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Residents Voice Concerns At Board of Education Meeting

Princeton Plan, transportation issues and the Garfield Avenue maintenance facility topics of public discussion.

Sayville parents were out in full force at Thursday’s Board of Education meeting to express their displeasure and concerns regarding three separate issues.

Laura Valente, one of the driving forces behind rallying the community to oppose the , addressed the board during public session.

“You told us to come back in September after last year’s roundtable discussion and here we are," Valente said. "We want to know where we stand with the Princeton Plan. We have not wavered in our opposition to the Princeton Plan, or any modified version of that plan.”

A pure Princeton Plan would mean students in kindergarten and first grade would be housed in one building, second and third graders in another and fourth and fifth graders in yet another building.

Valente urged the board to take the idea of the Princeton Plan off the table, just so the community could start focusing on other options to cut costs.

Superintendent Walter Scharter and other board members said they could not take the idea off the table until they had a better understanding of how to 2 percent tax levy would affect the district.

“Right now, everything is still on the table,” Schartner said. “We don’t know what will happen until we have more realistic numbers in front of us. When we start talking budget, we are going to have to come up with three different scenarios: our regular budget and what we need to sustain programs; one with the 2 percent tax levy; and one at zero percent.”

The public will have ample time voice their opinions before budget talks even begin, the board added.

Another hot-button topic was the transportation issue. While students in kindergarten through second grade get a bus if they live more than a half mile from the school, the distance goes up to a mile for third to fifth graders (grades six to 12 is a mile and a half).

Parent Nicole Sharkey brought up the issue about those with children in multiple grades and handling their busing. Another parent voiced her opinion about the way the school district measures the access points to determine the distance.

According to Assistant Superintendent of Business John Belmonte, the board policy measures “from the nearest walking entrance.” Parents argued that these “entrances” aren’t necessarily monitored by the school, making them unsafe for smaller children. 

While the district does have control over unifying the entrance point from each school, they cannot decide the distance from which a child can be bused. That is left to the voters in May and must be put up as a referendum to the school budget. It has failed by relatively high numbers in the past, but the parents at Thursday’s meeting assured the board they would get the word out about it.

Yet another area of debate was the Garfield Avenue maintenance facility. Harry Berg presented the board with a proposal on how to fix up the Tyler Avenue building, in lieu of investing $1.2 million in Garfield Avenue.

“This proposal offers a $650,000 savings to the taxpayers," Berg said. "It’s an alternative that shows you can rebuild and restore Tyler Avenue for roughly $350,000.”

The board members agreed to look over the document and discuss the proposal at the next meeting on Oct. 6.

