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Miller Place Board Adopts Budget Under Cap Without Full-Day Kindergarten

The Miller Place school board adopted a budget without the proposed full-day kindergarten.

The proposal of full-day kindergarten in the 2013-14 school budget in Miller Place has been a hot topic since first proposed by Superintendent Marianne Higuera. On Wednesday the Board of Education made a decision to adopt a budget without the proposal.

After including kindergarten in the superintendent's budget, the school board listened to varying community views on the topic for about a month before ultimately deciding against it.

"We are all cognizant of the educational merits of doing it, but at this particular time the sustainability issue is just too much for this board to pass," said trustee Michael Unger.

The budget would have been $67,757,777, a 4.3-percent increase, with full-day kindergarten. Instead, the adopted budget of around $67.3 million will be an increase of 3.64 percent from last year.

"They are putting together the best educational program they can for 2013-'14 and I support their decisions," Higuera said of the board's adoption.

The budget not only retains all staff and programs, but also includes other initiatives and comes in under the tax levy cap. The district's maximum allowable tax levy increase was 4.3 percent but the board managed to reduce the increase to 3.94 percent after initally projecting to be at the cap.

"The board really put a lot of thought and energy into offering the best educational programs for the district they could at the time and also considered the economic and fiscal constraints in the community," Higuera said. "Their decision to come in under the tax cap was reflective of their beliefs."

While full-day kindergarten is in the rear-view mirror for this upcoming budget, Unger noted that time taken to analyze the program was beneficial and it is something they will look at again in future budgets. They will also have to monitor whether or not they will still have the New York State Conversion Aid for the program in upcoming years.

"We’re going to keep in contact with legislators to find out the possibility of the aid going away," Unger said. "The good thing is we looked at it now in detail. It's important for the community to know that it’s now fully in our laps and we’re going to continue to look at it."

