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School Board to Revisit the Budget on Tuesday

Meeting will be held at Murphy Junior High School.

A discussion of the failed budget is on the agenda for Tuesday night's Board of Education meeting, which will be held at at 8 p.m. A public participation period is set for both the beginning and end of the meeting.

Following last Tuesday's vote in which the Three Village Central School District of community support for its proposed $178.6 million budget, school officials have said $1.9 million will have to be cut from the budget to bring it down to the level of the tax cap.

RELATED: View the originally proposed budget in PDF format attached to this article.

Three Village's cap is 2.99 percent, rather than 2 percent, because of a state formula that takes into account school districts' loss in state aid and other factors too.

"I think the idea is to present a budget that’s within the cap for a second vote," school board president John Diviney said in a recent interview. "We need to cut a couple of million dollars to get under this cap, and we’ll do that. The focus of Tuesday will be where those cuts are going to come from."

The administration has prepared multiple options for budget cuts along with the cost savings which would be realized by implementing them.

Among those options are big ticket items like half-day kindergarten, which would save the district about $650,000; elimination of junior high athletics, which would save about $350,000, and switching to an eight-period day at the high school, for which the savings would depend on the number of staff cuts.

For those residents concerned that the district is "crying wolf" by discussing those possible reductions year after year and then not having to make them, one school administrator said doing the opposite would be doing the community a disservice.

"We never want to do the other way around," said Jeff Carlson, assistant superintendent for business services. "We don’t want to say 'Oh by the way, we’re going cut something without having discussed it previously.'"

The last time Three Village failed a budget vote was in May of 2005, the same year former superintendent John Sonedecker was sentenced following charges of grand larceny after it was discovered he used a district credit card for numerous personal expenses. Diviney described the 2005-2006 budget season as "a whole other world," citing dramatic increases in enrollment that had put a lot of pressure on the district's finances. Voters initally rejected the $139.3 million budget, which would have raised the tax levy 9.84 percent, and later approved a $135.6 million 2005-2006 budget that raised the tax levy by 6.9 percent.

The board may schedule an additional meeting for May 29 for more discussion, Diviney said.

The second budget vote would take place on June 19.

