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Modified Budget Would Preserve Programs, Cut More Staff and Administrators

If new $176.7 million budget is approved, full-day kindergarten, junior high school athletics, and the nine-period day at the high school will remain intact.

According to by the Three Village school administration, the decision to cut additional teachers, administrators, and other staff members has paved the way for a number of major programs to be retained.

Of more than $1.9 million in reductions made from , at least $1,281,000 is coming through the elimination of several teaching positions as well as three elementary school assistant principals. Including more than 85 positions already eliminated via previous budget cuts, the new adopted budget would bring the total number of full-time equivalent staff reductions to 109.

"These are very difficult decisions. You never really want to make these kinds of cuts," interim superintendent Neil Lederer said. "It does not benefit our children, but hopefully the reductions we’ve made to this point for the most part will maintain our programs."

The board adopted a budget of $176,701,579 to put up for a re-vote on June 19.

The administration's original recommendations called for the elimination of two elementary assistant principal positions, but board president John Diviney moved to up that number to three.

"I do think it is something we should do. I think we have to get used to this with this tax cut environment," he said. His suggestion was met with applause from a crowd of about 200.

Trustees Jonathan Kornreich and Susanne Mendelson voiced their support for Diviney's suggestion. However, Mendelson noted, "It isn’t an exciting time to be applauding for reduction in our administrative staff. They do in fact affect the running and the efficiency of our district."

Lederer said the district would likely assign one assistant elementary school principal to Arrowhead Elementary, which has the highest population of special needs students, while the other four elementary schools would share two assistant principals.

With that additional amount to work with, the school board then began the process of adding items back into the budget.

The full junior high school athletic program was one of them. The administration originally recommended a modified athletic program that would have saved $102,000. It would have called for teams at both schools to share the same schedule by registering only one team per sport with Section XI. The plan, according to Lederer, would have saved the district money in coaching positions, league fees, officials' fees, and transportation.

"I know that all my colleagues on the board feel the same way I do," Kornreich said of the junior high athletics reductions. "We would like to see those parts of the program restored."

While the was also on the initial list of eliminations, trustee Irene Gische recommended that be restored, too – a move that was met with another round of applause.

While the administration initially recommended $100,000 in cuts to K through 12 extracurricular activities, the school board was able to lower that amount to $43,000.

"It brings back things for the kids and that’s what we’re all about," trustee Dr. Jeff Kerman said.

Other cuts included in the revised budget:

  • The elimination of one dean at the secondary level;
  • The partial elimination of a social worker position;
  • Reducing elementary health education for a savings of $140,000;
  • Reducing summer work for guidance counselors for a savings of $75,000;
  • Reducing funding for the theater arts program by $84,000;
  • Increasing elementary class sizes nominally, saving $140,000;
  • Making $100,000 worth of non-staff reductions in technology and special education funding.

Following the meeting, some in the crowd expressed a sense of cautious relief.

"I'm very thankful that full-day kindergarten is restored. However, I think the elementary assistant principal losses are going to be felt throughout the community," said Claudine Pepe, a parent in the district. "People don't realize the level of service they provide."

Britt Halvorsen, who along with another parent created petitions that garnered more than 800 signatures in support of saving the junior high school athletics program, said she was satisfied that the program would be preserved as is. "I'm happier with [the budget], but I definitely think there still could be cuts in the administration," she said.

