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 Talk About the Budget

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RLT



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Join date : 2009-02-04

PostSubject: Re: Talk About the Budget   Thu 07 May 2009, 9:54 am

Board of Education members:
Why will Howe School be nearly empty of elementary school age children next year while you spend money renting the former Immaculate Conception and St. Adelbert's? Ship one or both schools over. The school site and facilities are far better.
Board member said they voted to move Howe to CP to make space for an Early Childhood Center. Now rumor is that it will be 5 classrooms. Did you know that?
Using Howe for adult programming of some sort and offices is very bad management.
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Admin
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PostSubject: Re: Talk About the Budget   Thu 07 May 2009, 10:54 am

RLT wrote:
Board of Education members:
Why will Howe School be nearly empty of elementary school age children next year while you spend money renting the former Immaculate Conception and St. Adelbert's? Ship one or both schools over. The school site and facilities are far better.
Board member said they voted to move Howe to CP to make space for an Early Childhood Center. Now rumor is that it will be 5 classrooms. Did you know that?
Using Howe for adult programming of some sort and offices is very bad management.

A:
The district has leased both St. Adalbert’s and Immaculate Conception for five years to accommodate the influx of charter school students due to the closing of the International Charter School. The Howe early childhood center will start small and expand as we are able to expand our pre-kindergarten program. Any continuing education, staff development, test scoring or offices housed at the location are in response to the needs of our district.
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ATAC



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PostSubject: School District Salaries   Thu 07 May 2009, 11:02 am

I was unable to attend the budget meeting last night; I'm a numbers guy, can anyone explain?

From the school district web site: District employee salaries are increasing by a little over $8 million to a combined total of $80,741,540.

As I see it, this represents a raise from approx. $72 million to $80 million, an 11%+ raise.
However, if I include the cost cutting measures that I assume to be salaries too, this means that I can deduct $5.6 million from my starting number to make the increase be from approx. $67 million to the $80 million (in comparable salaries). The raise then to $80 million is now 19.4%.

Am I missing something?
The way I read these numbers, we are losing 60+ people and total salaries are going up either 11% or maybe as much as almost 20%.
If these numbers are truly comparable year-over-year salaries (i.e. there is nothing else hidden in the $80 million number), where is this extra money going?

Don't get me wrong, I believe that the vast majority of teachers are underpaid and deserve much more than they get currently.
I just don't understand how the math is working.
Are there a number of new positions being created that are making up this difference or is there a smaller number of people sharing a larger salary pool?

With employee benefits only going up a little over 3.5%, I would expect salary increases to be somewhere in a similar range.
Not three to six times more!
But perhaps, as I said, I am missing something.
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KMCB



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PostSubject: Re: Talk About the Budget   Thu 07 May 2009, 11:19 am

I was disturbed when reading the proposed budget cuts for this comming school year. I use to think that there were certain benefits to living in a urban district rather then suburban. It was my understanding that urban districts received more funding thus giving our children the opportunity for a wider variety of programs. However during the two years that we have spent in this district I have seen more and more taken away. My son started school in Schenectady in the second grade and I was very aprehensive sending him to a city school. His second grade teacher was phenominal, the class size was smaller then that of the surban school he had attended previously, and his reading ability (the one area that he struggled in) had grown leaps and bounds. Fast forward to third grade. For the first time my son dreaded going to school each morning. He doesn't like his teacher, "she yells a lot", "she is rude", "she is mean". I must now tell my son that there will always be people in life that he does not like or get along with but it is still his job to do the best he can to spite his indifference, this is a lesson I hoped he did not have to learn at the age of 8. His teacher is older, she admitted to me that there is a group of kids in the class that she can not control, with a class size of 29 I guess the logical solution is to get rid of the para, creating complete chaos in which non of our children will learn.

This has been a very hard year indeed. It was only recently decided that my children will be shipped out of their neighborhood to a middle school on the other side of the city, to make way for a great new opportunity for the magnet school children. Now the funding for the children in neighborhood schools to learn a foreign language will be cut, but the magnet school children get to keep theirs? Will they also get to keep their librarian? Furthermore, how will you decide which 7 schools loose their librarian (I am assuming that all elementary schools currently have one)?

