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Controversial Budget Vote Bumps Up Turnout

Though the total number of people voting represents only about a fifth of registered voters in the area.

School administrators are pointing to the controversial nature of this year's budget vote as the reason why voter turnout nearly matched the district's highest total in the past decade.

Ever since the school boardthat would have raised the tax levy by 4.48 percent, around the effects of the tax cap legislation on both the students' educational programs and the taxpayers' wallets.

"People just had a perception that we'd be at the cap, and may not have become fully informed as to the consquences of a failed budget," interm superintendent Neil Lederer said Tuesday.

The 7,016 voters who cast ballots on Tuesday represented the highest turnout since 2006 – which was one year after the community voted down the original 2005-2006 proposal, a $139.3 million budget that would have raised the tax levy 9.84 percent. Voters later approved a $135.6 million 2005-2006 budget that increased the tax levy 6.9 percent.

"When I saw a larger voter turnout than last year, I was encouraged. I thought we'd be OK," Lederer said.

According to school district data, this year's 7,016 voters represent approximately 21 percent of registered voters within the school district borders. There are about 33,000 registered voters in the community.

History has shown patterns in the ways the various election districts have voted within the Three Village Central School District. Lederer said he was aware voters in the Setauket Elementary district tend to vote more conservatively. For instance, last year narrowly approved the budget by a margin of 18 votes. , while voters in the Arrowhead Elementary district overwhelmingly voted in favor of the budget by more than 300 votes, voters at Setauket rejected it by a margin of 58 votes.

Voter Turnout and Passed/Failed Budgets, 2002-2012

Year Turnout Pass/Fail Margin 2012 7,016 Failed 56.74% yes / 43.26% no* 2011 6,140 Passed 59% yes / 51% no 2010 5,756 Passed 60.3% yes / 39.7% no 2009 4,242 Passed 60.6% yes / 39.4% no 2008 5,072 Passed 55.1% yes / 44.9% no 2007 5,441 Passed 56.4% yes / 43.6% no 2006 7,104 Passed 53.4% yes / 56.6% no 2005 (revote) 5,914 Passed 66.3% yes / 33.7% no 2005 6,710 Failed 39.1% yes / 60.9%  no 2004 6,387 Passed 53.5% yes / 46.5% no 2003 4,644 Passed 61.8% yes / 38.2% no 2002 (revote) 3,511 Passed 57.7% yes / 52.3% no 2002 5,295 Failed 51.7% yes / 58.3% no

* represents first time vote needed a supermajority (60% or more) to pass.

