May 1, 2017
Here is my opening paragraph from last year’s newsletter on the budget vote:
“East Williston School District (EWSD) residents are annually requested to vote on a school budget and this year is no exception. Each voting member of the community will have an opportunity to either vote for or against the budget. Every parent, every senior, every taxpayer, and every youngster of voting age should consider voting NO on the budget. Why? Two reasons come to mind: (A) Waste and (B) Senior Citizen Exploitation.”
I then proceeded to provide detailed comments on both above reasons which was followed by detailed proposed solutions to both problems. Guess what? I not only didn’t hear from anyone but I also received no acknowledgements of my proposal. Isn’t this just great? I’m a taxpayer with no voice. You can thank Kamberg and his brood, Kanas, the teachers, the teachers’ union, and, of course, the pitiful PTO, for this sorry state of affairs. And, let’s not forget that it was the Bergtraum (incompetence)/Israel (greed) era that started the EWSD’s decline.
In any event, here’s what’s coming down. Per capita student cost is up (>$36,000). Enrollment is down. Hiring is up. School ranking is down. Student performance is down. College choice for students almost certainly is down. Waste has increased. Senior exploitation has increased. Student/parent exploitation has increased. You want proof? Try to FOIL these parasites in control for information. You’ll get what I got…NOTHING! What a wonderful state of affairs.
The community should be aware of the EW Financial Advisory Committee (FAC) 3/22/17 report to the EWSD Board of Trustees. I’ll spare you the details but here are the six FAC’s specific spending recommendations.
- Adapt recommendations to fund Program, Administration & Capital efficiencies
- Develop a framework to measure student achievement/investment
- Wages: take steps to continue to limit wage growth
- Healthcare: Increase employee contributions/eliminate opt-out
- Place a moratorium on contractual lifetime healthcare benefits
- Review opportunities to increase non-tax revenue
But, here’s the key. Buried early in the report is “The Board has the responsibility and discretion to implement the FAC’s recommendations.” Translated into simple English: they can, and will, ignore the recommendations as they have done in the past (I’ll comment on their action next year).
Regarding (1), the word efficiency is not in the Board’s vocabulary. The teachers and their union have always opposed (2). The teachers and their union, the PTA, the Board, and Superintendent Kanas oppose (3). Obviously, the teachers and their union plus their stooges oppose (4) and (5). Point (6) is a great recommendation that could be implemented by the brain trust in the FAC, but with teachers and their union, the PTA, Superintendent Kanas, and (in particular) the Board, there resides a group that is clueless on business/financial matters. Obviously, not a good situation since the FAC has wasted its time.
Here are my comments on reading the FAC report for the year 2017.
- The District’s reputation is understandably on the decline (see later paragraph).
- Tenure has created many of the problems. These positions should only last 5-years but can be extended if the individual has continued to demonstrate the freshness and enthusiasm of the early years of teaching. You know the teachers would never embrace this recommendation.
- Need to spend time on converting thoughtless children to caring and thinking individuals.
- Generate better relationships with students in order for them to maintain lifelong ties to the EWSD.
- Teacher/community relations are at an all-time low.
- I believe the rumors that all school boards have adopted illegal practices to undermine the school tax cap.
- For goodness sake, do something positive about the WASTE.
The landscape has changed. My experience suggests that today’s students leave high school more aware of what they want to do and what they hope to accomplish in the future. Nobody I know feels the EWSD is doing enough to adjust to this change.
I’ll close with some general thoughts. The EWSD continues to do damage to our community with both excessive waste (particularly at the administration level) and indifference toward the taxpayer (particularly with seniors). Increasing numbers of incoming high school students are opting out of Wheatley in favor of private schools. This “migration” has gone uncontested by the Board-perhaps for good reason. The mode of delivery of education is changing, and changing at a near exponential rate, at all levels – and the EWSD has not attempted to adopt to these changes. I have been involved with several programs that have reduced or essentially eliminated the need for teachers. There is a need for accountability for not only these upstart programs but also for traditional programs such as at Wheatley. Unfortunately, there is little to no accountability at Wheatley. To further exacerbate this point, the EWSD teachers count has increased despite the drop in enrollment. On the positive side, I believe absenteeism has decreased; although there are more cars in the North Side parking lot, there is less of a reduction of cars on Monday and Friday. Finally, I stand by my earlier statements that at least two members of the Board simply cannot be trusted; the Community should not expect them to act in the best interests of the students and taxpayers.
You don’t have to believe me regarding much of the above material. Here is the 4/25/2017 Newsday headline: “7 LI Schools in the Top 200.” Guess who didn’t make the top 200 nationally. Guess who also didn’t make the top 50 statewide (there were 14 LI schools who did). We also didn’t make the top 100 STEM schools in the state. These are the FACTS, and the numbers don’t lie. And yet, many of the uniformed parents refuse to accept that the self-serving EWSD Board, the teachers, the PTA, etc., have failed and betrayed both the students and the community.
Remember, it’s OK to vote NO on the budget. A NO vote represents a call for better education for our students, fair and responsible treatment of seniors, a call for new leadership for both the Board and the District, and a rejection of the corrupt self-serving policies currently in place.
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www.theodorenewsletter.com or on his Facebook page at Basketball Coaching 101
JUNE 1: On Great Eats II
JULY 1: On Six Months Later
AUGUST 1: On Purely Chaste, Pristine and Random Thoughts XXV