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 Talk About the Budget

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Admin
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PostSubject: Talk About the Budget   Tue 16 Dec 2008, 5:06 pm

The Schenectady City School District is pleased to offer this forum/threaded discussion for you to talk about the budget.

This forum is being monitored. Any posts that include inappropriate content or language will be edited or removed.

If you have a question for Superintendent Ely, please post your question on the Q & A post located under "Budget."

Thank you.
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Irishwolf



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PostSubject: Re: Talk About the Budget   Mon 22 Dec 2008, 5:32 pm

Admin wrote:
The Schenectady City School District is pleased to offer this forum/threaded discussion for you to talk about the budget.

This forum is being monitored. Any posts that include inappropriate content or language will be edited or removed.

If you have a question for Superintendent Ely, please post your question on the Q & A post located under "Budget."

Thank you.

So, how do I lambast Governor Patterson about cutting education once again? Why is it that any time anything needs to get cut, our children and our educators are the ones to suffer? Why not take away from the government officials who are making upwards of 6 figures? Why is it always the people who are the backbone that end up getting the short end of the straw? Where do I reach him to ask these questions?
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PostSubject: Response to Talk about the budget question   Tue 23 Dec 2008, 7:58 am

Irishwolf wrote:
Admin wrote:
The Schenectady City School District is pleased to offer this forum/threaded discussion for you to talk about the budget.

This forum is being monitored. Any posts that include inappropriate content or language will be edited or removed.

If you have a question for Superintendent Ely, please post your question on the Q & A post located under "Budget."

Thank you.

So, how do I lambast Governor Patterson about cutting education once again? Why is it that any time anything needs to get cut, our children and our educators are the ones to suffer? Why not take away from the government officials who are making upwards of 6 figures? Why is it always the people who are the backbone that end up getting the short end of the straw? Where do I reach him to ask these questions?

A: The Governor's contact information:
Governor David A. Paterson
State Capitol
Albany, NY 12224
Phone: 518-474-8390
You can e-mail the Governor through the following website: www.ny.gov/governor/contact/index.html

At this point, it may be more important for all of us to contact our assemblymen and senators. They will be the next to tackle the state budget.
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Irishwolf



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PostSubject: Re: Talk About the Budget   Tue 23 Dec 2008, 10:02 am

When contacting the Governor's office about this latest budget cut proposal, what are the things we should be focusing on? I know that they want to take a huge chunk out of our budget, but are there any specific areas that we should be asking them to try and not cut, besides our core education courses? I am not always sure what gets cut the most in the education budget aside from music and sports.
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PostSubject: Re: Talk About the Budget   Tue 23 Dec 2008, 1:39 pm

Irishwolf wrote:
When contacting the Governor's office about this latest budget cut proposal, what are the things we should be focusing on? I know that they want to take a huge chunk out of our budget, but are there any specific areas that we should be asking them to try and not cut, besides our core education courses? I am not always sure what gets cut the most in the education budget aside from music and sports.

A: Probably the most critical and surprising part of the Governor's proposal was something called a "one time Deficit Reduction Assessment.". In simple terms, this means a loss of almost 3.3 million dollars to our district. The deficit reduction assessment is designed to help the state pay down their budget deficit. This rides on the backs of local taxpayers and children.
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greer



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PostSubject: saving taxpayers money   Wed 31 Dec 2008, 3:39 pm