Christopher Frawley April 05, 2013 at 03:43 PM
Jen M. you're right. This is coming and it would have been smart to get it in now (and balance it out with cuts somewhere else.) Soon there will be mandates for pre-K as well. Of course we have to contain spending, but the whole community would be better off if we started thinking about schools as an investment as opposed to an expense. It's a different mindset. There's just so much hot air blown by people who hide behind online names who just can't seem to get over the fact that we're a bedroom town, so no matter what, MP residents are going to pay more for schools. (Do I think we really need another pharmacy? If it keeps our taxes lower and stops the endless whining - bring it !) Thanks for your point about bringing us out of the stone age (half day K).
Captain Howard Hawrey April 05, 2013 at 04:16 PM
I agree also that this is coming. So why didn't we do it years ago when the other districts did? I'll bet that 99% of the posters on here had 1/2 day kindergarten. Has your life been that affected without full day? Do you "really" even remember Kindergarten? Give me a break! Isn't it still OK to let 5 year olds be 5 year olds? They will get enough school pressure later in life. They are only 5 for crying out loud. This competitive BS at a young age has to stop. Nothing wrong with them having half day and letting explore their own backyards at this age. We are ruining the innocence of young children by forcing school and test on them at this age.
Laurel Sutton April 05, 2013 at 04:18 PM
It's a shame that so many unfunded government mandates has forced our district to be in a position that we are having to choose between having a much needed full day kindergarten program or slowly bringing back very necessary enrichment programs, electives, AP classes and extra-curricular activities for students of all ages. Regardless of which side of the debate you are on, our Board of Education adopted a good budget that keeps our schools intact and moving in the right direction without breaking the bank. It's a budget everyone should support.
Captain Howard Hawrey April 05, 2013 at 04:41 PM
Laurel it's a shame that our residents over the last 20 years have not been fiscally responsible. That is why we are in the position we are in now. The state mandates are a tough nut for sure but we haven't helped ourselves out by putting us in the position we are in now. The "Party" is over it's time to deal with reality.
MP Majority April 05, 2013 at 08:44 PM
Sorry Laurel, most totally disagree with you here. The taxpayers are once again absorbing the vast majority of healthcare and pension costs here, and the % of total labor costs relative to the entire budget has once again increased. Don't you think if we brought the public sector into "reality world" that we would have the funds for a full-day K and all AP courses -ya know, the stuff that really matters? Instead, our first order of business is to always make sure our teachers and administrators are taken care of first, and then we fight over the remaining scraps to allocate to our kids. Seriously, doesn't this ass-backwards mentality have to be reversed at some point? When did budget adoption stop being for the kids? All we ever hear is threats about bus service, AP courses, extra-curricular activities, etc., being stricken from the budget. HOW COME WE NEVER HEAR ABOUT TEACHER AND ADMINISTRATOR HEALTHCARE SUBSIDIES BEING THREATENED FIRST?
Reddawn1 April 07, 2013 at 11:57 AM
The truth hurts, it's been to many years of the teachers and administrators being taken care of first. This is the main reason why the grounds (ie, sports fields) at all school locations look like a baron wasteland. Some will say that's not education in nature. To that I say "your wrong" because education coupled with athletics and decent sports facilities equals a well rounded educated student. With that I add that we must also provide the creative side for our students to be successful as well ie, music and the arts. Although we currently have these programs in place, we have had to fight hard to keep them in place. Why, because the teachers and administrators take care of themselves first!! As MP MAJORITY wrote.... This ass-backwards mentality has to end NOW. Despite dropping the full day kindergarten idea, my VOTE is still NO until I see real reform in the way the board handles the contracts of teachers and administrators.
Panther For Life April 07, 2013 at 12:35 PM
Reddawn you are correct. The teachers and administrators are the ones to blame for everything...If my nemory serves correct we had a vote several years back for turf and lights but the district voted it down. Now you come to this crap forum and vent. Your just like the rest of these uninformed, jealous, teacher bashing parents. God knows what venom you spew in front of your children. Great role model.
Panther For Life April 07, 2013 at 12:39 PM
Also, the teachers union does pay for medical. As far as pensions go, that is a perk the state offers for providing a noble service. Maybe cops should be fired as well. Let me guess, they get paid too much as well.
Reddawn1 April 07, 2013 at 02:05 PM