Jen T. May 22, 2012 at 11:08 PM
It saddens me that so many people, who have no idea what goes into teaching, are so angry at those who have dedicated themselves to the education of your children. Vote no, but be prepared. Not only will your kids suffer, but your property values, and most importantly, the character and substance of our comminity.
WM mom May 23, 2012 at 12:35 AM
Great point 3vgirl, teaching was once a profession. Now it is a way for many of the lowest achieving students to receive high pay , great benefits, with few hours and no over sight. You can"t have a union mentality and call yourself a professional. For the prices we are paying we should be getting better qualified teachers who are actually passionate about teaching, not students from with low SAT's and GPA's who are not qualified to do anything else.
Bob May 23, 2012 at 01:53 AM
Please point me in the direction of the people in the corporate world who have volunteered to give up part of their salary in order to save jobs. If there are so many people in corporate America doing this, why do we have so many people losing their jobs? The fact is, this isn't happening in corporate America, but people expect the teachers to do it. I don't get it.
Bob May 23, 2012 at 01:59 AM
Where do you possibly get your "information" from? Some of you people are crazy and have nothing better to do but bash the unions and the teachers.
James May 23, 2012 at 04:22 AM
You people are awful telling us that teachers have low GPAs give me a break. If were nys certified and must have a masters to teach you can't get mad at us for making a masters salary. Trust me I love my job and the kids are the highlight of my day. When someone says they spend 6 hours with the children they become your family. Whoever says teachers don't work that many hours have no idea what they are taking about. No matter what we do, it's always our fault...I was at the board meeting tonight...were you. I support what's best for kids. We made concessions the past two years and modified contracts. Name one district on long island where teachers unions gave back 2 years in a row, it won't happen. No one wants to hear what we do only what we don't do. You will not survive in this field if you don't enjoy what you do. How many lives have you changed? I apologize if this comes off arrogant but you can't attack people for doing what they love. You can't be bitter towards people who pursued their passion. We pay our own salaries! So if there's anyone affected by high taxes it's us because what we make goes back into taxes and it's worth every penny my kids come home happy every day...priceless. Blame Albany, write a letter, call a legislator, you are a hypocrit if you haven't gone to a board meeting or tried to do something besides blame the teachers and blog on this site. Dont compare federal salaries to teachers salaries...do athletes deserve 10 mill a year?
James May 23, 2012 at 05:05 AM
Wm mom you are crazy now we are uneducated and lack passion? Low gpas and sat's?? Couldnt be more wrong im a wmhs graduate and scored a 1320 on my SAT with no prep class thanks to my great teachers...all of them. I'm giving back and making a difference. We are supposed to make a difference together for our children not blame each other. I dont see teachers blogging and complaining about parents, this is a team effort. Make up whatever reasons you want to make yourself feel better but bashing the qualifications of someone you dont know says a lot. Tv teachers live in community too and struggle like most...just trying to support our own family and get them the best education too. We don't all live as comfortably as many want to believe. Let's stop stressing and blaming and become part of the solution not the problem, something I frequently explain to my students in school....another life lesson not in the curriculum.
Its Over May 23, 2012 at 09:04 AM
No givebacks by this union. Huge salaries and benefits. Vote No. No more double raises for them! They can be replaced with ease. Let the layoffs start. Don't let them threaten basic services like kindergarten and sports any longer.
NewParentInTVSD May 23, 2012 at 02:47 PM
James, can you elaborate on why the comparison to federal salaries would be invalid? Are county jobs expected to pay more than federal jobs? I honestly don't know the answer to that one. Or are you trying to say that the teachers' salary situation should somehow be compared to those of professional athletes? Re: pay for athletes ... admittedly I often shake my head in disbelief when I hear about the latest multi-million dollar salary deal. Same thing often happens when I hear about how much certain actors are paid to star in films. But there are two important distinctions here: 1) My taxes don't pay for their salaries (not directly anyway. I suppose there is the occasional county-makes-deal-with-sports-team-to-build-them-a-stadium situation, but you get my point). 2) If said athlete/actor does not perform, they do not put butts in the seats of stadiums/theaters, their pay will generally decrease as a result. Do teachers' salaries decrease if they do not perform? I've been hearing 'no', but cannot confirm. Basically, the perception is that unlike much of the "real world", [tenured] teachers & administrators in the school district do not abide by the rules of a meritocracy. I WANT the good teachers to be rewarded, but I also want the bad ones to be weeded out. We don't have that now, and in that regard it's very much like the federal employment system - once in the system, low performers can continue to exist (and thrive)! And that's what I'm against.
Jen T. May 23, 2012 at 08:30 PM
I don't understand what you mean by huge salaries. A professional, with at least two college degrees and twenty years experience doesn't deserve to make $80,000 a year BEFORE TAXES. Yes, teachers pay taxes too. As I recall, when selecting a major in college and pursuing a career, I could have done anything I wanted. I graduated with a 3.8 GPA, and I chose to go into teaching because I feel it is important to have passionate, competent people working with our kids. I knew I would never be rich, drive a Mercedes or travel around the world extensively, but I made a choice to live a certain lifestyle. One in which I could do something I love, feel good about it, and make a decent living. You think you have the dregs of colleges in your classrooms. That's insulting. I wasn't stamped at birth:Teacher, likes it's part of an elite club, I made a choice. You could have too, but chose a different direction. I don't know what you do, but I would never insult and question your integrity, or worse, tell you you don't deserve a decent salary for hard work.