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A May 18, 2012 at 02:34 PM
You obviously misunderstood the point - it is stating that teachers are not babysitters... and maybe if you had good teachers in your life, your writing wouldn't contain so many errors.
doreen tufano May 18, 2012 at 02:36 PM
Cindy, I wish you would pay better attention. Again, I never used a police officer's career choice or his/her salary in my prior comment. You for some reason jumped at the opportunity to use a cops salary to compare to a teacher's salary. If you re-read the above comment, I specifically said, "when comparing a teacher's salary, to a person in the PRIVATE sector with the SAME amount of schooling teacher's are actually not making too much. Please do not put words in my mouth. Let's just talk facts. I think a cop is a very respectable job & they should get paid more TOO!!!! Now I really am done.
Chuck May 18, 2012 at 02:44 PM
Really hate to say this, but to be fair, and compare apples to apples, the #82 ranking statewide, didn't even put Melville in top 15% of Long Island Schools.
Its Over May 18, 2012 at 02:46 PM
To Cindy good bye and see u after we vote down ur hideous budget in June haha
Cindy May 18, 2012 at 02:49 PM
Doreen, If you are going to respond to a post, don't pick certain portions and avoid the real issues posted. I wish you paid better attention as well. I am also highly educated with a masters as well and work a lot more for the same salary the teachers are being paid for half the amount of hours. I do realize that we all have a voice and yours is clearly being tainted by the BOE and Teacher Associations. I will now return to the 80+ hour weekly job so I can afford my high taxes while I reside in an average home in Setauket.
A May 18, 2012 at 02:55 PM
And where do all of you think you would be without good teachers? Where do you think anyone in the working world would be? Many districts have too many administrators who are too highly paid, that much is obvious. That is where the cuts should start. I know one district that has four superintendents - why? Cut out a few of those positions and save the teachers and the programs for the students.
Its Over May 18, 2012 at 03:13 PM
I agree also do yourself a favor and ask your union leaders to furlough 9 days pay and increase your health contribution by 6% like all other state workers had to do. I really don't want to see all of you layed off digging through my recycling trash with your worthless master degrees
Chuck May 18, 2012 at 03:17 PM
It's time to look ahead. There are two big questions. Will critical programs be sustained? Will good teachers with low seniority be kept on the job? The answers to those questions lie in the hands of the teachers themselves and the BOE. The call before Tuesday was "Vote yes for the kids." The union and Board have an opportunity to demonstrate the sincerity of that call. It would, no doubt, mean some sacrifice but parents and students would be better for it. Given a common sense post from yesterday the teachers would be better off as well. A woman wrote that many of her neighbors voted "Yes" because they had a specific, personal interest in one of the threatened programs....Jr. High Sports, full day kindergarden, ...et al. If they are eliminated the parents would simply vote "No." on June 19th. Hopefully, the teachers will be willing to make the genuine accommodations needed to save both crucial programs, and the jobs of their talented young "brothers and sisters".
Cindy May 18, 2012 at 03:29 PM
Very well said Chuck. Cheers
Becky S May 18, 2012 at 03:47 PM
I don’t think I’m kidding myself, although I admit I don’t know that much about this area (yet – give me time). I agree non-union schools can be very good: my kids went to a non-union school, for which I paid tens of thousands of dollars because the local public schools weren’t good enough. I think two factors are key for good schools: good teachers and involved parents. I’m not sure anyone knows how to guarantee good teachers working for a public bureaucracy, but when in doubt I’d rather err on the side of supporting teachers. And I most certainly do expect those who can afford it (your “rich neighbors”) to pay to educate all children: just reading some of the comments in this exchange illustrates how important it is in a democracy to have a well-educated populace. Your thoughtful, informed vote is worth exactly the same as the person who thinks “Your overpaid mutton heads with worthless master degrees” is a cogent contribution to a discussion. This country has made many expensive bad decisions: I’ll pay more for education in the hope that the education may then be better and I won’t have to pay as much for prisons or blatantly bad regulatory decisions.
I am right May 18, 2012 at 03:51 PM
Money does not always equal quality education. Let the administration do their job and wring out the lard in the budget. I do not have children in school and would like to keep my house when (or if) I retire,the taxes here are making that seem like less likely.
john doe May 18, 2012 at 03:57 PM
If the BOE had some "you know whats" the would just say we are cutting ALL sport programs. And then actually do it if the budget fails. You will see the budget pass everytime. What I cant understand is how that switch to gas propasl got approved. It will cost 750K and yes there is a proposed saving of 450K in the first year, but that means we still have to shell out 300K now. Money we obviously do bnot have if we are cutting Jr High Sports, Student Govt and Full day kindergarten. They should postpone that project in my opinion.
Its Over May 18, 2012 at 03:59 PM
Unions leaders usually are the most senior and they will not do the right thing. They want to pad their salaries for retirement laying off the young good teachers and keeping all the administrative fat, that's how this is going to end up. Probably one of the elementary schools will close.
Mike May 18, 2012 at 04:49 PM
Why don't we start at the top first? Have the staff salaries been reduced? What does a chairperson do that's worth $120,000.00 per year? Is it a 40 hour week all year with two weeks vacation? http://schools.newsday.com/long-island/districts/three-village/
Jesse May 18, 2012 at 04:56 PM
I do not understand why there isn't any talk of lowering saleries!! And I am not referring to the teachers. I am referring to principals, vice prinicipals etc. What about eliminating positions? Do we really need an Assistant principal and a DEAN?? I think not! Do we really need more than one assistant principal in the high school?? NO!! How about spending? Did the junior high teachers really need ipads this year?? They didn't use them to teach my children, so why did they get them? There is a lot of spending that is not needed, and I believe that needs to be focused on and addressed.