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MeMyselfandI June 04, 2012 at 01:02 AM
I believe it is state mandated and the teachers contract has nothing to do with it, at least that is how it is proposed in my district.
Another Educator June 04, 2012 at 01:47 AM
MeMyself and I - Thanks for the info. I did check further and as far as I can determine the APPR is indeed mandated and requires that teachers be evaluated annually but the procedures for evaluating teachers are a mandatory subject of collective bargaining which can't be implemented until a new contract is negotiated.. I totally agree more with your comments regarding the issues in 3V. There are wonderful teachers who do an outstanding job but the union creates problems for its members and the community. I often suggest to critics that they distinguish between the teachers and the teachers' union. But how do you answer when asked why the teachers vote these people into office.
Nicco1973 June 04, 2012 at 02:19 AM
@justme-For the sake of arguing with me, you missed the point. If I wanted out I could have left 11 years ago, but I care for those kids. I love what I do and how I affect their lives and how they enrich mine. It's the children that get the bad end of the deal. I don't make the rules. I'd take a freeze for my students and my co- workers without question during these hard fiscal times. What you want from us is salary caps, control of our hours, regulation of what and how we teach, the list goes on. And it wouldn't matter if times were good or bad, some people still want more. This is why unions are necessary. I've said it before and I'll say it again, my father had an old adage, "if you're willing to pay peanuts you'll end up with monkeys".
Nicco1973 June 04, 2012 at 02:29 AM
The APPR can only be implemented if the contract has been opened. My school district does not have the new APPR yet. The Govenor stated that if schools did not administer the new APPR by 2013 they would not receive their state aid. The problem with the new evaluation system is that it's still very subjective. My sister-in-law who works in Hicksville SD has had the APPR since last year but they were only applying it to certain subjects like Math and Special Ed.
Nicco1973 June 04, 2012 at 02:31 AM
@MeMyselfandI- You said it perfectly.
Nicco1973 June 04, 2012 at 02:44 AM
@Another Educator- it's like voting for a presidential candidate. They tell you all the things you want to hear and then you hope they follow through. Better yet, if only one person runs for President, without any challengers, that person gets the position. So much for choices.
Joan Pickens June 07, 2012 at 10:19 PM
I do believe the day ends at 3 with the children and sometimes earlier. Living outside a school I am a witness to the teachers zooming out of the parking lot before the school buses have left. Let's face it, 180-185 days of work a year and summers and school vacations and days off and oh yes snow day, what company allows workers to stay home because of alot of snow. I work for a hospital, can't stay home when it snows. Please the kids are out of the classroom in elementary school for health, gym, art, etc giving teachers enough time to do the work they need to do. Again, ZOOMING out at 3 and in the morning ZOOMING down the road to get to the school because they are late. Please, 150,000 for 180-185 days a year is too much money that would make a full year of working a 300,000 a year job. No way, not in the this district and not anymore. Many of the teachers are medicore at best. VOTE NO LET THEM STRIKE. MAYBE THEY CAN GET A JOB IN EAST NEW YORK AND SEE WHAT IT REALLY MEANS TO HAVE A HARD DAY!!!
meh June 09, 2012 at 02:20 AM
@everyone blaming the teachers for the decrease in "quality" Most WM grads can't write a college level paper is because they don't care enough to pay attention in class. The reason the "quality of education" has decreased is there is no way to engage a class of students who don't want to learn. How can you expect see progress when more than half of the class is texting, listening to music, or asleep? Don't blame the teachers, they show up everyday ready to teach, no one wants to learn anymore. It's sad to see that the programs that meant to most to me while at WM are the ones that get cut first.
WM mom June 09, 2012 at 03:59 PM
meh, It is a gross oversimplification to state that students' performance levels have fallen because they do not want to learn. While there are absolutely students who are distracted and unmotivated, there are also students who seek out extra help and are denied because some teachers do not believe it is part of their job description. WM has some professional teachers; it also has teachers who are unmotivated clock punchers. Many teachers show movies, and have students read aloud to avoid teaching. Such practices invite student boredom. A good teacher knows how to counter student apathy. Some teachers refuse to give students back their graded tests because they fear the test will be leaked to younger students and the teachers are too lazy to create a new test. The same test is given year after year. Students are not permitted to take the test home to learn from their mistakes and review for finals. This leads to student frustration. I find it amusing that you are complaining about students' inability to write ,yet, your post is laden with grammatical errors. Are you a 3V teacher or just a 3V grad?
meh June 10, 2012 at 09:40 AM