Jen T. May 23, 2012 at 08:37 PM
You want me to follow the model of corporate America? They are the ones who fleeced and bankrupted this country, making it necessary for your children to suffer the consequences. If you think all teachers do is lecture, you haven't been in a classroom in a long time. You want a teacher to have 60 kids in a class? You'll have to build a new school because the rooms won't hold them. Your anger is misdirected and you are voting against your own best interest because of misinformation. You're right about one thing, if you continue to squeeze us, make us do more for less and expect us to do quality work, on top of insulting us and blaming us for all the ills of society, many teachers will leave the profession. Who would want to get into this profession now when we are constantly under attack. I am lucky to have many grateful and supportive students and parents. They keep me going.
Jen T. May 23, 2012 at 08:41 PM
The salaries reported on that website are not correct. They don't reflect the contract concessions teachers agreed to the last two years.
Its Over May 23, 2012 at 08:48 PM
In the first place they make 80k after 10 years. After 20 it's six figures. And No they don't deserve this pay. Teachers have always gotten benefits in place of pay . If they want to get rich get another job
Mom May 23, 2012 at 09:04 PM
On Long Island, 100K (after 20 years of work) is far from rich! I'm not saying that the teachers shouldn't forgo on double raises or contribute to their 401K and medical plan, but teachers are what made us all who we are. They deserve everything we have.
NewParentInTVSD May 23, 2012 at 10:33 PM
@Concerned Citizen: agreed that $80k/year is not by any means an excessive salary around these parts. But someone else had mentioned the gym teacher made $140k? I don't care how many years experience we're talking about here, THAT to me seems awfully excessive ... And speaking for me personally I certainly don't begrudge anybody for their career choices, but I also hope that the teachers in the district would not begrudge those taxpayers who want the district to be managed better and get more for their dollar. It's been a long time since I last stepped foot in WMHS, but if even half of what I'm reading here in these other comments are true, then much has changed and there needs to be some serious accountability, and that's where the administrators come in ...
Proud3vteacher May 23, 2012 at 10:39 PM
I am a proud Three Village teacher. I graduated in the top 0.1% of my high school class, was accepted into multiple ivy league schools, went to one of the top public universities in the country, and graduated with a 3.9 GPA. I chose to be a teacher because I am passionate about educating children. I am at work by 6am every morning and on average spend 9 hours in the building plus do most of my grading and lesson planning at home. I offer extra help before school, after school, and during my prep and lunch period every day. I truly love my job, but it so demoralizing to read these posts and feel completely unappreciated. Teacher bashing is not the answer to our financial woes. I will be one of the 100 plus employees laid off due to the budget.
Its Over May 23, 2012 at 11:21 PM
Don't worry mom, they will take everything you have if we let them. We won't let them
NewParentInTVSD May 24, 2012 at 12:19 AM
@Proud3vteacher, from what you say it certainly doesn't sound like you deserve to be laid off. What criteria does your management use to decide who stays and who goes? Is it based solely on seniority, or are there other factors? Some of the "teacher bashing" going on here does seem a bit much, but your situation seems to point to a flawed system wherein merit is secondary to .... some other factor - and that's what many of us speaking out here wish to fix.
setauket315 May 24, 2012 at 01:10 AM
how
setauket315 May 24, 2012 at 01:18 AM
When you start to see the budget fail in this school district you know that people have had enough. I live in a very modest house and while the value of my home has gone down very much in recent years, the taxes increase every year. My modest home in the most affordable section of the 3V area is almost 8K. That is insane. Forget about the school district, my road have no been paved in over a decade. All I know every teacher I met, it was always about their summers off and their pension. Never about the love of teaching. If residents have to live on a budget than the school district has to. If residents have to makes cut in their budget then the school district needs to also. And I believe that only govt workers that risk their lives everyday deserves a pension. Teachers pension should be converted to a plain 401k. No pension and we have lower taxes. Plain and simple. Again for this budget to fail is a sign that things are going to change, such as the pensions. If it was up to me I would have an audit of every school district in this state and see where all this money is coming from.
setauket315 May 24, 2012 at 01:20 AM
(continue).....and where all this money is going.
Disgusted! May 24, 2012 at 02:03 AM
proud3vteacher, having children go thru this district, i can say that you are the exception. What i would like to know from you as such a hard working dedicated teacher who does go above and beyond - doesn't it bother you that you look around at all the other teachers who don't do 1/2 of what you do and still get the same raises. would you support a pay for performance system - sounds like you would come out on top!
3vgirl May 24, 2012 at 02:59 PM
@James Don't compare teaching to professional athletics. This is a very flawed argument. The latter is compensated based on performance. Good performance brings additional accolades including sponsorship opportunties in free market. Teachers get tenure and can become complacent. If an athlete does, the $$$ stops. The bottom line is our taxes go up and our kids programs get cut, and teachers still get a raise. I don't think so. Enough is enough.