c faulkner September 17, 2011 at 11:44 AM
For those interested in knowing what has happened to our children's education in the past 20 years plus, research this book, "The Death and Life of the Great American School System" written by Diane Ravitch. It is an eye opener written by an Educational Historian. I am almost at the end. All I can say at this point is that our children have been victimized by politicians and their cohorts. This book is full on knowledge and facts. An eye opener! Also an easy book to read and understand.
eeyore23 September 17, 2011 at 10:44 PM
I am curious to see what the School Board has to say about Harry Berg's suggestion for fixing up the Tyler Ave. maintenance building at the Workshop meeting on Oct. 6.... Many residents have done the research, contacted legal counsel and devoted hours upon hours of their time to prove that building a brand new maintenance facility at a different location, instead of repairing what is currently there, is not a financially sound option. The Board has continued to approach this matter in a financially and socially irresponsible manner, and I for one, will not let my tax dollars pay for something that is not necessary. The only way all of the Sayville residents will know about any of these misdoings is by attending the Board meetings. Without you all there, they will continue to sneak projects into proposals and referendums, on which we vote, under the guise of doing something good, when really, it is unnecessary and financially not in our best interest. Please turn out for the next round of meetings, October 6 and 13th. Thanks!
Lawrence Feeley September 18, 2011 at 12:00 PM
In this day of environmental awareness, "Green" building sensibilities and re-cycling, it is a bit disconcerting to find that a School Board would opt to spend more of the taxpayers' money on constructing a new facility next to a stream, a bird sanctuary and at the end of a dead end street in a quiet residential neighborhood with many young children instead of "re-cycling" the existing facility and saving cost at the same time in the rehabilitation process. I also question why the Board chose to put an addition on the existing building if they were going to simply turn around and sell it.
c faulkner September 18, 2011 at 04:15 PM
Does this surprise anyone? Look at how the Library Board shoved that monstrosity of a building down our throats and for what? So they could build an empire? Just wait till you younger families are retired living on a fixed income and want to stay in the home you raised your families in. 45 years paying taxes to the Sayville School District! Guess I have to die to get out of paying them. Don't get me wrong, I am for educating our children the best we can. That is our responsibility. BUT, it has to be affordable with a strong curriculum and high standards. Remember one should have to cash available before buying> Look around and see what all this irresponsible lending/spending is doing to our country. You young families will bear the brunt of all this for a long long time. I feel/fear for what my children and grand children have in front of them.
KC - Sayville September 19, 2011 at 01:49 PM
With the increasing number of boarded up buildings along Montauk Highway and the growing number of transients living amongst us which are already hurting Sayville, The Princeton Plan will only aide in finishing off this wonderful community. GET INVOLVED NOW! There are three very important issues listed here today. We need to join forces and support each other for all worthy causes. Numbers speak volumes!
SoMo September 19, 2011 at 08:20 PM
What happened to selling the library to raise money? lol
LJ September 20, 2011 at 03:47 PM
Time to clean house...................we need new administrators and board members,save money,start by reducing the salaries of the way over paid old blood that has been in charge for years that hate when people show up and speak up at those meeting,more so when we do not agree with what they want to do with the tax payers money ! Show up ...Speak up !
curious tax payer September 21, 2011 at 12:26 PM
Read todays News day,there is an article about what they are planning to do,sounds like they will be going forward with the plan.
curious tax payer September 21, 2011 at 12:30 PM
Good question,are they even trying to sell it ? Was that discussed at the meeting ?
eeyore23 September 21, 2011 at 07:43 PM
They didn't even mention the old library....but to that point, if they refurbished Tyler Avenue AND sold the library building (good luck with that...how long has it been on the market??) think of how much more money they would have!
Bob October 06, 2011 at 01:03 AM
need to put cap on management headcount and all salary and fringe - there is zero reason to make these insane salaries, with duplicate positions - while delivering nothing, It's about the kids, we have gotten off that to being about $$$ and security. Take it back and start over. There are plenty of people that would take these jobs for a fair cost.
Martin Cantor October 10, 2011 at 01:53 PM
From Marty Cantor' Hi all...I've read your concerns and anguish and disappointment with the school board and administration...that's why I developed a Townwide school distrit plan that would put accountability in building principals and eliminate local boards and administration replaced by townwide officials..more local control, more input,essentially better eduction for less cost...the plan is at www.martincantor.com nd comments and discussion are welcome..ps last week newsday ran a story on the plan...best and good luck Marty Cantor
c faulkner October 11, 2011 at 01:32 PM
I agree something has to be done to get the proper value for each tax dollar collected from us. Anything to do with government and public officials is loaded with WASTE. I do believe that there is too much duplicity with each town having it's own school district. However, do you want Town Officials to be in charge of the education of our children? I don't! Look at all the disaster around us due to present politicians. Please get a copy of this book, "The Death and Life of the Great American School System" by Diane Ravich. It is an easy read, factual with the facts backed up and explains all the cure all plans for educating our children put forth by Presidents and their minions along with rich people and their Foundations. Disaster on every account. You should read this! Diane Ravich is an education historian. If you want our children to receive good educations using sound curriculum and high standards you have to search out the best educators who have proved themselves and are interested in the children's welfare.
Martin Cantor October 11, 2011 at 01:43 PM
to C. Faulkner...I know of Ravich's work during my doctor of education studies..to be a bit clearer...townwide school districts ARE NOT controlled by town officials but by a separately elected board of education..finances are consolidated not districts..children still go to their neighborhood schools with education controlled by the local school building principal..all that is eliminated are the layers of duplicative administration..legal fees consolidation..public relations..more efficient maintenance..and this is just a few..the classroom, teachers and children are protected..and the principals will do just as you note..best teachers etc..questions don't hesitate to ask..best Marty Cantor
c faulkner October 11, 2011 at 03:03 PM
Thank you for the clarification. I would like to see a proposal for such a plan stating how it would be implemented, the educational benefits for the children, how it would assist all the teachers to become the best they can and of course the monetary benefits.
Martin Cantor October 11, 2011 at 03:06 PM
To C. Faulkner...pls to to my web site www.martincantor.com and the report will be available for you to download..it is a strategy and needs some details but it is detailed enought to get the idea..as I work with communities the plan gets filled in with needs and concerns of the community..but bottom line is better Long island education for lower costs with dollars focused on the classroom...any questions just ask...best Marty Cantor
the truth will set you free November 01, 2011 at 01:14 PM
Talk to us about spending more of our tax dollars after you sell the old library !
Martin Cantor November 01, 2011 at 02:48 PM
From marty cantor...it's inconceivable that the school board and superintendent don't have an idea of how the 2 percent tax cap will impact the school district..that's why they are keeping PP on the table...from what I am hearing from other districts and communities..the tax cap will lead to a move either to pierce the cap or let teachers go and increase class sizes...this from a structure of supe's and school board that won't change the administrative and overhead structure of the district...best Marty Cantor

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