While I very well understand that we are in hard times, there has to be alternatives other then taking away from one group and giving to an other. There seems to be a theme in the answers of the administrator to automatically shoot down any suggestion by the tax payers with an authorative NO that could never happen. I hate to tell you that nothing is always or never. Does the school district have to have teachers that are affiliated with CSEA? If there was no union to negoiate these costly contracts, and teachers were paid based on merit would we not have teachers? Would our teacher not work harder to secure the level of pay which they desire? This is what people in the public sector have to do. While I know the answers to these questions are already a definative NO, I would like to know where were you to say "no" when Mr. Janiszewski decided to create a job for his wife (a $60,000.00 expense for the tax payer), for which she had no qualifications or what about saying "no" to the decision of making Mr. Raucci, a suspected terrorist who could spend the rest of his life in prison, to the head of building and grounds. Both of these jobs should have been posted for open competive exams, rather then playing favoritism.

With the school board elections just around the corner, I hope everyone in our community lets their voice be heard!
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Admin
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PostSubject: Re: Talk About the Budget   Thu 07 May 2009, 12:29 pm

ATAC wrote:
I was unable to attend the budget meeting last night; I'm a numbers guy, can anyone explain?

From the school district web site: District employee salaries are increasing by a little over $8 million to a combined total of $80,741,540.

As I see it, this represents a raise from approx. $72 million to $80 million, an 11%+ raise.
However, if I include the cost cutting measures that I assume to be salaries too, this means that I can deduct $5.6 million from my starting number to make the increase be from approx. $67 million to the $80 million (in comparable salaries). The raise then to $80 million is now 19.4%.

Am I missing something?
The way I read these numbers, we are losing 60+ people and total salaries are going up either 11% or maybe as much as almost 20%.
If these numbers are truly comparable year-over-year salaries (i.e. there is nothing else hidden in the $80 million number), where is this extra money going?

Don't get me wrong, I believe that the vast majority of teachers are underpaid and deserve much more than they get currently.
I just don't understand how the math is working.
Are there a number of new positions being created that are making up this difference or is there a smaller number of people sharing a larger salary pool?

With employee benefits only going up a little over 3.5%, I would expect salary increases to be somewhere in a similar range.
Not three to six times more!
But perhaps, as I said, I am missing something.

A: All new Contract for Excellence (C4E) funds were accounted for in 2008-2009 budget in an account that was not labeled salaries because we did not know how we would spend C4E at budget development time. In the 2009-2010 budget, we do know that a lot of the C4E funds will be spent on salaries and are therefore labeled as such.
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Sandra



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PostSubject: Re: Talk About the Budget   Thu 07 May 2009, 9:48 pm


KMCB
I thought you brought up some great points and noticed that the admin skipped right over you with his reply. Why can't the parents and teachers approach the NY State Department of Education and ask for an independent investigation into how the school board president's wifes position and Raucci were handled? How can any parent be confident that the budget really includes the most important positions for the kids instead of political type of positions? How will some of the classrooms even be functional without a para to help?

My question, that I know will not be answered is how much dram has to happen at the high school this year before the school board decides to invest in the at-risk kids in those grades? Many adults could not funciton in a setting with 2700 other adults crammed together all day so how can we expect all teenagers to fit into that setting?
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teachermom



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PostSubject: Re: Talk About the Budget   Fri 15 May 2009, 8:51 pm

If all the parents and taxpayers want some change then I would become very informed when making your choice about who to elect to the BOE. One is an incumbent, and there is another candidate who has Janizewski's seal of approval (and we all see where that has gotten this school district) and if she is elected will just be another pawn in his power game. It should be evident to anyone who attended any of the Howe/CP meetings. If not then ask which new candidate had BOE members helping her get her petition signed to get on the ballot, which I heard from several people who had them at their door.
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Not a howe dad



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PostSubject: Re: Talk About the Budget   Wed 20 May 2009, 8:28 am

Congratulations to the two new members of the School Board.

Perhaps the holdover members will get the message that the people are fed up about the way the things have been run.

The superintendent blaming the media for two months of bad press being the cause that budget was voted down , and not admitting that he is mostly to blame for that bad press is laughable.
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Lakishia Martin



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PostSubject: Elections   Wed 20 May 2009, 11:15 am

Congratulations to our newest board members. Change is possible!!! I hope to join you next year.
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Not a howe dad



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PostSubject: Re: Talk About the Budget   Thu 21 May 2009, 8:29 am

Wow! More bad press today. "Good luck" in passing the next one!

