settlement. Stan Kopilow and Pamela Greenbaum voiced concern over setting a precedent in settling with a non-state approved institution. What they both neglected to say was that on the same agenda the BOE settled a similar claim for a special education public school student to attend a non-state approved institution. They leave the impression that monies are simply being siphoned from the public sector to the private one. Members of the audience echoed that false impression during public comment.
So in an account that comes directly from President Asher Mansdorf, we hear that Stanley Kopilow and Pamela Greenbaum are making a stink over the district agreeing to provide for special needs private school students. We also find out that on the same agenda, a settlement was reached to provide similar services for a public school student - and Kopilow and Greenbaum chose not to mention that. Can someone explain to me how it's possible for these two board members to come out against a settlement when it concerns private school students, and not mention a similar arrangement that benefits a public school student? Mr. Mansdorf seems to have a suggestion for the conundrum:
These facts have no religion, no level of observance, and no racial identity. They are clear and irrefutable. They point to a situation wherein otherwise intelligent individuals who are absolutely blinded by hatred have allowed their emotions to cloud their judgment.
Is the motivation for this uneven treatment toward fulfilling special education requests actually, as Dr. Mandorf suggests, pure "hatred"? Or does someone have another suggestion as to how two so similar situations can be treated so differently at the hands of certain board members? Anyone?

83 Comments:

Anonymous lawsuit police said...

it seems to me that in a roundabout sort of way, Mansdorf is maybe sorta possibly implying that Kopilow and Greenbaum might maybe be bigoted or anti-semitic. Dr. Mansdorf, I think there might be a lawsuit with your name on it. Better watch out...actually talking about the issues might get you slapped with a suit...
welcome to america!

10:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The school district is required by law to provide a Free Appropriate Public Education to any student who requires special education. The district has a tremendous Special Education Program, where many students from different districts attend. If you look at the states previous decisions on the request for private placement, you will find 99% of the appeals were denied. The issue has nothing to do with religion. The issue is should a district pay for private school, when they are able to provide an approriate education. It is ironic we have the funds to cover these tuitions, when recently in an order to save money, occupational therapy will now be offered in a group setting only. No child will receive the one on one services that they once were offered. If the district wants to settle claims for private school tuition be rest assured many parents will start to refuse district placements. I know after reading this article I will not agree to what the district offers my child at her/his meeting. Knowing that the district will cave in to any request in order to avoid litigation is now common knowledge.

10:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the board votes to put up Pre-K busingI think you find the community as a whole will approve it. When it comes to free building usage, I would hope the state steps in. When we have millions of dollars in repairs to make the last thing we should be doing is offering free building usage. Utilities,Custodial staff, plus additional security for the students in the buildings will be necessary. This is a request that is just plain fiscally irresponsible. No other district provides this to its community. Perhaps putting the number one school money to the repairs, and to the up keep of the buildings would be a good idea. Otherwise I would like to see this board justify spending all this extra money, when they can't maintain the buildings to safe standards already. Also, what about the educational consultant that was supposed to be hired? The technology needed to enhance programs? It is obvious this board wants Spitzer to step in by putting certain members of the community before the children it is supposed to servce. Good Luck

10:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i hope a lawyer "vets" these comments so there can be no more frivolous lawsuits :-)

10:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"no other district provides it"?
totally false. See Ramapo in Rockland county. The demographics there are similar, except there's one difference. The minority public school community treats the private school majority as their partners and shared stakeholders and gives them their fair share of services. all perfectly allowed by law. (they have the same laws that we do about providing aid to private school studnets)

10:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In a district that is know for its special education program, NO CHILD should be sent out of district. We have the resources to service all children. Unless their is some type of problem we don't service then and only then should a private education should be offered. By providing these students with a private education the board has opened the door for many others to request the same. Perhaps the public school community should say thank you to the board, I know six families who will be rejecting their placements, for a private school better tailored to their childrens needs. Hopefully they will be backed by this board. The board has opened pandoras box, I only hope they are prepared to handle the fall out.

10:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is the word hatred used when a private school child is rejected for private school tuition? Why can't it just be a district which is in turmoil, just feels it can service them in the district. Most tuition cases are rejected by the state, go to their site and review. It is insulting to constantly read newspapers that write these stories on hatred. How about writing a story about the poor condition of the buildings, or the computers that are eight years old in the schools. I guess it would not stir the pot. This is a public school district, and the laws protecting the children of the public schools will kick in. Wouldn't it be nice to write about the leaking roof at #4, What happened if there is a cave in? Would it then make the news if a public school child died?

10:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

totally false. See Ramapo in Rockland county

Ramapo parents are partners, because of state legislation which stepped in to stop the fleecing of the public schools. Also while looking at Ramapo's site, review the transportation area, where it states NO DOOR TO DOOR BUSING,

10:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

they have the same laws that we do about providing aid to private school studnets)

First off the state investigated our special ed department and found it to be fair. We provide to private school students the services that are alloted by law and then some. We bus on public school holidays, and have sent public school teachers in to the private schools. We do not have to do this. I have no problems with allowing what is alloted by law, but when you are not fixing buildings and want to take money from the sale of a school and give it back to the taxpayers instead of upgrading the buildings this money should go to then it becomes the reverse discrimination.

10:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.sro.nysed.gov/2005/05-049.htm

One of the many rejected tuition cases denied by the state. They can't hate the private school kids too????

10:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone here is being so willfully obstuse.
1. Ramapo doesn't have door-to-door busing for anyone. Private or public. They are completely equitable. That's the difference between them and us. Yeah, we have door to door. But so does everyone in this district.

2. The problem here isn't whether the kulanu kids got their request granted. Its that pam and stan made a public hue and cry over it while not saying a word about a public school student getting the same request granted. Fair and equitable.

10:54 AM  
Blogger Still Wonderin' said...

"Can someone explain to me how it's possible for these two board members to come out against a settlement when it concerns private school students, and not mention a similar arrangement that benefits a public school student?

OM, what else would you expect from this pair of Anti-dentites?

10:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But so does everyone in this district.


Really, I would like to know, how it is I walk my kids to the bus stop. At this stop, six other public school students wait for the middle school/elementry school bus. Interesting,

11:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"
Really, I would like to know, how it is I walk my kids to the bus stop. At this stop, six other public school students wait for the middle school/elementry school bus. Interesting,"

Nothing too interesting here. Door to door doesn't mean literally door to door. It means instead of catchment areas. I walk my kids to their stop with 5 other private school kids too.

11:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is so dumbo. This conversation isn't about whether the students should have gotten special ed provided in the first place. this is about whether someone betrays their bias by speaking out against one "side" getting the services but ignoring their own "side" getting the same services.

11:29 AM  
Blogger YMedad said...

I still can't figure out why people feel the need to comment anonymously. At school board meetings I presume that everyone is identifued and the same basic issues can be raised and battled over.

11:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

YEa we have door to door. But so does everyone in this district.

Door to door doesn't mean literally door to door. It means instead of catchment areas

No, I see people being picked up door to door. It is good to see that all of us are being shafted. Districts on long Island have their kids walk to bus stops. Door to Door, means just that, not catchman areas. The board voted 5-2 to leave it up to the driver.

11:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Door to door aplies when its a choice between driving right past the house and stopping at the corner. in many cases, the drivers see no difference so they agree to stop three houses earlier. that can happen with public or private school students equally. luck of the draw.

11:33 AM  
Anonymous cedarhurst dad said...

Equity, equity, equity. That's all this is about. Don't you guys get it? Pretend you believe that all taxpayers should get all services equitably to the fullest extent allowed by the law and maybe we wouldn't be talking about 4 failed budgets in a row. You guys just don't get it, do you. All we want is equal treatment. And all you do is dif in your heels and deny it. Good luck with those budgets.

11:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Equity, equity, equity

I agree, but our children don't get special education services at private schools. Also, the district provides by law what is allowed under the Blaine Amendment, threats of budgets not passing do not scare us. If you want to be equal, enroll in public school, until then, you have little right to more than you receive, and this is just basic law.

11:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't you guys get it? Pretend you believe that all taxpayers should get all services equitably to the fullest extent allowed by the law

Currently the private school children receive exactly that. Transportation, Books, Special Education. That is what is allowed by law. No child no matter what community should be sent to a private school, when the district can service said child. This district goes over the alloted services given to private schools. Go read the non public manual, If you do not like the law, then go fight it. Budget failures don't bother me, I am looking at Vincent Smith and Woodmere Acadamey,for my daughters and now I know the board will cave in, I look forward to a private education for my kids. Thank you.

11:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since everyone is concerned about getting what is entitled under New York State Law, please go to the link below. This is the NYS private school manual for parents. I think it will be quite the eye opener for some.
http://www.emsc.nysed.gov/nonpub/HANDBOOKonServicestoPupilsAttendingNonpublicSchools/Handbookpage.htm

11:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HANDBOOK ON SERVICES TO PUPILS ATTENDING NONPUBLIC SCHOOLS

VI. Transportation for Students Enrolled in Nonpublic Schools
Section 3635 of the Education Law requires all noncity districts to provide transportation for pupils enrolled in kindergarten through grades 8 who live more than two miles from the school they attend and for pupils enrolled in grades 9-12 who live more than three miles from the school they attend up to a distance of fifteen miles


Does anyone see pre-k busing on the law????? I think we should do away with all pre-k busing, it will save....

