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Administrator: Post on 'Suffolk Outrage' Website Has Facts Wrong

Assistant superintendent blasts writers for manipulating facts.

A post published on May 4 on SuffolkOutrage.com titled "Three Village Schools Exposed" is full of falsehoods about the district's proposed budget, a school official said Monday.

Jeff Carlson, assistant superintendent for business services, spelled out multiple errors, most notably the Web page's claim that Three Village's proposed budget would raise the tax levy by "more than twice the average increase for all schools on Long Island."

Three Village's proposed tax levy increase is 4.48 percent, while the average for Long Island is 2.61 percent and in Suffolk 2.84 percent, Carlson said. Because of Three Village's decreased state aid revenue along with other factors, 2.99 percent was the actual limit on the tax levy increase that Three Village could propose and still need only a simple majority of votes to pass. Each individual school district had a different tax cap due to a funding formula, with only a handful of them at exactly 2 percent.

The Web page also claims the percentage of the school budget related to the salaries of teachers and administrators is 80 percent. Carlson explained that the largest part of the budget is for salaries not just for teachers and administrators: it's all district staff, including custodians, security guards, clerks, monitors, and more, and it represents about 75 percent of the school's budget.

The salary list is an outdated one that included payouts to many retiring teachers for their unused sick time or early retirement incentive, and does not necessarily represent their regular salaries, Carlson said.

"They really manipulated a lot of facts and left out important pieces of them. ... There are blatant misstatements in this thing," he said.

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It's only a concern for the district if people take the Web page at face value, he said.

"I’m hoping they see things in there that they know are not true," Carlson said, "and then they can at least pause to think, ‘Before I believe everything I read, I’d rather verify it for myself.’"

Among the Web page's points, there are some that are accurate: residents do pay school taxes regardless of whether they have children in the district. Teachers do work about 180 days per year contractually, although there are many district employees including administrators who work all 12 months. Also true: Teachers generally have raises built into their contracts regardless of their performance.

What many people don't realize, Carlson said, is that the most budget savings are seen when staff members are laid off. In the proposed 2012-2013 school budget, more than 85 full-time equivalent positions will be cut as part of about $6.5 million in reductions the district already made. However, Carlson said, when you cut the staff members that usually means the program or service they provided gets cut, too.

He reiterated the hope that the residents will consider the facts and vote accordingly, regardless of whether people choose to support the budget.

"I don’t think it would do anybody any good to put out misstatements, though. It doesn’t help anybody," he said.