Dear Panther for Life, Isn't it funny that the minute points are being made and the truth comes out (and it is the truth) about teachers and administrators grabbing as much of the budget pie FIRST, you have to resort to name calling. Since we are in the mode of guessing, let me unfortunately stoop down a moment and guess that your one of those liberal conservative bashing teachers that live along the waters edge right? You probably just moved into this beautiful community and are trying to force people out who have lived here all their lives so you may have a liberal utopia right? Guess what (we are still guessing right) you lose! By the way, you must learn to tell the whole truth! The turf field and lights were attached to the vote for a new administration building. In school newsletters leading up to the vote, Ann O'Brien conveniently touted the administration building as a savings to the community (which is true in the long run) but said little to nothing about the turf and lights being a benefit to the community as well (which it would be). I thank Ann for her 14 years of service to our community however the truth be known, Ann was so anti sports that she single handedly decimated all sports programs in our district. PS: I can't wait for the budget newsletter to arrive with the breakdown of numbers and all the pictures of the children smiling with gloom and doom wording if we don't pass the budget.
Panther For Life April 07, 2013 at 02:35 PM
Actually you are wrong again..I was at that budget meeting and its intial plan was to have two votes one for the field and the other for the building. They decided against because a few community members cried and complained that it was not necessary. Lets be honest your just angry because you didnt become a teacher. If you care about your community and children so much why dont you run for the school board. You chose not to because you dont know enough. You only know half truths. Your not a solution...Your the problem. Sorry I have to go. Im planning a vacation for this summer. I do have it off you know...Be well...
Reddawn1 April 07, 2013 at 03:27 PM
I thought so...elitest snob.... Panther for Life... You do mean teacher for life, don't you. Well guess what.... The abolishment of tenure for teachers for life is next on the agenda and then your name will be Panther for as long as I help the CHILDREN SUCCEED. Mr. Obama has taught you well. Both your legacies will be that you both destroyed the inner fabric of our society as a whole!! God bless you and God bless America!!
Captain Howard Hawrey April 07, 2013 at 03:41 PM
Though I'm with you Reddawn1 I wish both you and Panther For Life would be posting with your real names. It really does take away from the credibility of your posting here.
Reddawn1 April 07, 2013 at 03:53 PM
Thank you Capt. Unfortunately the way society has become and with children in the district you have to fear retaliation against the children. That's the truth.
Panther For Life April 07, 2013 at 04:01 PM
Wow...Listen to yourself. Now the teacher takes it out on the kid. I hope in your case the apple doesnt fall far from the tree...
Captain Howard Hawrey April 07, 2013 at 04:48 PM
Fully understand your point. I have thought that my kids have taken a "little" bit of retaliation because of my posts. I pity the Teacher or Administrator that treats my kids differently because of my posting here. I will own the district if I could prove it. Hopefully it never comes to that. Please introduce yourself to me if you see me around the area. Would love to meet you or any of the other posters here in person.
Captain Howard Hawrey April 07, 2013 at 04:54 PM
Let's hope the Teacher is smart enough not to take it out on the kid. And "Panther For Life" what is your excuse for not posting your real name?
John Doh April 07, 2013 at 10:54 PM
A first step to ending this fiscal mess would be combining Shoreham WR, Rocky Pt , Miller Place , Mt Sinai & what's left of Pt Jeff into ONE district , call it the North Shore School District with ONE superintendent & not at the pay of Bonasera who some how was paid more than the president of the United States if you can fathom ( as are hoden / higuera combined ) . Go to merit based pay , get rid of this cancerous Tenure that breeds the most unmotivated inept individuals you can possibly have in a capitalistic free market society , increase union members contributions to their health care & pensions & not like the last time where they kicked in an extra $25 bucks for healthcare & wrangled extra raises in lieu that will actually cost taxpayers even more. BTW- to the liberal teachers & union members/supporters , take a page from your president , he is donating back 5% of his salary to the treasure. How about Miller Place HS teachers kick back maybe 10% for the atrocious ratings decline of about 600 spots in 4-5 years. Do you think you actually deserve a raise for abysmal performance like that ?
Captain Howard Hawrey April 07, 2013 at 11:03 PM
Great Post John Doh! Only wish you and some of the others would post with your real names. You make great points but your credibility takes a beating. Enjoyed your post all the same!
Panther For Life April 07, 2013 at 11:24 PM
Welcome John. You fit in well. Im glad your drinking the kool aid that has been served. Enjoy the hate. Maybe uf you and the bunch gave a crap about your kids education you would not be filled with so much hate..
Captain Howard Hawrey April 08, 2013 at 12:19 AM
Maybe if you really cared about the Miller Place Community you wouldn't be filled with so much hate towards it's caring residents.
MP Majority April 08, 2013 at 01:06 AM
