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Open Letter to The Rocky Point Board of Education

Rocky Point Board of Education, please don't pierce the tax cap!

Do NOT pierce the tax cap. Do NOT cut school programs. Really make it about the kids and renegotiate contracts. Here’s one contract you can renegotiate:

In May 2010, at the height of the recession, the Board signed off on a contract with the new superintendent (Super). In addition to the usual items covered in a contract the following were also included:

Starting salary of $210.000 (up from $153,000 in 2005 for the same position) with four to six percent annual increases.

Cash reimbursements to the Super:

    Car allowance: $700.00 per month

    Personal computing/wireless/remote broadband:  $195.00 per month

Benefits (for individual and family):

 -Health insurance: 100% paid for by taxpayer dollars (in 2007 Miller Place was paying 15%)

        PAID FOR BY TAXPAYER DOLLARS FOR THE LIFE OF THE INDIVIDUAL

-Dental insurance: 100% paid by taxpayer dollars

-Disability Insurance: 100% paid by taxpayer dollars

-Life insurance: Two times annual salary for LIFE

Annual annuity of $20,000 paid for by taxpayer dollars

AND THE BEST PART (Actually written in the contract):  a private bathroom in his office

Renegotiate this contract AND OTHERS and how many programs can continue to be funded without piercing the tax cap?