Do you think maybe it's time for some people to step down in order to regain confidence in the system and for the betterment of Schenectady Schools?
97% of the budgets passed. What does that tell you? I'm curious to know when was the last time the budget was defeated?

In the glass half full department-congratulations to Schenectady City School District Teacher of the Year, Dana Demarco.
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Not a howe dad



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PostSubject: Re: Talk About the Budget   Thu 21 May 2009, 11:02 am

Do you think some of the over 400 signatures that signed a petition opposing the Howe move and were ultimately dismissed, could have possibly been enough votes to pass the budget?

You didn't listen to us then but I'm sure you have heard about it now.
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Get Involved



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PostSubject: Re: Talk About the Budget   Thu 21 May 2009, 9:38 pm

I wonder if the community understands what they have done by defeating the budget? I wonder if the community fully understands that a defeated budget does not hurt the school administration, it does not hurt the school board; it does not hurt the almighty teacher union (that supported the main culprits that helped to defeat the budget). A defeated budget means that the voters were not thinking of the students, they were not thinking of the programs, they were just not thinking. They read the news reports, they were feed garbage over and over and over again, they believed every word. I do feel bad that the budget was defeated. I feel bad for all the students and their families that will lose services and program if and when a contingency budget is put into effect. With the upheaval in the community and the threat to vote NO again on any revised budget, the only possibly is a contingency budget. Too bad.
Too bad for all of you who did not take the time to fully understand that most of the money in the budget is teacher salaries and teacher compensation. Why is no one asking about the 6% raise that the teachers are going to receive in the Fall? How many of you are getting such a raise? I am sure not many of us will do in these hard economic times. I do not hear the teacher offering to give up their raises. The teacher union is strong and they dictate their raises. In order to keep good teachers..... I assume it makes sense that they are well paid. However, how come no one in the community is talking about the teacher's salaries?
If the budget was defeated by a group of parents who are upset by the move of Howe School, shame on them. It just goes to show that they do not understand how schools work. Schools cannot operate without funds and voting NO is taking away the funds. Saying no only hurts your own children..... too bad you are so vindictive.
Good luck to you all......
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Not a howe dad



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PostSubject: Re: Talk About the Budget   Thu 21 May 2009, 9:55 pm

To the board,

Don't stay up late worrying about the budget defeat.

And don't spend an extra $19,000 (for a re-vote and mailings) that is almost certain to be shot down again by voters.

If anything, the people are more ticked off now than before. Not about the press , which thankfully has shed light on the corruption going on, but the arrogance and smugness of the main people in charge.

Change has to happen and people with less seniority on the board have to step up without fear of repercussions.

It is sorry that some board members are lumped together with the rest of the bad eggs because we have a great basic core and just need to to get rid of the two top people in power.
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PostSubject: To: Not a Howe Dad   Thu 21 May 2009, 10:20 pm

Dear Mr. Not a Howe Dad,
Please explain why it is so important to have a defeated budget and what is the school district suppose to do without a budget? How are they suppose to fund the programs. I am just asking.
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Not a howe dad



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PostSubject: Re: Talk About the Budget   Thu 21 May 2009, 10:23 pm

Get Involved wrote:
I wonder if the community understands what they have done by defeating the budget? I wonder if the community fully understands that a defeated budget does not hurt the school administration, it does not hurt the school board; it does not hurt the almighty teacher union (that supported the main culprits that helped to defeat the budget). A defeated budget means that the voters were not thinking of the students, they were not thinking of the programs, they were just not thinking. They read the news reports, they were feed garbage over and over and over again, they believed every word. I do feel bad that the budget was defeated. I feel bad for all the students and their families that will lose services and program if and when a contingency budget is put into effect. With the upheaval in the community and the threat to vote NO again on any revised budget, the only possibly is a contingency budget. Too bad.
Too bad for all of you who did not take the time to fully understand that most of the money in the budget is teacher salaries and teacher compensation. Why is no one asking about the 6% raise that the teachers are going to receive in the Fall? How many of you are getting such a raise? I am sure not many of us will do in these hard economic times. I do not hear the teacher offering to give up their raises. The teacher union is strong and they dictate their raises. In order to keep good teachers..... I assume it makes sense that they are well paid. However, how come no one in the community is talking about the teacher's salaries?
If the budget was defeated by a group of parents who are upset by the move of Howe School, shame on them. It just goes to show that they do not understand how schools work. Schools cannot operate without funds and voting NO is taking away the funds. Saying no only hurts your own children..... too bad you are so vindictive.
Good luck to you all......