a 3v grad, one who was very frustrated that some teachers had given up, as you said. I had a couple of the professional teachers, but they were few and far between. I did not mean to imply that all WM student were lazy, just most that I had classes with. Reading aloud in a theatre class is how you learn, but in other classes it is sometimes redundant. However, when more than half a class hasn't read the assignment, it's pointless to discuss it. Yes, it is a waste of the student's time who have actually read but what other choice is there? Talking about the symbolism in The Scarlet Letter doesn't make sense if no one knows what the "A" represents. I know that some teachers believe that teaching is a job like any other, you'll find that in any district, and the students are the ones who lose out. Many of us stayed after school and started study groups when nothing else was available, it wasn't the best situation but we made it work. It seemed as if there were an elite group at WM, if you were part of the chosen few, the school would move mountains to make sure you had whatever you needed. If you were just trying to understand the material or get extra prep for a test it was an entirely different story. The test policy is regrettable but, again, not exclusively an 3v issue or an problem with every teacher. On the issue on my grammar, this is a comment section on a blog. I'm not an English professor, just someone who wanted to voice an opinion.
Pat June 10, 2012 at 07:11 PM
no dental and "new eye glasses every year" coverage (which is very high)in their insurance program. The rest of us fellow taxed based New York State employees don't have that in our NYSHIP plan.We have only health insurance,Lets save some money there,with their salaries I'm sure all can pay for the dentist and eye glasses like the rest of us do.
Harry June 10, 2012 at 07:56 PM
Dear wm mom everyone knows this is a blog. I think it's unbelievable that people resort to commenting about improper grammar on this blog. It always seems to be anti teacher and people who have nothing positive to contribute. If you want to be technical, your use of a semi-colon in your third sentence is incorrect. A simple "and" would have worked better. It is absolutely true most students don't come ready or motivated to learn and that comes from home. Students should be forced to leave cell phones in lockers so they don't bring them to class.
justme June 10, 2012 at 09:57 PM
So now this is a blog were teachers "complain" about students? I though this was about the school budget? Like it our not, taxpayers pay teachers' salaries and are entitled to have an opinion as to whether they believe the teachers are doing a good job. Cell phones are not supposed to be used during school hours. I wonder why this isn't consistently enforced in our schools. If it were, there wouldn't be a problem with with students using them in class, right?
Jimm June 11, 2012 at 03:20 AM
I don't think teachers on this blog are complaining, they appear to be making observations about  kids and how they've changed because families have changed. You can see it everywhere you go, kids act differently in school and in public than just a few years ago. People judging others and they don't  even know them...that's terrible. Many children just do not approach school seriously and are more difficult to motivate than ever, you don't have to be a teacher to observe this, you just have to know someone with children. Though i do not teach I think that everyone can agree that many parents appear to complain to rather than support their child's educator.  listen to conversations on the soccer field and all you hear is gossip about how this teacher did this an this teacher didn't do that. Nothing but complaints. For every one thing that you choose to tell someone about what a teacher did wrong, think about all of the things they have done for your child.  Teachers have not changed but their roles have increased to mentor, therapist, disciplinarian, and parent figure in many cases yet all of this animosity towards them. All of a sudden people think that they can tell everyone how to do their job and rather than support, it becomes someone elses fault. It's very obvious that anyone who speaks respectfully on this blog has raised respectful children. Those are not the same people on this blog who have resorted to correcting grammar and insulting people they do not know.
Nicco1973 June 11, 2012 at 06:17 PM
@justme-Are you kidding me?! It's the teachers fault that the student's have cell phones? First of all, do you know how many parent's would be quite upset if they couldn't contact their children. Second, we do take the phones away if taken out during class and hand them back at the end of the day. If it's a repeat offender, we'll hand the phone off to an administrator where the parent's can pick up the phone later in the day. Kids act as if these phones, iPods, etc...are their appendages and if taken some have even lashed out. It is a very different time with all this new technology. It has changed the face of school as we once knew it.
Nicco1973 June 11, 2012 at 06:31 PM
I can't believe a teacher would not give extra help to their students. Are you sure you have all your facts straight because in my school district it is mandatory. Teachers are required to allot a specific time when students may seek extra help. Students have to come on these specific days during the week because educators also have other duties, clubs, meetings, etc...to attend. Do you know how many students did NOT show up for regents review this June. We made announcements (loud speaker) on a daily basis as to where and when review would be taking place. Many don't show nor even care. This motivation starts at home. If parents don't place importance on how important education is, then most don't feel a purpose. Just because your child comes home and tells you one story, don't accept that as the right information. Call up the teacher and ask them yourselves and you'll be surprised what the answer might be.