WM mom May 24, 2012 at 03:41 PM
James, It is arrogant for teachers to believe that they are somehow special and thus immune from the recession that has had a negative impact on most 3V families. The teachers deferred their raise, there were no give backs at all. You need to compare yourself to an individual in the private sector who works year long without raises and pays for their own health care and will not receive a pension or retire at 55. Even if I was satisfied with my children's education in 3V , I believe the teachers do not deserve raises and step increases at a time when the rest of us are facing decreases in pay. The fact that I have been dissatisfied with my children's teachers makes it even harder to agree that such increases are justified. My experience in 3V has included teachers who hand out the same dittos for literally a decade. One of my children watched 9 movies in one year in high school social studies; not even documentaries, commercial films. One teacher was going through a divorce and would spend the entire period on the phone with an attorney while the kids surfed the web and did not receive a single lesson the entire semester. The debacle with the Trig regents has been a nightmare, with many students repeatedly failing. Most frustrating is the fact that most teachers will not provide extra help after school. When the clock hits 2pm, they are gone. If you are that rare teacher who is passionate, professional and hard working then unfortunately you are the exception.
Its Over May 24, 2012 at 04:31 PM
Wm mom thanks for sharing another true story of the horror in the union led school. You hit a home run
Jen T. May 24, 2012 at 09:21 PM
3Vgirl Athletes who make millions a year are no comparison to teachers, that I agree with. One year's salary and they'd never have to work again. If they have a contract and they get hurt, they still get paid. If they don't perform they still get paid. Their contract may not be renewed, but they've already made enough for a lifetime. A-Rod could offset our budget deficit with what he gets paid for one game. And all they have to do is play a game. It is a flawed argument; it's insulting to teachers.
Jen T. May 24, 2012 at 09:35 PM
Is Over: You really are misinformed. I have been working 13 years and I will NEVER break $100, even if I work until I am 70. We don't want to get rich, that's the whole idea. We just want to work and be able to live, like every one else. New Parent: I don't know what the gym teacher makes, and I would glady forgo raises to save jobs, I have twice. I wouldn't mind contributing more to healthcare or my pension. I am not afraid of new, stricter evaluations; I am proud of the job I do with my students.Tenure is not a job for life. It was created to protect educators from political fluctuations and arbitrary firings. Teachers would love to see reorganization at the administrative level. We would love more say in how the school runs and make necessary changes that would benefit the students. I truly believe that most people have no idea what a teacher's job entails. If they did, they wouldn't be so angry and begrudging. I love my job, but it's difficult to hear so much negativity from the people whose children I have dedicated my life helping become educated, thinking members of society.
justme May 25, 2012 at 12:15 AM
Do the folks in retirement communities within the district get the opportunity to vote for the budget?
Jen T. May 26, 2012 at 04:48 PM
Living Small: There are professions that come out of the gate making more than teachers and have unlimited earning potential. $114,00 for a lawyer, banker, architect, business manager after 15 years would be considered low. Why does a teacher deserve less? The reality is that politcal and corporate interests are trying to pit taxpayers against teachers and teachers against each other to bust unions. This way they can privatize public education and your tax dollars can go to line the pockets of wealthy coroporate CEOs, who then in turn give your money to elect officials who will continue to support the company's agenda (e.g.Pearson & Cuomo). Soon, the only people with a quality education will be the wealthiest members of society because their parents can afford to send them to private schools and spare them from the corporate model, cookie cutter, assembly line, test driven schools where innovation is punished and mediocrity is the goal. You are witnessing, and in some cases contributing to, the death of democracy in America. I'm not being dramatic, I am paying attention.
Reality Check May 29, 2012 at 04:58 PM
Sorry Mom, but a HomeEc teacher making $119,508 not including benefits, is absolutely ludicrous!! I'll teach my kid how to cook muffins..Thanks anyway!
Reality Check May 31, 2012 at 05:48 PM
Lets do some math....assume next year there is a 2% cap on our entire budget (you can't use the .99% because that is part of the State shortfall) and assume the projected increases for health and insurance benefits for next year is 7.25% (announced today on the news..google it) ..so doing the math we find that $174M (total budget) x .2% (state cap) = $3.48M in additional tax revenue assuming we all accept next year’s cap. Now lets just look at the Benefits side….there is $44.3 in Benefits x the 7.25% projection equaling $3.21M of additional expenses.....This means that just the cap for next year is only enough to pay for the benefit increase!!! $3.48M versus $ 3.21M. Let’s call this a wash. Next year’s budget has assumed a 5.5% salary increase ...this means of the $93.5M(NOT even including $18.7M in GENERAL SUPPORT!!!) x 5.5% we get $5.14M in additional expenses with no way to pay for it...so if you take the $5.14M divided by an average administrator/teachers salary of say $100,000, we should be losing another 51.4 folks next year (in actuality it is probably more given there will be far more Monitors and TA's getting cut!)Can anyone refute the above numbers? Am I missing something? If I were an Administrator/teacher, I would want the UNION to start to figure something out now because it is clear, the piercing of the 2% cap is not going to work next year and at 2%, the only guarantee teachers/administrators are looking at are more layoffs again next year.

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