Jesse May 18, 2012 at 05:01 PM
I'm sorry but I must disagree. There are way too many teachers in this district that only got the job based on WHO they know not WHAT they know. I know it goes on in all districts, but it is prominent in ours. There are way to many teachers in our district that shouldn't be!!!!
Reality Check May 18, 2012 at 06:19 PM
Regardless of what we decide here the REALITY is that we are facing another economic slowdown...I myself have had to take a 20% pay cut to keep my job and the economic recovery is abnormally poor and is leaning toward another recession. I truly hope this administration got the message that a super majority doesnt cut it and they are not going to aks voters for another budget outside the cap. Enrollment of the early grades is declining due to the lack of people with children moving into our neighborhoods....why, because our TAXES are out of whack. The teachers are excellent, its the UNIONS, UNION CONTRACTS and BLOATED ADMINISTRATION that is to blame!!!. It is also us...there are programs that we all can do without but yet we feel we MUST have them. Sports should be parent supported it is NOT ACADEMIC. We didnt become #82 because we have a good football or lacrosse team. Finally, I stand firm and believe that increases in our tax base should be either borne on a per registered voter so their is equlity in sharing this burden or do as is done in other parts of the world, borne by the parents of those kids. I have a kid in the district, so I am not a retired guy just beefing off...the system broken and needs to be fixed.
john doe May 18, 2012 at 07:18 PM
I think closing a elementary school will help alot. The question then becomes which one? Do you put it to a vote or just let the BOE decide?
Sweet Baboo May 19, 2012 at 08:56 PM
Three village isn't that academically competitive anymore look at the test scores. A record number of our students could not pass the NYS math regents and won't be receiving a NYS regents diploma this June - how is that competitive? When teachers work 180 days a year how can you call that a myth? Salaries and benefits are too high for their performance.
Curious Mom of 2 May 20, 2012 at 09:06 PM
My question is why do we need a Principal and Asst. Principals at the Elementary and Middle school levels, as well as a Dean in addition in the Middle schools. Can you image if we were to eliminate one level in each school, how much money the school would gain? It's always the children who are penalized and never the administration. We are too top heavy at the administration level. Do the right thing and instead of cutting athletics, kindergarten and academics, cut out this unnecessary level. Work for your salary. We all work for ours.
Cut the Waste May 21, 2012 at 12:54 AM
Just read the newest proposed cuts... there are still some big time administrators that should be on that list! Why do we still have a Director of Visual Arts & Career Development? If we can get rid of the music director position, this job should go too! You get more bang for your buck with a chairperson position. Can't the Executive Director of for Curriculum & Instruction, oversee this area? If you look at surrounding elementary schools most of them do not have Asst. Principals. Stop going after the programs that touch our children. Get rid of all the excess first!
Jake Razz May 21, 2012 at 01:33 AM
You work 16+ hour days? Hopefully you work local and not in the city. Or do you work 6 or 7 days a week?
Rick May 26, 2012 at 03:06 AM
Dearest it's over...every one of your responses says that teachers can be replaced at half the salary...yet when someone says the same about your computer programming job you say you are not replaceable, if u think u are the only one that can do your job you need to get your head out of the computer and into the real world and learn how to interact with people without insulting them.
Rick May 26, 2012 at 03:12 AM
Finally someone who gets it thanks Doreeen! Dearest it's over...every one of your responses says that teachers can be replaced at half the salary...yet when someone says the same about your computer programming job you say you are not replaceable, if u think u are the only one that can do your job you need to get your head out of the computer and into the real world and learn how to interact with people without insulting them.
Rick May 26, 2012 at 03:18 AM
Its over you are a loser you can't do anything without insulting someone. You sit your a$&& in front of a computer all day blogging i think you work a half day. Continue to hide behind the computer and try to come up with some new material. Your responses are redundant for some whose supposed to be a brilliant computer programmer who proclaims to be so good at his job that no one can do what he does.
Rick May 26, 2012 at 03:45 AM
Hey there... We get masters because it's nys law to become certified you moron. Of course it's a masters degree that teachers pay for. Yes it increases pay but we don't make up the rules, we do what nys tells us to do. Do you think a masters degree is free? Who do you think pays for that degree and professional development classes. They used to be free through districts but one 3 credit grad course is almost 1000 dollars. I hope to see you at the board meeting Tuesday, this has been entertaining for me.
A May 26, 2012 at 02:43 PM
Right on, Rick! NYS is one of the only states that requires a Master's degree for certification. And they don't come cheap. If some of the people who posted here had better teachers, more education, and cared more about their future, they would care more about their grammatically awful sentences and atrocious spelling.
Its Over May 26, 2012 at 03:32 PM
The teachers masters is the easiest master to get. Any 8th grader could write the term paper needed. I guess A and Rick are our 100000 plus gym teachers
A May 26, 2012 at 03:36 PM
Its Over - your comments make your lack of education clear to all of us. And your lack of common sense.
Rick May 30, 2012 at 01:48 AM
It's over you're wrong not a gym teacher you make ridiculous assumptions. We all know you're a brilliant computer engineer but that doesn't mean a thing if you don't know how to talk to people. Typical of people that sit in front of a computer all day, no people skills at all, only care about numbers, but no sense of reality or how people interact on a daily basis appropriately.

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