With the budget in jeopardy, why not save by
1. cut the high paid consultants from outside[ like the MATH professor] and use the money for our own staff to train.[ he is paid THOUSANDS a week for what?]
2. Have teachers actually work- contract or not- teachers who are "dead wood" need to go.
I resent paying for some teachers who work minimum because they have tenure.
3.Abolish tenure- teachers would be rated on individual merit, and be paid accordingly.
4. try a 4 day workweek
5.Have administrators teach- look at the money we can save in subs if principals and directors subbed.
6.why are 24% of the school population special ed?? Does the state pay more in this case-
12% is the average in all districts- makes me wonder what is going on??
7. PAY CUTS
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PostSubject: Re: Talk About the Budget   Fri 02 Jan 2009, 12:58 pm

greer wrote:
With the budget in jeopardy, why not save by
1. cut the high paid consultants from outside[ like the MATH professor] and use the money for our own staff to train.[ he is paid THOUSANDS a week for what?]
2. Have teachers actually work- contract or not- teachers who are "dead wood" need to go.
I resent paying for some teachers who work minimum because they have tenure.
3.Abolish tenure- teachers would be rated on individual merit, and be paid accordingly.
4. try a 4 day workweek
5.Have administrators teach- look at the money we can save in subs if principals and directors subbed.
6.why are 24% of the school population special ed?? Does the state pay more in this case-
12% is the average in all districts- makes me wonder what is going on??
7. PAY CUTS



A:

Superintendent Ely's Response

#1 We are currently examining all aspects of the budget including the district's use of outside consultants. Many consultants utilized by our school district are paid for out of grant funding and/or funding set aside for mandated services due to our special needs population and our status as a District in Need of Improvement under No Child Left Behind. However, we do pay other consultants who provide expertise in an area of need, through the general fund. We are looking at both to determine if there are ways to use other available resources more efficiently in order to provide necessary services.

#2 Our administrative staff has very prescribed steps to follow when any teacher is not meeting expectations. This includes evaulating and documenting the teacher's weakness with the goal of helping him or her become more effective. When you consider a district of over ten thousand children and over eighteen hundred employees spread out over twenty-three buildings, it is easy to overlook the good and hard work that the vast majority of these people do. We have very high expectations of all of our staff and will continue to work within the contractual and legal framework to ensure that each of our staff members is working to meet these expectations. It is unfortunate that a very few poor teachers can spoil the public's perception when there are so many hard-working effective teachers who are making a difference.

#3 Teacher tenure laws are outside of any district’s control. Merit pay systems across the country have been less than effective but are still being developed and certainly are worth considering. Again, tenure is designed to give security to those teachers who have proven effective over a period of time, usually two or three years. It is important that teachers (who also have families) have security in their positions as the political landscape changes so that school districts can retain these highly qualified educators educators who, in many cases, are very hard to replace.

#4 A 4-day school week is not an option for an urban district such as ours for a wide variety of reasons. First, the students we work with are in need of a consistent daily educational experience in order to close the achievement gap between the racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups within our community. Second, where four day school weeks have been tried around the country, there has actually been very little proven financial savings. This conversation will continue around the country, however, I am reluctant to engage in finding ways to reduce the school year when I believe our students actually need more contact time with responsible, caring adults in schools who are dedicated to helping them overcome many barriers to success.

#5 We have approximately fifty school administrators in Schenectady as compared to over nine hundred teachers. Our principals do teach regularly, especially at the elementary level, when a teacher is absent. We are able to fill approximately 90% of our teacher absences with substitutes, however each day our administrators are finding creative ways to cover for absent teachers.

#6 I am not sure where your numbers are coming from, but our actual percentage of special needs students is around 17%. There is more state aid available for students who are identified as special needs students depending on their level and type of disability. As you point out, the state average is between 11 and 12%. This is an average. Some district numbers are lower than that and some are higher, thus it is an average. Typically, urban districts have higher percentages of special needs students for a variety of societal, regional, and economic factors. There are many federal and state guidelines that guide and mandate how and if a student becomes identified. This process is highly regulated, especially in New York, and is not something a school district can control. However, many districts including ours, are now utilizing a pre-referral process called Response to Intervention to reduce the number of children who become identified. RTI is a fairly new approach that forces teachers and administrators to employ and document a wide variety of strategies with a child before that child can be referred for special needs testing. Obviously, the goal is to address every child’s needs as early as possible and where appropriate, prevent that child from becoming labeled as special needs.