11:55 AM  
Blogger flatbushrenegade said...

"When we have millions of dollars in repairs to make the last thing we should be doing is offering free building usage. Utilities,Custodial staff, plus additional security for the students in the buildings will be necessary. This is a request that is just plain fiscally irresponsible."

I could not aggree with you more. However the public school students should be treated equally. After school games-pay for it. School dance-pay for it. Holiday party-pay for it. As long as the public school students are treated equally I have no problem, but the minute you tell me MY children have to pay to use OUR building, while a public school student does not have to pay to use OUR building, that's when I have a problem.

12:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OUR building, while a public school student does not have to pay to use OUR building, that's when I have a problem.

Let me educate you on the american educational system. Legally, public school children use the buildings they are in for free, as they are programs run by the public school. It is not your building or my building, you have no legal ground to stand on. Why do you think they tabled it before. No way are the buildings going to be opened for free, when the buildings 1.Need to be fixed, 2.We have to pay for them to be open, 3. There would have to be security to protect children in the buildings from ALL adults that will be allowed in the buildings. Once you open those buildings up, the bloods, the cryps, the kkk can come in for free. Frankly these discussion are crazy. YOU SEND YOUR KIDS TO PRIVATE SCHOOL, GET OVER IT, STOP GIVING JEWS, RELIGOUS OR NOT A BAD NAME, PEOPLE ON LONG ISLAND MAKE FUN OF THE PEOPLE OF THIS COMMUNITY.

12:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Equity, equity, equity. That's all this is about. Don't you guys get it? Pretend you believe that all taxpayers should get all services equitably to the fullest extent allowed by the law and maybe we wouldn't be talking about 4 failed budgets in a row. You guys just don't get it, do you. All we want is equal treatment. And all you do is dif in your heels and deny it. Good luck with those budgets.

Much has been said over the years about the private school parents voting down the public school budget because of sheer malice. This is way off the mark.

The truth is if HAFTR needed to raise tuition and had to get a vote passed from just HAFTR parents that vote wouldn't pass either.

If YIW needed to raise money to make repais and needed to pass a vote by its own membership about whether they could pass that expense on to the congregation, that vote would go down as well.

It's not about public vs. private, it's about the fact that the school budget is the only expense taxpayers have that they have any actual say on.

After all more than 50% of the school budgets were voted down last year. You can't blame the orthodox for what happens in Mattituck? Maybe Kopilow can but a reasonable person can't.

12:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

50 % of budgets did not fail. The ones that did fail, only 2 did not get approved on the revote. Even Roslyn, who should have major trust issues passed the budget. The sad thing while everyone is so concerned about equality, not one person on this web site, asked how the districts plan they presented to the board is coming along, you know the one that included child find, under nclb. This program would screen children quaterly that live in our district to look for problems. In setting up this expanded program, we would cut back dramatically on children being evaluated while providing the services the child needs. I can see how free building usage is far more important then reading, and math.

12:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obfuscate, set up straw men, distract. That's the name of the game. I have yet to see one reasonable suggestion here as to why pam and stan didn't object to the placement of the public school studnet and yet loudly screamed about the placement of a private school student. Ill wait.

12:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a great idea, everyone should enroll in the district, then the district will hand out vouchers for 14,970 the cost of actual academic costs in the public school, we take those vouchers and go to private school. What a great idea, I would forgo busing, wouldn't you? Also, the state gives money per pupil, if we have 7200 children enrolled just think how much more money we would receive.

12:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

placement of the public school studnet and yet loudly screamed about the placement of a private school student. Ill wait.

Okay, I'll bite, what public school student did they approve? I personally think sending a child to private school is a poor idea no matter who,what,where. I would have to hear each case individually to see why each parent did not agree. If you can comment on how many public school private school tuitions have been paid, let me know. I looked at the blogger way aboves case on a case that went to appeal and lost tuition. I think we should let them all go to the state.

12:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What many of you don't know is that it actually costs the district MORE to send a special needs child to public school than it does to pay for private school. I know from personal experience, and my lawyer has shown me the figures. Because of inflated teachers' salaries, pensions, benefits, as well as the extra therapists salaries, pensions, benefits, it costs a child in MY district about $50,000 to go to public school.