justme June 11, 2012 at 08:00 PM
@Nicco why don't you stop the rant, and re-read what I said and maybe you'll understand it. I never said that "It's the teachers fault that the students have cell phones" or that students shouldn't have them. You're just making things up...
WM mom June 11, 2012 at 09:14 PM
Harry, I disagree that "most students don't come ready to learn". I find it ironic that you complain about people having nothing "positive" to say and then you complain about most students and their families. Have you met most students? What is your evidence to support this broad statement? So it is acceptable for you to complain about" most students", their families and their upbringing but not acceptable for others to voice concerns over teachers they have actually dealt with? As for the grammar issue , you state it is petty to correct grammar and then you attempt to improve my sentence structure. A bit ironic? That actually gave me a good laugh, thanks. Meh, my apologies for the grammar comment. I do agree with you that the elite group at WM is catered to ,while average students looking to improve are often ignored.
justme June 11, 2012 at 09:39 PM
Really you're not complaining? Sure sounded like it to me.
Nicco1973 June 12, 2012 at 12:42 AM
No, I think you better do a once-over..."I wonder why this isn't consistently enforced in our schools." Stop being passive aggressive and own up.
Nicco1973 June 12, 2012 at 12:45 AM
Very true Harry.
Nicco1973 June 12, 2012 at 12:56 AM
He may be making a generalization but so are you. If you have never taught in a public school and stepped into the shoes of an educator, then you shouldn't make such harsh judgements.
Harry June 12, 2012 at 01:45 AM
I was basically trying to demonstrate how wrong it is for people to put all teachers in one category the same way I said that most students don't come to school ready to learn. Not sure which comment on this part of the blog shows where teachers are complaining about students...maybe the one about their behavior but that seemed to be more about parenting. Once again, a generalization it seems and the same way that teachers have been unfairly generalized. I wish people would stop going back and forth, let's agree to disagree but do so respectfully.
WM mom June 12, 2012 at 01:54 PM
Harry, When I say many teachers show movies and have students read aloud for weeks, I speak from personal experience. My own children experienced this. One of my children watched 8 movies in one class in one year. These are facts about specific teachers, not generalizations. You stated :" It is absolutely true most students don't come ready or motivated to learn and that comes from home." Are you standing by this statement? Please explain how you "know" this? Is it from personal experience? If you review my prior post I also acknowledged that there are some professional teachers in 3V and that some students are not motivated. This blog concerns the budget and you seem to be missing the point. The point is that given the current economic climate ,teachers should not be getting raises plus step increases. It is time for bigger contributions to their health care and pensions. Considering the length of the school year and school day , teachers are already doing better financially than people with similar or higher education levels.
Tim June 13, 2012 at 02:00 AM
If the blog concerns the budget why make comments about people's use of grammar were not writing term papers here.
3VillParent June 16, 2012 at 10:01 PM
The majority of the teachers that my child has had at WM do not care at all about the students. Many of them refused to come early or stay late to give extra help. My child took 9 classes and did not have a study hall or lunch for 3 years and yet some of the teachers would not accomodate with extra help out before or after school. They were available during the actual schook day and felt that this was enough. Others mocked my child's participation in the music and theatre program because she felt that her subject was more important. Yes, my child has also had some very good, caring teachers. However, there were more uncaring and self-serving teachers than good one. What a disappointment. I would not move to this district again, nor would I recommend it to anyone. It is clearly over rated. The taxes are indeed outrageous and I have been thoroughly disappointed in the secondary education that my child has received.
Nicco1973 June 17, 2012 at 05:01 PM
If this was such an issue, then why would you not complain to the teachers themselves or the principal. I could not imagine for one second, if my child were not receiving the proper services needed, me standing there idling. Parents are the mouthpiece's for their children. Hold them accountable and you'll see how quick things change. I'm a teacher and there are lazy people in every profession but to say most teacher's are not doing their job is highly unlikely.
Katherine June 19, 2012 at 02:30 AM
Tim, it is we're not were. Lighten up . You are all out of control. Continue to believe what you want to. Vote how your heart tell you to vote. Just be sure to vote!!!! Life will go on, we just want it to be the best one for our kids and grandkids. See you at the polls.
Katherine June 19, 2012 at 02:33 AM
We all think the grass is greener elsewhere. My 3 children went through the district k-12. They all had for the most part a great experience. A few bumps in the road, but nothing and no one is perfect.
Katherine June 19, 2012 at 02:36 AM
Nicco, I agree!! Teachers are an easy target. How about the dentists charging $500 or more a tooth for some procedures. No posts about them or mechanics or gas prices or Insignia charging a car payment for dinner.

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