#7 Obviously with seven bargaining units and seven separate negotiated agreements, we are always in a state of negotiations. Remember, that the school district is the third or fourth largest employer in the city of Schenectady, so the employees have families and lives and are entitled to a fair and competitive wage and benefit package as compared to other school districts that are competing for the same highly qualified employees. We must retain the best to work with our children because they need - and deserve - the best. Asking for pay cuts is certainly one strategy as opposed to cutting positions. I am sure that these conversations will take place in the near future.
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dockalc



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PostSubject: budget   Wed 07 Jan 2009, 9:36 am

What ever happened to the nys lottery money thats supposed to be used for education,? it seems to me that all the money collected from the lottery ,seems to go other places, with all the lotto jackpots as high as they have been there should be more then enough money to fund education
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greer



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PostSubject: Free market employment   Tue 13 Jan 2009, 7:10 am

I understand many of the points that are made by Mr Ely.
I think that schools are a business and need to be run as one. Why do teachers deserve
job security[ tenure] when the tax payer who PAYS them does not? In a free market economy the wages would be negotiated individually and if the teacher does not MERIT to stay they go---just like any job.
With economics as they are pay cuts of executives[administrators] also happen.
Where is the money from lottery to help?
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PostSubject: Re: Talk About the Budget   Tue 13 Jan 2009, 3:42 pm

greer wrote:
I understand many of the points that are made by Mr Ely.
I think that schools are a business and need to be run as one. Why do teachers deserve
job security[ tenure] when the tax payer who PAYS them does not? In a free market economy the wages would be negotiated individually and if the teacher does not MERIT to stay they go---just like any job.
With economics as they are pay cuts of executives[administrators] also happen.
Where is the money from lottery to help?

A: The money from the state lottery is given to the district as a percentage of state aid. Around 10% of our aid or so based on a state formula. The lottery is just another form of state revenue that they apportion to districts in the form of state aid.

Teacher tenure laws is one of those things districts have no control over. Wages are negotiated with the unions for almost all district employees. We currently have eight bargaining units in the district. This is not unlike the manufacturing sector or many public sector work forces. The district is not allowed to negotiate individually with union employees as this would violate state law. District salaries are for the most part set by contract so one of two things would need to happen to reduce the district’s salary line in the budget: either contractual concessions would need to be made or jobs need to be eliminated.
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neverfaraway



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PostSubject: important question for Administrator re: Budget   Wed 28 Jan 2009, 8:11 pm

I have an important question: I just read this online Times Union, and am wondering will this help prevent layoffs from the district?

Federal stimulus to target city schools

By KENNETH C. CROWE II, Staff writer
Click byline for more stories by writer.
Last updated: 2:10 p.m., Wednesday, January 28, 2009
The Capital Region's city school districts will get a big boost from the $825 billion federal economic stimulus package with the Albany, Saratoga Springs, Schenectady and Troy schools receiving 36 percent of the $84 million in new funding to be distributed to local districts.
The school aid increase is part of $1.6 billion in federal money set aside over the next two years to assist upstate New York and offset some property tax increases, said U.S. Sen. Schumer, D-N.Y.

The stimulus package also provides $42.8 million in Medicaid relief to the region's counties that are expected to use it for property tax relief.

"The stimulus isn't a cure-all, but it prevents the meat cleaver," Schumer said about stopping cuts in local services and paring down tax increases.

The federal stimulus package is expected to be approved by Congress and sent to President Barack Obama, Schumer said.