Private school? With all the therapies? Much less. If you have a severely disabled child, such as severe autism or mental retardation, well, the public schools can't help you anyway. They have to pay for a private school, by law, because they are unable to provide for an appropriate public education.

I fail to understand the derision against people who choose to send to private school. If all private schools would collapse and we all would send to public schools, the entire system would shut down.

I have a child in public school, that I was forced to pull out of private school (thank you, school board!), and I can tell you that he is regressing severely. Plus, I have been in litigation with out school district for over a year, and in the end, the board of education saved about $50,000 on my child by refusing him any education or therapy for over a year. Now he may never be a normal child, because our window of opportunity has almost closed.

I hope that paid for some repair for your public school, but it probably just went to all their three dozen law firms on retainer.

If you want to moan and whine about your public school's buildings maintenance, look no further than the paragraph that talks about the board of education wasting HUNDREDS of thousands of dollars on fruitless litigation. These people are literally punishing misfortunate children and their families for the hubris of requesting a proper education.

1:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What Mr. Kopilow stated at the meeting about the stipulation re the 6 kids who wanted to attend Kulanu was that the CSE did not recommend the placement. The one other stipulated placement was recommended by CSE. When Mr. Kopilow suggested bringing the CSE representative to the next board meeting to explain the CSE position on the six children who wanted Kulanu, he was told no, and the vote took place 5-2.

So, to answer OM's question, the situations are not all that similar. One child had a stipulation that CSE supported; the 6 attending Kulanu convinced 5 board members but not their CSE that the placement in a non-accredited school was a fair and educationaly necessary measure.

4:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course the CSE didn't recommend the placement. Its the same reason I left my CSE meeting in tears a few years back, with my parent member shaking her head in disbelief that my daughter wasn't classified when so many other kids whose meeting she sits in do get services. Its the same reason that the public schol students get special ed approvals at a rate that is inexcusably higher that that of the private school community.

5:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you want to moan and whine about your public school's buildings maintenance, look no further than the paragraph that talks about the board of education wasting HUNDREDS of thousands of dollars on fruitless litigation. These people are literally punishing misfortunate children and their families for the hubris of requesting a proper education.


I feel very bad for the family that wrote the above. It is unfortunate that this family did not receive the approriate treatment. I fail to see this happening on every case. I looked at the link somone posted above, and found some cases where the state denied private school tuition. I think each case should be determined on appropriateness.

If everyone in this district enrolled I fail to see the school district collapsing. I would say the administration would come up with solutions to house the extra children. I think it would be very exciting to see all the children go to school together. Perhaps if they are enrolled they can see what it is like and the madates that are placed on the public schools. The thousands of dollars being spent on litigation is the same monies being spent by every district. If you review the state web site you will see many people want private school tuition for their children reiumbursed. Kulanu provides a basic one on one education, the state really is putting pressure on school districts to mainstream special education students. It may not be what parents want, but it is what the state is mandating. So before every cries racism, they should review the facts.

If everyone is so concerned about the state of special education in this district perhaps attending a board meeting to complain about certain issues with the CSE would be a productive idea. I have no problem with children receiving the services they qualify for. Perhaps looking into revamping the CSE instead of looking at free building usage would be far better for the children, ALL the children. It is time to stop indulging those whose goal is to destroy whatever is left.

5:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a child in public school, that I was forced to pull out of private school (thank you, school board!), and I can tell you that he is regressing severely. Plus, I have been in litigation with out school district for over a year, and in the end, the board of education saved about $50,000 on my child by refusing him any education or therapy for over a year. Now he may never be a normal child, because our window of opportunity has almost closed


If this is the case, then you should continue with litigation. There are advocate groups to help you. File a formal complaint as well. What does the board have to do with refusing your child services for a year? That is not legal. I would call the state. Also, we spend 20,000 on "actual special education costs." Like teachers, therapies.

5:07 PM  
Anonymous 5t maven said...

What Mr. Kopilow stated at the meeting about the stipulation re the 6 kids who wanted to attend Kulanu was that the CSE did not recommend the placement. The one other stipulated placement was recommended by CSE. When Mr. Kopilow suggested bringing the CSE representative to the next board meeting to explain the CSE position on the six children who wanted Kulanu, he was told no, and the vote took place 5-2.

So, to answer OM's question, the situations are not all that similar. One child had a stipulation that CSE supported; the 6 attending Kulanu convinced 5 board members but not their CSE that the placement in a non-accredited school was a fair and educationaly necessary measure.


The only people who would have that information is one of the board members themselves as this was discussed during a closed session.