Captain, get off your revealing of names kick. I would never reveal my real name here since I have 2 children still in High School. The stupidity of revealing your name would surely be an invitation for retribution. 25% of our teachers (not unlike any other school district) and administrators should be purged, and by doing so, we wouldn't miss a heartbeat. Some of the Emails and letters that are sent home to my kids cease to amaze me - spelling errors, grammar error, incoherent thoughts. The system has created one of severe mediocrity, and one that comes at a high and annual increasing cost. Enough is enough. Let's band together and VOTE NO, and HOPE that we can somehow salvage our community from the ravages of corrupt, self-serving, "public servants".
MP Majority April 08, 2013 at 01:10 AM
Partner for Life, this is not about hating teachers. It is about hating a system that has been created by self-serving individuals that supports mediocrity, and rewards and benefits workers in a down economy, and totally puts our kids on the back burners. If you cannot plainly see evidence of this, then it is you who is drinking hallucinogenic kool aid. We want our district back, we want to be educating our kids, we don't want to be subsidizing what has become a high-priced welfare state.
Captain Howard Hawrey April 08, 2013 at 02:18 AM
I'm calling BS on your comment. I also have 2 children in the high school. If you can't stand by your comments with your name in the words of Animal House 1978, " your worthless and weak", I totally agree with your comments but they have no back bone if you don't use your name. If you are "ascared" (that's afraid and scared at the same time) just say it. Are you that afraid of retaliation? If you are we have a big problem in our district. One I'm not afraid to address and take on!
Christopher Frawley April 08, 2013 at 02:23 AM
Captain, you're absolutely right. We may not agree on everything, but we're not afraid to try and make this dialog constructive by using our real names. MP, Reddawn, Doh, Justin, Panther, and others grow up. I'm sure your rhetoric would be a lot more measured and people might be more open to your comments if you stopped hiding. The way it stands now, you have zero chance of changing anyone's minds. You're just cheering each other on with the same old thing (teachers and admin out of control). Honestly, it's boring. It's like graffiti, we have your tags. If it were all only that simple. Yes, we need accountability, but the idea of running schools like a business shows how little you know about education. Names please, otherwise you're all just a bunch of whiners with issues.
Captain Howard Hawrey April 08, 2013 at 02:29 AM
Thank You Sir for Understanding My Point!
MP Majority April 08, 2013 at 10:36 AM
Why on earth would I ever subject my kids to retaliation due to my beliefs?? So, you want me to mention my name here, so my kids get shut out of AP courses, don't make teams, or lose points in class? Seriously, do you think I'm that stupid? Certainly, I'm not the one that needs to grow up; it is you guys that need to understand the realities of life. Believe me, I've been around long enough to know how it all works.
MP Majority April 08, 2013 at 11:22 AM
Education is a business....we are supposed to be in the BUSINESS of educating our children, and not in the business of subsidizing unions and administration first. Mr. Frawley, clearly you don't understand the principles of Economics, and the issues of accountability and metrics. FYI, this message board is read by many teachers, administrators, students, and taxpayers alike, and I'm here to open people's eyes and educate everyone, and not be a conned member of the masses who follows the herd blindly. And believe me, just because you added your name to your profile, doesn't make your argument any more believable. As a matter of fact, the argument could easily be made that you are looking to coo favors for yourself or your children in the district with your status-quo-is-acceptable stance. Keep paying your annual well-above-the-inflation-level-annual-taxes, and when MP is a ghost town and your home is worth half it's current value, you can continue to proudly post your name on this board.
John Doh April 08, 2013 at 02:17 PM
Who ever wants to post with their names you're entitled but to dismiss anonymous posts as somehow less valid is ignorant. Besides the aforementioned potential retaliation towards students there are also professional , personal & social reasons to remain anonymous. IMHO the TOTAL TRUTH comes out when you can post with no fear of reprisals . Keep in mind all you need is some off kilter demented , laid off , terminated school employee to wig out & cyber stalk or worse. Quite frankly I could care less who uses their names , the posts are either worthy or garbage & there is very little chance I'd be breaking bread with some stranger because they prefaces a post with his or her ID. If anything I prefer not to know. Less pompous that way. There you have it , the other side of the coin.
John Doh April 08, 2013 at 02:27 PM
Agree 100% the constant droning about revealing names is tiresome & you wonder if there is some other hidden agenda at play here. For instance I'll play the bad guy against the budget & see if I can expose the negative posters. Keep fighting the good fight MP M.
MP Majority April 08, 2013 at 02:57 PM
Agreed, John Doh. To make matters worse, some of the posters above (and you know who you are) don't even reside in Miller Place any more.....talk about the ultimate hypocrisy. There are many factors as to why people move, but the single biggest reason is typically that taxes are way too high.

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