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All Times Union materials copyright 1996-2009, Capital Newspapers Division of The Hearst Corporation, Albany, NY
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Not a howe dad



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PostSubject: Re: Talk About the Budget   Wed 11 Mar 2009, 11:36 pm

Since the budget is the only thing we are able to talk about now:
Can we use the money being saved by Mr. Raucci's dismissmal be used to search for a new superintendent?
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Not a howe dad



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PostSubject: Re: Talk About the Budget   Thu 12 Mar 2009, 6:19 am

How will the $8 million lawsuit by former employee, Ronald Kriss, which should inevitably be won , effect the school budget?
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schdymom



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PostSubject: Re: Talk About the Budget   Thu 12 Mar 2009, 10:44 am

Does the budget allow for high school parents to enable their "Unsafe school Choice" option as outlined in No Child Left Behind?
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Sandra



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PostSubject: Re: Talk About the Budget   Thu 12 Mar 2009, 11:21 am

Does the budget next year allow for resources to be devoted to narrowing the educational outcome differences between different student demographic groups? Will the budget allow the district to ever consider having an at-risk principal to go along with the academic principal?
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PostSubject: Re: Talk About the Budget   Fri 13 Mar 2009, 2:22 pm

Not a howe dad wrote:
How will the $8 million lawsuit by former employee, Ronald Kriss, which should inevitably be won , effect the school budget?

A: The lawsuit does not affect the budget.
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PostSubject: Re: Talk About the Budget   Fri 13 Mar 2009, 2:24 pm

schdymom wrote:
Does the budget allow for high school parents to enable their "Unsafe school Choice" option as outlined in No Child Left Behind?

A: The district complies with all regulations under NCLB.
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PostSubject: Re: Talk About the Budget   Fri 13 Mar 2009, 2:25 pm

Sandra wrote:
Does the budget next year allow for resources to be devoted to narrowing the educational outcome differences between different student demographic groups? Will the budget allow the district to ever consider having an at-risk principal to go along with the academic principal?

A: The budget has not been presented for board consideration yet. However, our curriculum initiatives and staff development programs are designed to meet the needs of all students, both at the highest academic and lowest academic levels. We have not discussed a special principal for at risk students.
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PostSubject: Re: Talk About the Budget   Fri 13 Mar 2009, 2:25 pm

If the lawsuit is successful, will insurance rates for the district go up in the future and could that affect the budget?
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PostSubject: Health insurance for district employees   Fri 13 Mar 2009, 3:00 pm

With next year's budget, are the district employees to expect to pay even more of their health insurance? Are the employees going to get even a small percentage of a raise?
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Not a howe dad



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PostSubject: Re: Talk About the Budget   Thu 02 Apr 2009, 2:15 pm

After reading all the superintendent's elimination and reduction of services, I would like to propose a savings of over $150,000 by eliminating the superintendent position.

Why pay someone who goes against the wishes of the majority of the parents, not AUTOMATICALLY fire an employee caught with an IED and later grant his retirement, instead of immediate dismissal.

I realize there are CSEA rules to follow but you always have the option of termination and let them file a grievance or lawsuit for reinstatement.
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PostSubject: Re: Talk About the Budget   Fri 03 Apr 2009, 1:26 pm

I have a proposal: eliminate jobs that have no purpose $60,000 savings PBIS Specialist. We have teams that people are working very hard on top of their regular jobs.

How about the overtime you have to pay out for all the construction over a CP t Let me quote; question: "When will construction begin at Central Park to house the International K-8 Magnet School?" "It's a two-year plan, phasing out the heating systems with half of the building using the old heating system while the other half uses the new heating system. The boiler room will become the elevator shaft. They'll get a chair lift too.. Construction won't be during school year, but will be in the summer and in the evenings. The K-8 Development Committee will decide how the playground will look. It will be a Playground designed for a K-8"
from the Article SFT Pipline;Liaison March 12, 2009, E. Ely, W. Roberts, M. Stricos
SFT: J. Benequistto, E. Catrambone, K. Hawk, W. Mahoski, D. Maxwell, P. Zentko


I can believe they are getting rid of the programs that actually benefits are children
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Lucas



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PostSubject: Schenectady School Budget   Fri 03 Apr 2009, 9:02 pm

Seriously are you even thinking about the CHILDREN, with these recent Budget Cuts?? You want to eliminate "Modified Sports"? Sure why not give our children nothing to get involved with after school, lets just let them run the streets. Sports is a huge benefit to these children, it gives them self-esteeem, confidence, respect and responsibility... Why would you even consider eliminating that?