Hmmm...

7:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My child, who is receiving services, is ONLY getting what he needs because the advocate who sat in on the meeting called the distict on a litany of GROSS non-compliance of the process.

You can be sure parents who don't have adequate representation are as screwed as the day is long. They don't stand a chance.

In our case, the district representative had already flatly refused every single request we made, despite the clear need as indicated in his evaluation.

When the advocate spoke up, just merely mentioning their unbelievable lapses in protocol, they changed their tune AND FAST.

The process is astoundingly stacked against private school parents and for no reason. It is absolutely criminal.

7:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

bottom line: if the district can provide the type of special education services needed by these youngsters, then they should not have received tuition assistance from the board. if the district does not provide the services these youngsters require, then the payment was justified. if the district offers the necessary services, the board is approving the payment of private school tuition. what's to say this won't happen next with non-special education yeshivas? while I applaud any tax savings and the end of frivolous lawsuits, establishing precedents can be dangerous in this siutation IF the district already provides the necessary special ed. services these kids require.

8:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The process is astoundingly stacked against private school parents and for no reason. It is absolutely criminal.

Why is this a private school issue? Do you know any public school parents? FYI, the public school children are treated equal I promise you. The one on one occupational therapy is being cut from all children. I know plenty of public school parents that were told their kids were to smart to be evaluated. Once a child is classified, and the district pays for a full time program, they are considered a public school student, so the high number of public school children you see classified are not. The only kids that the public school evaluates are the ones who basically can't read or can't speak. I do have to say, if you go to any other district you will find the following, you very well might get ot or speech more, but they don't classify your child. I know two kids one in Hewlett one in Oceanside they both receive resource room 2x speech 1 ot 1 and our district they are classified, the other two districts they gave all services, but did not classify.

10:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

fact is public school children get about twice the classified services as privates. Just coincidence? Fact is almost all the cases that went to lawyer adjudication last year were from the privates. Just coincidence? Fact is that new lawyers were brought in to deal with Special Ed 2 years ago. Too many cases were being settled before them? Legal fees doubled.

7:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If everyone in this district enrolled I fail to see the school district collapsing. I would say the administration would come up with solutions to house the extra children. I think it would be very exciting to see all the children go to school together. Perhaps if they are enrolled they can see what it is like and the madates that are placed on the public schools.

very interesting - but really, our taxes would go up tremendously. Think about it, the "solution" that our administrators would come up with, would be to hire hundreds of teachers. And our teachers and administrators are very well paid. Teachers and Administrators account for 70% of the budget. 70 percent!!! Everyone is saving money by the private school community staying private.

8:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If anyone thinks special education is against private school students I encourage you to contact the state. Let them come in and investigate. It is not acceptable for children to be denied services they qualify for. Keep in mind qualification by New York State standards and mother standards are two different things. The public schools test far less children. Usually by the time the child is tested the school already knows the child has severe problems. Nys standards by the way are well below the 25%. Either way, since there are so many lawsuits, perhaps the state should be called. As far as the taxes going up because the private school children enroll, would be the same as if I move to Great Neck or Jericho, where school taxes are double of what we pay here. Manhasset has the highest teachers paid in the state, and there elementy scores are comprable to ours. I would love to see everyone enroll. Your taxes may go up, but, think of the tuition you will save. Below find information from the New York State School Board Association which I thought everyone should see. Interesting on what the state thinks.

Job Duties of a Board Member

Your major roles as board member are:

Steward - of the district’s resources
Leader - of the district
Advocate - for public education

9:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

except, if my taxes double - that is what i pay for four kids in private school - so what am i saving?

9:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that is what i pay for four kids in private school - so what am i saving?


School taxes are different from total taxes. I know I pay $50,000 for tuition. I hope that my taxes are never that much!!!

10:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

School taxes are different from total taxes. I know I pay $50,000 for tuition. I hope that my taxes are never that much!!!

actually, the bulk of your local taxes are school taxes. and that is another issue. people have very little control over the taxes they pay. the one area where people have some control - unfortunately - is the school tax. And i say unfortunately because we really should be supporting the school budget and supporting our school system. i think the community is angry - at the taxes, at the school budget that continues to go up while enrollment goes down, but the school board and the budget have very little to do with it. The budget has to go up to pay for expenses that keep on rising. Maybe another school should have been closed, but with the new teacher contract, how is that possible?

i know i rambled and i'm sorry - it's kinda early for me.

9:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

back on topic, I just can't see how paying for tution at a special ed. yeshiva is any different then paying for tuition at any other private school. I think the board broke the law.

12:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

UCP Roosevelt, Carmen Road, AHRC, School for Language, etc are all private schools. Is the district breaking the law by sending our children to these schools because of their special needs? Have you checked out the tuition costs at some of the BOCES schools we send our children too?

The bottom line is if a child has special needs and they can get the appropriate services at a school,(public, private , Boces, residential) the district is require to pay for it. If a parent makes a unilateral placement, the district does not have to pay the tuition but is obligated for the related services such as speech, OT, PT, transportation etc.

We should do all we can for our children who are in need of special services. We should be advocating for them, not trying to hurt them because of folks who may be politically motivated.

1:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We should do all we can for our children who are in need of special services. We should be advocating for them, not trying to hurt them because of folks who may be politically motivated.


I agree. The question is not the board approved private school, it is why the CSE felt a private placement was not necessary, as opposed to the parents who felt they did. The school in question gives one on one attention. The district like all state schools are being mandated to integrate ALL students. 98% of all tuition cases the go to mediation end up having tuition denied. (see state web site) Children should get the education that best suits them. I do not know about these six children. I believe in giving chldren the services they need, but I do not agree with some. If the board is going to approve all cases so that they do not have to go through appeals to save money, I can guarantee many parents will appeal knowing the board will cave in.

2:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"UCP Roosevelt, Carmen Road, AHRC, School for Language, etc are all private schools. Is the district breaking the law by sending our children to these schools because of their special needs? Have you checked out the tuition costs at some of the BOCES schools we send our children too?"

First of all, many of the students that the district used to send to these schools are now being taught in house because of the savings to the district. For the students that the district does send to the schools that you mentioned, the district is NOT breaking the law since they are paying the schools to provide services not given by the district itself. Paying special ed. yeshivas would be illegal if the district provided the necessary services. If not, the tuition is being paid justifiably. Like I said before, I just can't see how paying for tuition at a special ed. yeshiva is any different then paying for tuition at any other private school. It’s a slippery slope. And I agree that it seems that the board is trying to skirt the law under the guise of fiscal responsibility, claiming that it would cost less to pay the tuition than it would to fight the case.

2:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And I agree that it seems that the board is trying to skirt the law under the guise of fiscal responsibility, claiming that it would cost less to pay the tuition than it would to fight the case.

I agree. It seems more logical for the board to listen to each individual case before passing. People appeal private school placement all the time, the state usally denies these requests. The law requires the district to offer a free appropriate education to a special education student. It does not mean a parent has to like it. If a child must be sent to a private school, a state mandated school should be picked. By allowing a non state mandated school to be picked, it opens up a can of worms. I have no problems with the children going to private school, if the board wants to pay for it, the CSE should have picked a state mandated school and sent them there

6:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our scores are not the same as Manhasset. An out and out distortion. Manhasset has not been on the States need improvement list for 3 years and our teacher package is still higher than Manhasset's overall. Looks like LTA?PTA propaganda.

12:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lawrence is #5 in Nassau county for highest teachers salries. I only wish that Lawrence would be #5 highest in test scores.

12:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lawrence: in the bottom quarter for test scores in Nassau county. Great.

12:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any one else fed up with the hypocrisy of greenbaum and gang. Kopilow and Greenbaum give a 240 million dollar contract to the teachers and then have the nerve to talk about 120,000 to help Special Ed children. The teachers contract is a giveaway to the teachers. Not one minute of giveback time. The best class sizes(lowest) grade for grade guaranteed in Nassau County. No achievement goals. Then they have the nerve to talk about a pittance for Special Ed and they talk about precedent. I do not want to hear it. They want to talk about it, too bad. Lets talk about the teachers contract worth about 2000 times the money. Case closed, we meet at the election.

12:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lawrence by the embarrasing numbers:


Students 3,553
Spending per student $24,654
General education spending $48,803,754
Special education spending $18,524,923
Instruction as percentage of all spending 77.3%
Pupil/teacher ratio 10.6
Average teacher pay $85,400
Dropout rate 2.8%
Students receiving free or reduced price lunches 47%
Limited English proficient students 8.8%
Graduates receiving Regents diploma 83%
Graduates receiving advanced diploma 49%

12:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

who says that our scores are the same as Manhasset? Go look at them. Manhassets middle school scores put ours to shame. Our scores do not make the grade for a district whose teachers make the #5 salary in the county.

12:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agree with above except for understatement of teacher compensation. Add about 30 percent for benefits.Don't believe? 9% pension, 14% medical, 3% sick and personal days(paid),4% dental, medicare etc. Package on average is well over 100,000. But lets go after our most fragile special ed kids, right?

12:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Only hve about 3200 in elementary school. Just added preK (20) more with No that's right no economic criteria at public expense. Read it like this. Parents of a public school child can be making in excess of 100,000 a year and they we go for free to our PreK program with busing and everything but not even busing for the privates. In fact only about 65% of the 100 preK children meet our economic criteria in the public schools. Yet they want to talk about special ed where the public school children have about twice the usage rate of the Yeshiva children. complaints are the name of the game.

12:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

arents of a public school child can be making in excess of 100,000 a year and they we go for free to our PreK program with busing and everything but not even busing for the privates

Absolutely an out and out lie. This year 18 children received free tuition, that did not qualify, supposedly covered the extra grant.In past years we had to file paperwork in accordance with the monetary guidlines set by the state We do not spend 24,000 per pupil. Call the state, they will tell you. That total divides students by total dollars spent. Which includes a budget of 7 million for busing,books, etc. The state informed me when I spoke with them we spend approx 18,600 per public school pupil. Also, the student teacher ratio is way off. You would think the readers would have figured out a long time ago, that when it is in the news that we are over the cap 24-26 in two elementry schools and we don't have aides, the number is off due to teachers highered for our special education programs. But hey, far easier to swing mud. One more thing, if you are going to throw poor test scores at people, then at least be accurate. We are on the needs improvement list NOT for test scores. We must have a certain percent of the children taking the High School test each year. We had 94% instead of 95%. Mind you, we have a very large special education program in the high school, and some of these children are not capable of taking this test. We have 902 children classified in this district compared to 300 in other districts. The elementy scores are very good. #2 made the newsday lists of school of excellence in June. #5 was #4 in Math in 2006 #4, and number six numbers went up 27%. We did far better than many districts. As far as teachers salaries 100% of our teachers are considered highly qualified, as opposed to other districts. Yes our teachers may be paid on average of 85,000 but at the elementry school level we have only 2-4 new teachers, the others have on average 15 years experience. Stop picking on garbage and focus on what is the issue of this article. The board should have consulted with the CSE before making the decision to pay for school. I would say that about public and private. No parent should be allowed to "pick" the school, they should be told what school are appropriate, and then they should be allowed to choose. Because you pay taxes does not give you the right to be demanding and expectant of everyone to cater to your every whim. This goes for Public,Private,and Homeschool. I say this for those public school parents who are now going to appeal and fight everything.

10:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Then they have the nerve to talk about a pittance for Special Ed and they talk about precedent. I do not want to hear it. They want to talk about it, too bad. Lets talk about the teachers contract worth about 2000 times the money. Case closed, we meet at the election."

What arrogance. The topic was about whether or not the board was justified, legally, to pay tuition at a particular private school. To simply say, "I think the teachers make too much money so the board can do what they want regarding the payment of private school tuition" is illogical and absurd. Also, the problem with the posters on this site is that people tend to see things in black and white. Lawrence is a very different district than Manhasset. I sincerely doubt that their respective scores would be much different if their teachers switched districts for a year. Keep in mind the correlation, nationally, between poverty, parental education levels, and student academic achivement. The demographics in the above mentioned communities are certainly different. After all, 47% of Lawrence students are eligible for free or reduced lunch and only Hempstead, Uniondale, Freeport, Roosevelt, Westbury, and one other district (maybe Elmont?) have a higher level of poverty than Lawrence.

11:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Manhasset is at the top of US News' national list of the best schools every year. Lawrence is nowhere to be found

1:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Manhasset is at the top of US News' national list of the best schools every year. Lawrence is nowhere to be found."

duh. did you bother to read anything that I wrote above? (BTW, we consistently have more Intel semifinalists than Manhassett, and most other high schools in the nation.)

2:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The fact that 2% of our students are overachievers doesn't justify the failures and waste throughout our system.

Whatever stipulation the board reaches for those private school kids will ultimately cost the district far less than trying to do the same job within the district's schools or elsewhere. It's a shame the previous board pissed away hundreds of thousands of dollars on unsuccessful challenges rather than spending our money wisely.

2:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

talk about wearing blinders

3:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To blogger at 11:07. Sorry it is not arrogance to talk about a 240 million dollar teacvhers contract that the LTA? public community cheered for while they cry about a 122,000 dollar settlement in KTA. The agenda is clear. Everything for you, nothing is too much for the public. Keep paying the LTA at exorbitant rates with no significant givebacks and make excuses for poor performance. Then question anything the private community is given. Well, you call it arrogance, I call it democracy. Enough of the double talk, see you at the polls.

6:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I call it democracy"

I too love democracy. You don't see me griping about the election results, do you? Your insistence at labeling attempted explanations as an excuse shows your inability, or unwillingness, to understand the complex issues at work behind student performance. Also, you don't respond to my assertion that your logic is faulty. I'm sorry, but teacher salaries have nothing to do with a board decision to pay tuition at a special ed. yeshiva. I have stated several times why I think this was an illegal action. The only replies I receive state that the action was justified. Opinions about justification is quite different from the legality of the action. In my opinion, if community members want the district to pay for private school tuition at schools that provide the same services provided in public school, they should petition state legislators to change state law to allow this to be done. If not, I await a judgement made in federal court. Until then, I maintain that the board is acting illegaly and is trying to skirt the law under the guise of fiscal responsibility, claiming that it would cost less to pay the tuition than it would to fight the case. You love democracy? Advocate that existing laws be followed. If you don't like it, use the system to make changes to the law.

9:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

a 122,000 dollar settlement in KTA

This is not a public vs private issue. Stop making it one. The issue is the board caving in to the demands of parents, when pupil personnel determined the district could provide as per NYS LAW a Free Appropriate Education. That is it. They could have approved the church of later day saints and I still would say the same. If private school was a "settling" point a state approved school should not be used. I would love to send my daughter who has dyslexia to the Churchill school, the district refused. Now at her annual review, I am going to ask for arbitration. I know the board will settle. This is the point people were trying to make.

9:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even you missed the point anon 9:56am.

This is not about public vs. private. This is not about caving into parent demands.

It's about deciding where the money goes. Parent doesn't get what they want, they hire a lawyer and rack up $100,000 in legal bills from the school's attorneys. Then the hearing officer finds in favor and the district still pays $122,000 for the school.

So do we pay $122k or $222k? I think saving $100k and cutting the lawyers out of the equation is good business sense. That's $100k in taxes we don't have to pay.

2:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I think saving $100k and cutting the lawyers out of the equation is good business sense. That's $100k in taxes we don't have to pay."

You are missing the point as well, anon 2:12. Good business sense? Sure, if it's legal, which I don't think it is. There are plenty of illegal ways of saving money. Are there any others that you advocate? Do the gains justify the means if the law is being broken? As I said many times before, if the district offers the services needed by these young people, than the district should not be paying their tuition. If the services are not provided, there shouldn't be any problem. If this is allowed, what stops the board from paying the tuition for the general education private school population?

2:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Then the hearing officer finds in favor and the district still pays $122,000 for the school.

If you look at the New York state website SRO decisions, you will see out of 3 lawsuits for tuition to the Yeshivot private school only one won. This is not about the legal fee's, or about saving money. This is about the law. The district must offer a Free Appropriate Education. If they don't then they can appeal. If the CSE thought they offered the proper program, it should have presented this to the board before any decision were made. If it was then deemed to be a necessity, then pupil personnel should have picked out a school approriate for these childrens needs. I for one know many parents public and private who will fight district offered services in the future, knowing the board will cave in. This is a two sided issue, which is going to cost this district dearly in the future. I hope the board is prepared legally for what is to come.

7:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"This is a two sided issue, which is going to cost this district dearly in the future."

Cost the board dearly in the future? I think you probably meant save the board in the future, since those with school aged children will be able to use their tax dollars to pay for private school and the board will continue to gain community support. The only one's that will pay dearly in this scenario is the public school children that will continue to lack the proper resources as money is siphoned away.

8:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lets be honest here. Many in the orthodox community resent the fact that they must pay taxes for what they choose not to use because it is incompatable with their beliefs. They look for every possible loophole to squeeze every dollar out of the public school system.

Are the orthodox bigoted in this disinterest for children and families who use the public schools? Of course, not. They are simply looking out for their own interests and have adopted an ideology consistent with their self-interest. Likewise the public school advocates are not bigoted either. They know what the orthodox are doing and why they are doing it and why they need to be vigilant to protect their interests.

Aside from this silly google lawsuit, the public school advocates have the law on their side for now. That might change at some point which would mean an end to public education, something that does not seem to be a concern to many in the orthodox community or to the religious right in other communities around the country.

So lets drop the phoney insults. This is about competing and sometimes mutually exclusive interests.

Splitting hairs over the inclusiveness of someone's statements is non-sense.

Each of us must look into his or her own heart and ask the question if our interests placed us on the other side of this issue would we have the same position.


If I am only for myself who am I

3:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If I am only for myself who am I"

Before that and from the same source: "If I am not for myself, who will be for me".

There needs to be balance.

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