BUDGET CRISES IN OUR SCHOOLS
Several nights ago, I listened at the school board meeting on the up coming school budget and what I heard was cut programs. We pay superintendant of schools (David Weiss) to figure out and present a school budget in these times of uncertainty that is viable and fair to all. David Weiss’s only solution is to cut programs. He is not acting as a top dog (superintendent), but blamed others (the principals and teachers) for not being able to save money on the school budget. The school budget for school year 2013-20124 gave raises to all at the expense of students by cutting programs. Each year we have a Budget Advisory Committee and they make recommendations to the school board and superintendant on possible cost saving measures. Two years ago, they made over 30 recommendations. To date, none have been implemented or even investigated.
The monetary crises in our schools is not new. The Budget Advisory Committee (our neighbors and parents) saw this financial crisis coming to Long Island. Long Island has some of the highest one of the school property taxes in the country. When the school superintendant makes more money than Governor of our state, something is wrong with our system and needs to be fixed. Governor Como’s 2% tax gap is a start. Elected people have to realize that the taxpayers have had enough. Times are hard and we are experiencing a longer recession since the great depression. New Jersey last year voted down 58% of School Budgets. Many educators and school boards on Long Island knew this financial tsunami was coming. Per the New York State Controller “all school district officials must manage their finances carefully with an eye towards long-range planning and how they can operate more efficiently”. Since, David Weiss is doing nothing and this involves all of us, maybe we should make recommendations to the school board. Here are my recommendations:
- Hire a consultant to ascertain why the State Retirement was increased 20% from school year 2012-2013 to 2013-2014. Can it be rolled back or can it be reduced as in other school districts?
- Hire a consultant to ascertain why the Teachers Retirement was increased 38.4% from school year 2012-2013 to 2013-2014. Can it be rolled back or can it be reduced as in other school districts?
- Hire a consultant to ascertain why the Disability Insurance was increased 82% from school year 2012-2013 to 2013-2014. Can it be rolled back or can it be reduced as in other school districts?
- Hire a consultant to investigate a very large increase in Health Insurance in 2011or can we secure another carrier to lower costs?
- Hire a consultant to see if Health Insurance contributions by employees and retires will reduce costs as utilized in other districts.
- Contact several Health Insurance agents to investigate why rates are so high with yearly increasing.
- The School Board and the Superintendant should join and have contact with other school districts on theses possible solutions for saving money..
- Join with other School districts, to discuss with the Governor Como and the Legislators the needs of the students and taxpayers. And for the modification of the Taylor Law or abolish or limit the impact of the Triborough Amendment./
- Negotiating salary freezes and minimal raises like other districts.
- Consolidate or reduce staff, partiality administration like other districts.
We must strive to make our Superintendent of Schools (David Weiss) more effective and motivate the school board (two school board members up for reelection) too find a solution to these financial problems of the budget. These school board trustees did not create this financial problem in our school budget, but they have allowed it to develop. As elected officials, they were not looking after the store as promised.”
Maybe one of PTA’S can arrange for someone to speak about “understanding a proposed school budget”. This may relieve some of the fears or unknowns about a proposed school budget.
If you want to make recommendations, you can email the school board at firstname.lastname@example.org