30 PARA-PROFESSIONAL POSITIONS- That is insane, with class sizes the way they are in the elementary schools, that is something that to me is a necessity. Have you Mr. Ely gone and spent a day in the Kindegarten class? I mean a FULL DAY.. The teachers have there hands full and to not give them and the children the supprt they need at such a crucial time in their young lives, it just not right at all..

14 elementary positions? Does this mean our class sizes are on the rise again? I mean come on..

The school district needs to look at Pay cuts, administrative positions, maintenance... etc...

Heres an idea, why not get the Para-Professionals CERTIFIED through NYS, so they can also be substitutes? I know alot of other districts that do this. You are utilizing one position for 2 positions..

I agree also with eliminating the 60k a year position, that was made for the School Board Presidents Spouse.. There are plenty of "adequate" parents, teachers, paras, etc.. that will and can do this job.. Why not look into these HIGH paying positions, before taking things away from our children.

I know in Yonkers, NY.. the renters have to pay school tax just like the home owners, has anyone thought about this? There are just as many parents that pay rent if not more then the home owners in Schenectady. Why not look at this option?

I am very dis-heartened to read this budget. It does not seem our children are the "MAIN FOCUS" at all.. I think we as "Parents and a community" need to seek all the help we can get from the elected officials.. Its about time we take a stand and TELL SCHENECTADY SCHOOL DISTRICT NO!!! But if we do not all get out and vote and speak our voices, then guess what nothing is going to change.. Believe me I will continue to Speak out and make sure everyone I know is aware of what is going on.. There are too many parents in this district that dont care, and believe me Ive seen my share. Its parents like that, that let this District get away with this kind of stuff over and over again.

Our School District, should have been on top of Mr.. Raucci and all his wrong doings, but instead of immediate dismissal, he gets put on paid leave, then reitres and the board approves his retirement... Thats great to know that my TAX money is paying a FELONY, a TERRIOST while he sits in JAIL!!!!

How about we all get a petition going for a NEW SUPERINTENDENT, one that will have our children and their safety as his/her PRIMARY FOCUS. Someone who will focus on the WHOLE DISTRICT.. Not just these little fixes, to think you are working on the Middle schools and Magnet schools .. What about the non-magnet schools? Why dont the magnet schools lose their foregin language? What about the High? You have all these students going into one High School.. Seems you are trying to put a band aid on a much bigger problem....

When is anyone gonna start listening to the people that pay the Taxes for all your JOBS?? Hey heres a good question for you.. What are you all going to do when taxes get so exspensive, we all LEAVE SCHENECTADY or put our kids in Private schools. You will not have any jobs left...
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PostSubject: Re: Talk About the Budget   Sat 02 May 2009, 10:03 pm

How about making sure that we elect new members of the BOE that are not beholden to Janiszewski in any way and are independent and innovative thinkers that are willing to ask the tough questions of Mr. Ely and hold him accountable. We need to get rid of the "good ol boy network" that seems to be the status quo in this district. It is hard for the community to believe the leadership of this district truly has our childrens interests at heart when it is so corrupt.
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PostSubject: at least one good school board member   Sun 03 May 2009, 12:25 pm

Hi TeacherMom,

Just wanted to share that out of all of the postings I ever did to the discussion board and all the letters/columns I wrote, Gary Farkas was the only school board member who responded. Not sure of the history of the school board election process in Schenectady but we were impressed with his efforts. I hope there is some change with the other board members and that somehow things get better in the future for the kids.
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PostSubject: Re: Talk About the Budget   Today at 8:38 am

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