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

BillLongisland February 24, 2012 at 04:09 PM
Why should these public employee unions and school district management employees continue to be supported by "Free" Tax Payer Dollars, If the Government wants to, in effect, seize Everyone's IRA or 401K account ? FEBRUARY 7, 2012, 5:25 PM Senate Highway Bill Would Tap Into Individual’s Retirement Money WASHINGTON WIRE HOME PAGE » By John D. McKinnon The Senate Finance Committee is expected to pass a highway bill that boosts revenues with a series of narrow tax increases, including raising taxes on money saved for retirement. Specifically, the Senate committee would curb what are known as “stretch” IRAs and 401(k)s. The path to a final deal with House Republicans on the contentious transportation-funding issue remained unclear, and the House bill doesn’t contain the IRA tax change. But the proposal signaled that Senate leaders are likely to continue targeting personal retirement accounts. Under current law, owners of IRAs can stretch the life – and increase the value – of tax-deferred IRAs by passing them along to children or grandchildren at death. That’s because required annual minimum distributions typically are calculated using life expectancy tables; younger people get smaller payouts, so when they inherit an IRA, the money lasts longer and typically grows more. More at... http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2012/02/07/senate-highway-bill-would-tap-into-individuals-retirement-money/
DM/MP February 24, 2012 at 04:17 PM
I think if I lived in Sound Beach MPSD I'd be more concerned with the bullets in the bungalows than the neighboring budget. Keep in mind MPSD is upside down 5M. Unless they begin to get Sound Beach paying it's fair share on the first 70 pct/schools portion of the tax burden, it will remain a magnet for slumlording and drama. It's time to reassess our Beach communities in both SDs (North Shore Beach too)Water rises to it's own bullet.
DM/MP February 24, 2012 at 04:33 PM
It's outrageous to me that folks who are paying pennies on the dollar in comparison to Miller Place and Western Rocky Point are bitching about taxes. Especially after some of them have already put their kids through our schools.The North Shore of LIs not for everyone folks. If you think that North Shore and Sound Beach are expensive, you might want to consider the Carolinas. I mean really what's with the F you I got mine? Everyones a Conservative when their kids graduate. No one likes high taxes until the area goes full on dump and you can't sell. Stop it. PS you're lucky to have Diane Burke.
Jenn Intravaia February 24, 2012 at 04:55 PM
In addition to all this...they have already cut the autism consultant this year who served the high school and the middle school. This left many of these autistic children who do not transition well in turmoil. They are now expected to get their services from 2-3 regular staff who do not hold degrees in autism instead of one specialized person. This has created a burden on the staff and the children. He also cut all of the special Ed coordinators in all of the schools, so when the children's services were not provided parents were left trying to figure out who to contact. During the the special Ed forum we were informed only 57% of the special Ed population graduate from our school. Statistics show high functioning autistic children are most likely to graduate so why pull services from them and impair their ability to graduate? We have contacted the BOE and met with the administration several time this year, despite they have still not rectified the situation and several of the high functioning autistic children continue to regress. It is very obvious he is not out for our children by his lack of action. We may need a new superintendent before we see change as he has shown he is unwilling to help the most vulnerable population in the district or work with the parents.
BillLongisland February 24, 2012 at 05:21 PM
Oh Yeah, Diane Burke...somewhat "unhappy" of State oversight of Rocky Point School District's spending...why we should just give it to the, proverbial, "Mice" to manage the cheese ? ""It's going to be difficult to manage a property tax cap without significant mandate relief," Burke said. "Im not so sure that that would be even enough. The truth is that if you want to put the burden on the district to pay for the lion's share of educating the children on our own, then you need to give us the bonus of managing our own district." http://millerplace-rockypoint.patch.com/articles/difficult-budget-season-ahead-with-property-tax-cap-in-place Well, you have to understand that this particular school district would be "unhappy" because they don't want you to know, that the State Comptroller's Office didn't like the way they were just "giving away" everything there, with some "controls" missing. Too bad isn't it the school district requires someone to watch over their "double set of book" Accounting procedures, hmmmm ? http://www.rockypointschools.org/pdf/RPAUDIT2009.pdf Oh, yes she is just Grrrrrrrrrrrrrreat ! Not !
Jenn Intravaia February 24, 2012 at 05:23 PM
I have been at every Boe meeting since October and have spoken at many. I am only one person so i have not made much impact. I still have two children in the district. I do not want to see cuts, but the schools job is to educate. If the district is telling us that only 57 % of the special Ed population is graduating then they should not be cutting essential staff that provide support to these children. I too feel there is to much waste in the administration and before cuts are made contracts should be re-evaluated. We are being asked to make sacrifices. How can you justify an extravagant contract when our children are not being properly supported?
BillLongisland February 24, 2012 at 06:05 PM
The Political Elites need their "money fix" and they will perpetrate Any "scam" to do it !
Alan February 24, 2012 at 08:44 PM
"THE NORTH SHORE OF LI IS NOT FOR EVERYONE"--Really!!! Which groups do you propose should leave because they can't afford to stay here? Perhaps all those in the service industry? I hope you're ready to wait on yourself the next time you go to your favorite restaurant. Certainly anyone making minimum wage can't afford to pay property taxes? So I guess they can leave. Let's not forget all the senior citizens who don't have the kinds of retirement benefits that educators have and are living on a fixed income! And then there's the young people who are already leaving because they can't afford it. You must be OK with that. I've heard statements like this before. They've usually been made by those who can afford to live here because the rest of us are paying for it. This again shows a total lack of concern for the needs of others. What's outrageous to me is that the notion of "love or leave it" actually seems OK to any person of good conscience!
DM/MP February 24, 2012 at 09:01 PM
CAPSLOCK! Really. Its not. Nor is LI in general.
BillLongisland February 25, 2012 at 09:36 AM
I feel it's very noticeable to others that you are Great with the "astroturfing" for the elements in our local economy that are sapping Tax Payer Dollars, but you are very short on Facts.. What's interesting, is, you seem know the Truth about what's going on in our locality,through your "volunteering" contacts, but you are a captive to those Political and Economic "interests"... You can't impart to readers your "inside information" for Fear of being "cutoff" from their socalled "friendship". The Truth Will Set You Free ! You know who is stealing from Tax payers ! "out them" !
bodkin February 27, 2012 at 05:18 PM
How did you come by this info?
BillLongisland February 27, 2012 at 05:27 PM
Here it is ! http://qvs.visiblegovernment.us/seethroughNY.net/contracts/school-contracts/Rockypoints063014.pdf
Ernestine Franco February 27, 2012 at 07:18 PM