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Old Stony Brook May 15, 2012 at 01:13 PM
Tired of so much school administration!!!! A principal, assistant principal, 3-4 deans, a few superintendents. This is where the money is going how many monitors, janitors, librarians could be kept on if we got rid of their 200,000 dollar salaries. And what do they do all day? Have meetings about meetings or get in teacher's way. The fat lies closest to the bone and they never cut that deep. Also are you kidding me?! Raises?! They have a hiring freeze for years and these people are getting raises?
Truffuls May 15, 2012 at 01:23 PM
I plan on voting NO. I have never had a child in the district and should not have to hemorrhage money to support a public system I don't believe in. There is so much glut an blatant inefficiencies in 3V school system. Blatant mediocrity, sweeping all the problems under the very expensive rug. The first thing you do is to threaten Music & Art because you know how crucial it is for a child to explore these things to open their creative thinking. It is always the same thing: You want more money, therefore, you hold music/art hostage and brainwash parents into believing unless they meet your demands, you will kill the programs. Really? Music and Art are two of the CHEAPEST programs to run. The parents purchase most of the supplies for art class and buy/rent the instruments for music. And, many art supply companies are willing to donate, or to deeply discount, supplies to schools to keep the programs running.
Victoria May 15, 2012 at 01:26 PM
Two words "Pay Freeze" It happens in the private sector all the time, why is it not an option for teachers and administrators?? Work half the year, high salaries, great pension, no cost health care... Wow, what's next? My vote is NO!!
Had Enuf! May 15, 2012 at 01:28 PM
Talk about misleading information...the "REPORTER" newspaper the district sent out states the difference between a yes vote and a no vote on the budget is only $12 per month. What their not telling you is that the budget carries on average a $442 increase! That's not $12 per month. This year, a NO vote means NO. Vote NO today, Vote NO on the re-vote in June, and bring about change in 3V! And Vote for Fusco Winslow..the only candidate the TVTA does not support!
Chuck May 15, 2012 at 01:44 PM
Is it more than 85 full time equivalent positions being cut, or more than 85 teachers being cut? There's a big difference, no? Either way, some selfless teacher unions actually renegotiate genuine give backs to save the jobs/careers of their younger brothers & sisters We can assume the approximately 200 teachers/administrators listed as making over $100,000 is accurate. The flyer posts links provided by Newsday for those skeptics who want to confirm the uncomfortable facts. The Suffolk Outrage gets the most important thing right. For the 1st Time in History NO means NO.
john doe May 15, 2012 at 01:54 PM
My opinion is that teachers and admins are probably the same in each district, what sets apart districts is programs and 3V has alot of them. That is why it is so desirable to live here. If you do not want to pay for certain services move to a district that has less program and less taxes. I will be voting YES.
Tom G May 15, 2012 at 02:21 PM
The School Board should be doing everything it can to hold the budget at the cap recommended. Is there no compassion for the folks who are just making it? Why are Pay Freezes not being considered? Why are we not cutting additional school programs or asking the parents of school children to pay for them? LAST CHANCE - VOTE NO!
Had Enuf! May 15, 2012 at 02:33 PM
of course one solution is more school choice......that will drive performance up, and costs down. Then great teachers would be sought after and rewarded for their efforts, and the dead wood ends up finding a new career, instead of collecting a taxpayer funded pension for life. Oh that's right, it's really about the kids, so most teachers and all unions don't support it. It is up to WE THE PEOPLE to take back our schools and spend our money wisely Great article from the former NYC Schools Chancellor: http://articles.nydailynews.com/2012-03-23/news/31227202_1_school-choice-charter-schools-public-education
Alex Hanson May 15, 2012 at 05:15 PM
Now here's a little letter that should be shared and shared often. Just to help clear things up, this is not about 80% vs 75% vs, vs, vs, it gets right to the heart of the matter. Ernestine Franco Why You Should Vote No On Your School Budget on May 15 Posted on May 13, 2012 at 12:08 pm Email Print 3 Comments Since 2006 I have advocated for people to vote no and defeat their school budgets. During this time I have been accused of attacking teachers and not caring about quality education. Both of these accusations are incorrect. I believe in quality education as one of the most important functions of any community―A well-educated society benefits everyone. I also believe that most teachers do a good job and that most of them are good people. However, if I were advocating for lower heating oil prices and lower gas prices, the teachers would support my stand. Like most of us, they probably objected to the exorbitant bonuses received by Wall Street bankers and oil company executives! They may have expressed outrage at..... http://millerplace-rockypoint.patch.com/blog_posts/why-you-should-vote-no-on-our-school-budget-on-may-15?ncid=newsltuspatc00000001
SuffolkOutrage.com May 15, 2012 at 05:30 PM
Mr. Carlson: Yes, the salaries on suffolkoutrage.com are "dated" (because they are the most recent ones listed by Newsday). But all that means is that current salaries are even higher because they would include two more years of increases. Further, are you proud that your district is "only" increasing property taxes by 4.6% percent, while the average for Long Island is 2.6%? Note that more than 100 other districts on Long Island have kept their increases under the Tax Cap legal limit. And talk about "falsehoods". Do you really expect us to believe that NY State "decreased" aid to Three Village? NY State aid has increased by more than 4% Island wide this year. That means you can increase your overall budget by 3% and the property tax impact would still be below the Cap. Lastly, how can you possible insult taxpayers by suggesting that teachers and administrators aren't getting the lion's share of "salaries". Maybe next time we'll publish the salaries of "custodians, security guards, clerks, monitors, and others" so that voters can see how teachers and administrators have taken advantage of their union leverage to receive raises way beyond those received by these other school district workers and the private sector. Sorry Mr. Carlson. We expect a budget in line with today's economy and in line with what 100 other LI school districts were able to present.
Had Enuf! May 15, 2012 at 05:34 PM
Bravo! Bravo! That letter (follow the link) is spot on !
Don't Tread on Me May 16, 2012 at 12:54 AM
You are so right Suffolk Outrage. The straw that broke my back was three unattended children coming to me with Hershey's chocolate bars asking for my vote. I hope the parents who sent them are proud of prostituting their children for a vote. The taxpayers of Suffolk County have certainly had enough. Three village may have some excellent students but they also have a very strong drug culture. As a realtor, I have been in many homes that have removed their children from 3 village schools because of their constant exposure to drugs. Wake the heck up and stop feeding the endless monster who only spits out how wonderful they are! Will you only wake up when it hits your home directly? My vote is no! We are done. The higher the taxes go, the lower the property values go. We have reached a breaking point. Enough is enough!
Concerned Overtaxed Parent May 16, 2012 at 01:03 AM
Thank you Suffolk Outrage. In this 'liberal press' nation it is wonderful to finally have a news source with the expertise, wisdom and courage to tell it like it really is. You really put Mr. Carlson in his place.
Wolfgang Wulff May 16, 2012 at 08:54 PM
John Doe can't give his real name. He thinks that two or more wrongs make a right. At least he inserts "probably" in his off-hand allegation. The fact is that 3V is $2,000 per pupil and year higher than the average of twelve neighboring school districts; that is 9% higher! John thinks it is desirable to live here only until the time comes to sell his house and he finds out that buyers fade away with tax shock. I find his suggestion to "move to another district" rather selfish and arrogant. When I came here in the seventies, the taxes were high but less than the mortgage. It takes now $290,485 to produce a 3V-high school graduate (without kindergarten). That amount produces 3.9 engineers with four years of university in Europe. John must be from a far-away planet, but he can akways donate to any of the several booster clubs.
candy land May 18, 2012 at 04:18 PM
I have never read so much false information in my life. Taxes are high every where. If you went to budget meetings you would have all this information before the vote. So you would not wait until after to make these unfounded comments. You all blame the administration for high taxes look at what percent of the budget goes to teacher salaries. Pay freezes would be great except you can not do that because of teacher contracts. Stop bashing people and become educated.

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