As someome who has always voted yes to the budget and support teachers 100% , but felt a need, like the majority of voters, to send a message to the administration to express the displeasure with the way things are run and hopeful resignations of the superintendent and Board President , that finally our voices are heard.

As a taxpayer in the city , I really don't care about tax increases as long as we have teachers, police officers , firefighters and sanitation workers . Money or tax increases are not an issue.

The plan all ready made for a number of reductions in teaching positions and no way could I vote for that.

Private message me if you know of any students needing school supplies and I 'll see what I can do.
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Not a howe dad



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PostSubject: Re: Talk About the Budget   Thu 21 May 2009, 10:29 pm

Get Involved wrote:
Dear Mr. Not a Howe Dad,
Please explain why it is so important to have a defeated budget and what is the school district suppose to do without a budget? How are they suppose to fund the programs. I am just asking.

The importance is that people are fed up with the way things are run.

Funding is still there but limited on how it is spent.
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PostSubject: Re: Talk About the Budget   Thu 21 May 2009, 11:10 pm

<<<<<Do you think some of the over 400 signatures that signed a petition opposing the Howe move and were ultimately dismissed, could have possibly been enough votes to pass the budget?

You didn't listen to us then but I'm sure you have heard about it now.>>>>


I am still trying to get to the logic behind the voting. Correct me if I am wrong.....There was over 400 people who signed a petition opposing the closing of Howe School and I assume they also voted against the budget. However, I do not understand why those same people did not vote for the incumbent who supported them. Did they forgot that the incumbent voted to keep Howe the way it was.
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Not a howe dad



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PostSubject: Re: Talk About the Budget   Thu 21 May 2009, 11:45 pm

Get Involved wrote:
<<<<<Do you think some of the over 400 signatures that signed a petition opposing the Howe move and were ultimately dismissed, could have possibly been enough votes to pass the budget?

You didn't listen to us then but I'm sure you have heard about it now.>>>>


I am still trying to get to the logic behind the voting. Correct me if I am wrong.....There was over 400 people who signed a petition opposing the closing of Howe School and I assume they also voted against the budget. However, I do not understand why those same people did not vote for the incumbent who supported them. Did they forgot that the incumbent voted to keep Howe the way it was.

You are correct in the fact that Ms. Bellick ( and Mr. Fargas) were the only members opposed to the Howe move( at least to give it more time)

Did she deserve the get least amount of votes? No.

Would I rather have her than Mr. Janiszewski ? Resounding yes!

It is sorry that she was made a scapegoat and had to take the fall for the rest of the administration.

That all being said, I find it hard to believe that she was "shocked" to find out about Mr. Raucci's allegations and happy that the two new board members are in.

However, things were like that on a federel level with the last election, with all the Republicans taking a hit for all of of Bush's policies.
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PostSubject: Re: Talk About the Budget   Fri 22 May 2009, 12:15 am

<<<<However, things were like that on a federel level with the last election, with all the Republicans taking a hit for all of of Bush's policies.>>

Thanks for your candid responses. I still feel bad that the budget was defeated and that Ms. Bellick is no longer on the board. I am going to assume that the other members will face the same fate in the next election cycle. I do believe several of the board members are there for the right reasons and they do the right things. Overall, it is too bad that our city has to deal with this. As a parent I will continue to be involved and I encourage others to get involved.
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Not a howe dad



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PostSubject: Re: Talk About the Budget   Fri 22 May 2009, 8:42 am

Get Involved wrote:
<<<<However, things were like that on a federel level with the last election, with all the Republicans taking a hit for all of of Bush's policies.>>

Thanks for your candid responses. I still feel bad that the budget was defeated and that Ms. Bellick is no longer on the board. I am going to assume that the other members will face the same fate in the next election cycle. I do believe several of the board members are there for the right reasons and they do the right things. Overall, it is too bad that our city has to deal with this. As a parent I will continue to be involved and I encourage others to get involved.