In addition to the site given by BillofLongIsland, you can also fill out a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) application requesting specific information. As a taxpayer you are allowed to request information on salaries and contracts of public employees. Not eveything is availabe on line. Some information has to be requested of specific public offices. For instance, I got the teacher's contract for the Rocky Point School Distrie by filling out a FOIL reuqest. You have to get the application from the District. Some of them do have applications availbe on their website or call the district office.. It is this kind of specific imformation that we as taxpayers should know. Let me be clear, the first priority is the we as a society provide our children with the best possible education. However, as can be seen by the Superintendent's contract above, often it is NOT about the kids.
BillLongisland February 27, 2012 at 07:48 PM
With FOIL be prepared to be "played around", and generally obstructed. They won't help you get the documents easily, ok ? Root canal is easier.
bodkin February 28, 2012 at 12:04 AM
Very helpful. Thanks!
BillLongisland February 28, 2012 at 07:57 AM
You are welcome and it's uploaded to this article as a pdf.
BillLongisland February 28, 2012 at 04:00 PM
By the by, bodkin, at seethroughny.net you can find individual teacher wages, school district employee wages, as well as any other public employee or school district employee pension for the past several years, in some instances... http://seethroughny.net/
BillLongisland February 28, 2012 at 09:15 PM
http://vimeo.com/ May have the video of tonight's meeting...last months meeting can be found here... http://vimeo.com/35550001
MatthewD March 02, 2012 at 04:14 PM
This week I was at the Miller Place board of education meeting and couldn't believe when a woman, I'm assuming a teacher in the district, got up and said, almost in tears, how upset she was that teachers were constantly being asked to make concessions--that for them it was more than just a job, it was a vocation. I have children in the school and until I heard this statement would have been one of the first to stand by the demands of the teachers. But who do they think they are! Many of us "love" our jobs and many of us take our work seriously. To make it seem that just because their job--and it is a job--involves teaching our children they should also get paid for the fact that it's a job they want to do is nothing short of arrogant.
Ernestine Franco March 02, 2012 at 04:41 PM
I was at this same meeting and I think this same teacher made the comment that teachers pay school taxes too. Yes, they do and she seems to forget that it goes right back into her own pocket. She perhaps has also forgotten that almost 70 percent of the school taxes goes for salaries and benefits. Since her work is a "vocation" and the rest of us just work for money, perhaps she should be more concerned about keepting the programs for the kids and be willing to support some givebacks from the teachers on salaries or benefits.
BillLongisland March 02, 2012 at 05:07 PM
What Tax Payers are not supposed to know, exist...the "scenarios" concocted by the Suffolk County School Superintendants Association...a lobbying group...that schools use to "deal with" the Fake Property Tax Cap Problem... Go to page 48 of this report...uploaded above...and see the "Magic Numbers" that are used to figure out how to lie about school budgets ! http://www.suffolksuperintendents.org/pdf/Suffolk_Tax_Cap_Scenarios_6.15.11.pdf
BillLongisland March 02, 2012 at 06:35 PM
Ernestine, What they and We should be worried about is how their public employee "union dues" are funneled back into a Federal and State political slush fund, like the various "$timulus" initiatives of The Regime Leader...but they are very happy if they "profit" from a quid pro quo to save their miserable jobs !
BillLongisland March 03, 2012 at 02:30 PM
MathewD, Unfortunately, this Teacher has become to typify the attitude of the Public Employee Unions that represents them...it's like They Have A Right To Be Paid For What They Do, because they are in such a sacrosanct..."vocation", and Tax Payers are obligated to, blindly, just hand over their personal wealth to them and their benefits packages. Funny, how teachers are always around to take the Congratulations for their work and not take Any responsibility for the failures ?
Jodie Lomas March 07, 2012 at 02:34 PM
I too have been to every BOE meeting in Rocky Point, save one, as I have 4 children in the district. I must say that I have been sorely disappointed at the turnout. I know that people in this community love it but we must be as invested in knowing what is going on in our school as we are any other major decision involving our children. Our children our born and we fret over the right pediatrician, right preschool, right vitamins...and yet so many devote so little (if no) energy towards keeping aware of what is going on in their school district. Times are extremely hard and we are working harder than ever..but is it not worth it to give one evening a month towards showing up to a BOE meeting? Are our children not worth it? They will continue to make decisions based on what THEY think is best for our children WITHOUT our input if we do not give it. Some of these contracts and changes are shocking, yes, but had to be voted on and approved at a BOE meeting before they were implemented. And as they say there is strength in numbers. And as to arguing back and forth as to whether it is better to cut and save taxpayers or give more to investment to our future (being our children) I think that the real issue is overlooked during this heated season of budget discussions. That is that we first need to look at how we spend the money we already have as it seems much of it is wasted in inefficiency. By making sure every dollar is used efficiently many cuts or increases could be avoided.
Jenn Intravaia March 07, 2012 at 02:37 PM
Well said Jodi. I hope to see eveyone at the next boe meeting!!
Ernestine Franco March 07, 2012 at 02:47 PM
I agree with everything you said, Jodie. The problem is people just are not paying attention, immaterial of which viewpoint one holds. However, I would like to correct one thing you said. Specific elements of any of the contracts have never been opening discussed at the Board meetings. All of these happen behind closed doors. When I have asked for specific information I have either been told that there is nothing to be done about contract aready in effect or they can't talk about specifics becasue they are in negotiations. People attending board meetings have never been asked to allowed to vote on specific contract. We get a number at the end that represents all contracts and we vote on that in May. Transparency is very lacking from the Rocky Point School Board.
Jodie Lomas March 07, 2012 at 07:27 PM
Excellent point Ernestine, and I appreciate the correction. I do, however, feel that if they saw that enough people were attending the meetings and asking questions that they would be a little more wary of what they try to sneak through. I know friends that were referred to as "crazy" simply for calling them out on issues they had a right to ask about as concerned parents simply because they were considered the very few and of little credibility. And yet when more parents were made aware of the very same things they had been trying to warn about for years they were outraged. They think that no one is paying attention in Rocky Point and to a certain degree they are right so they attempt to get away with more. We need to demand the transparency were are entitled to as taxpayers and parents.
Jodie Lomas March 07, 2012 at 07:29 PM
sorry 'we are' entitled to not 'were are' :)
Ernestine Franco March 08, 2012 at 01:11 PM
Yes, it seems that was is needed is to get more people to attend the board meetings. Perhaps we should all email this blog to everyone we know, immaterial of which side of the issue one is. Once the board sees that residents are paying attention perhaps they will "think" before they approve different things. SO if the board isn't working toard transparency, we have to!
Jenn Intravaia March 26, 2012 at 08:02 PM
Boe meeting tonight march 26, 2012 7 pm FJC library.....

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