I also agree that several of the board members are capable. There are at least two at the top that really need to step down before anyone can move forward.
It is sad that the capable ones are lumped in with them.
It's the same thing with the SPD.
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Mom2myKids



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PostSubject: Re: Talk About the Budget   Fri 22 May 2009, 9:43 am

I agree teachers getting a 6% raise doesn't seem fair in this economy. I don't know anyone NOT in a union receiving that kind of raise or the benefits that union members receive. My kids' teachers have all been great do they deserve a fair wage and raises, YES, but so do hard workers of all types. But other workers are receiving lay offs, mandatory hour cuts, mandatory pay cuts. Nobody is getting raises because of the economy. I think the teachers and the admin should give up their raises for this coming year and keep some of the teacher aides, a few librarians. I realize that it wouldn't save a lot of jobs, but even a few would be better than nothing. I don't know how to feel about the budget, I understand more programs could be lost. On the other hand I understand the message that was trying to be sent. I just don't think the Admin hears any message of any sort. I call about concerns talk to the Super and all the assistants, but does anything change NO. I don't know what it will take for them to listen, it's unfortunate. I do wish the new board members the best of luck I support you both. Having some new blood in there might just be the shake up we need, it might even inspire me to come to a board meeting.
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PostSubject: Re: Talk About the Budget   Fri 22 May 2009, 11:15 am

<<<<Lakishia Martin"][b][color=violet]Congratulations to our newest board members. Change is possible!!! I hope to join you next year>>>>


In you bid to be on the board next year, you will have to replace someone. Do you know who you will have to remove from the board? Which board members are up next year? Are they the ones that you want gone? I guess since they are all presumed to be 'inappropriate', it does not matter, right?
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PostSubject: Re: Talk About the Budget   Mon 25 May 2009, 1:31 pm

Mom2myKids wrote:
I agree teachers getting a 6% raise doesn't seem fair in this economy. I don't know anyone NOT in a union receiving that kind of raise or the benefits that union members receive. My kids' teachers have all been great do they deserve a fair wage and raises, YES, but so do hard workers of all types. But other workers are receiving lay offs, mandatory hour cuts, mandatory pay cuts. Nobody is getting raises because of the economy. I think the teachers and the admin should give up their raises for this coming year and keep some of the teacher aides, a few librarians. I realize that it wouldn't save a lot of jobs, but even a few would be better than nothing. I don't know how to feel about the budget, I understand more programs could be lost. On the other hand I understand the message that was trying to be sent. I just don't think the Admin hears any message of any sort. I call about concerns talk to the Super and all the assistants, but does anything change NO. I don't know what it will take for them to listen, it's unfortunate. I do wish the new board members the best of luck I support you both. Having some new blood in there might just be the shake up we need, it might even inspire me to come to a board meeting.


You are correct in saying that if teachers and administrators gave up their salaries jobs could be saved. That is correct. However, I disagree in with you saying that it would not save a lot of jobs....yes, it would save a lot of jobs. The budget in both Troy and Schenectady was defeated and in both district the teacher's and administrator's union and other unions were asked to forgo their raises and in all cases they said no. If they gave up raises for one year, most (if not all) cuts could have avoided. So, I partially blame the unions for the difficult choices that the districts had to make regarding cutting programs and laying off staff.
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PostSubject: Re: Talk About the Budget   Tue 26 May 2009, 9:53 pm

If a contingency buget is implented are the eliminations of jobs proposed here still in effect?

Savings
Reduction
$1,020,000 17 Elementary and secondary teaching positions
$ 700,000 5 Administrator and 2 director positions
$ 560,000 7 Elementary library positions
$ 450,000 30 Paraprofessional positions (teachers' aides,
hall monitors etc.)
$ 150,000 5 Positions: 1 Attendance dean, 1 technology,
1 school climate and 1 operations &
maintenance position
$ 140,000 District Consultants
$ 130,000 4 Secretarial positions
$ 120,000 Restructuring the business office
$ 100,000 Foreign language program (non-magnet)
$5,610,000 Total

Also, is it true that there is a surplus of $6 million taken from a gazette article dated April 3,2009

Also, Ely did not include any use of the district’s $6 million fund balance, or surplus, in his draft budget.

The board directed Ely to come back with options that involve tapping into that.

Janiszewski said that the district has to be cautious about depleting its reserves this year in case next year is worse.
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PostSubject: Re: Talk About the Budget   Tue 26 May 2009, 10:01 pm

Does anyone know the last time a Schenectady School Budget wasn't approved?
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