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Proposed Miller Place Budget Includes 22.5 Teacher Layoffs

25 total staff reductions and elimination of entire Middle School Athletic Program among cuts in first proposed budget.

The Miller Place Superintendent's proposed budget for the 2012-13 school year does not exceed the tax cap, but includes over 24 staff reductions and many academic, athletic and extracurricular cuts.

Superintendent Susan Hodun and Deputy Superintendent Marianne Higuera presented their proposed budget to the Board of Education, teachers and community members in attendance at Wednesday's first Budget Workshop at the .

The proposed budget of $64,681,269 is an increase of just .67 percent from this year and includes a 2.6 percent tax levy, the maximum allowed for the district under the new cap.

Among the many cuts in the proposed budget is the elimination of 22.5 full-time teachers and 2.5 clerical and support staff members, which would save the district $1,910,670. Seven co-curricular reductions include high school drama and robotics and Middle School National Junior Honor Society. The cuts would leave just four clubs each at the high school and middle school.

Another controversial reduction in the budget is the elimination of the entire athletic program, which would save the district $162,505. The announcement of these reductions was met with dismay by many parents and community members.

"If youre going to cut all the sports from the middle school I can't imagine the backlash, I think that's unacceptable," Miller Place parent Pete Conelli said. "What are these kids going to do all day? When I moved here nine years ago I picked this community for the school system and I hope I didn't make a mistake."

The community members were not alone, as board members also questioned the cuts proposed. After the presentation, board trustee Brian Neyland received a number of ovations from those in attendance as he challenged a number of aspects of the budget. He vowed that he and the board will do everything possible to find the funds necessary to save the programs currently on the chopping block.

"When we look at eliminating middle school sports...and then when we look at all the programs also eliminated, it adds up to 257,065 dollars," Neyland said. "That's less than one-third of one percent of our entire budget. I have to believe that in a 66 million dollar budget we can find 257 thousand to keep those progams. I think we have our work to do to try to find at least [that]."

The board assured the community that things can be done to save the programs and reminded everyone that this budget is not final.

“At this point in the process, everything is on the table,” Board President John Magnani said.

The budget overview is available above in PDF format. All budget information has also been made available on the district's website.

The next budget workshop is scheduled for March 7 and will focus on the Instructional (courses, etc.) portion of the budget.

ted ratter March 04, 2012 at 04:49 PM
Check out Miller Place Payroll http://seethroughny.net/payrolls/schools/ After all these years of us approving budgets and helping them make great salaries along the way. It's time for payback! %10 cuts from $100,000.00 earners and higher. Top 4 earners make over $1,000,000.00 (one million) combined.
Alpha March 04, 2012 at 05:29 PM
How much does it cost for the district for all of the state mandated tests? The schools are responsible for the testing booklets, scantrons, and providing subs for when the teachers are grading them. In these dire times, maybe this is what should be cut first.
ted ratter March 04, 2012 at 05:44 PM
Alpha, In 2009 the household income for Miller Place was $106,424 AND THAT is likely a "two income family". I'm going to estimate your salary alone is somewhere around $60,000.00. give or take a few $10,000.00 Now look below... Check out Miller Place Payroll http://seethroughny.net/payrolls/schools/ After all these years of us approving budgets and helping them make great salaries along the way. It's time for payback! %10 cuts from $100,000.00 earners and higher. Top 4 earners make over $1,000,000.00 (one million) combined.
Wlodek March 04, 2012 at 08:48 PM
Alpha, As much as unfunded mandates are a problem the main thing is that the contracts are unaffordable. What the community expects is that the employees of the district are not exempt from the hardship many in the community experience. This is a fairness issue. For example, freezing the salaries in MPSD would save $1.9 Million, which is close to the $2.1million needed to preserve programs and all the jobs.
Wlodek March 04, 2012 at 08:57 PM
One could not say it better.
Wlodek March 04, 2012 at 08:58 PM
Agree with you again.
Prince March 04, 2012 at 10:42 PM
If you compare the amount of Superintendents in MPSD to Mt. Sinai our district has 3 and Mt Sinai on has 2. If we are talking about saving money Susan Hodun, Interim Superintendent contract expires June of this year. No reason to renew or make the position permanent. Our district is not big enough to justify the need of 3 superintendents. With this cut along we can save our district over $200k. I read an add from the North Shore Sun dated 6/23/11 and it was tiltled Hodun won’t become permanent Miller Place superintendent next year. Please read on next Commet
Prince March 04, 2012 at 10:44 PM
adds like this are the ones that make me upset and makes me wonder if the BOE is looking for the best interest of our students or looking for the best interest of the school administrators. Please read add. With the possibility of a superintendent salary cap coming down the pipe from Albany, Susan Hodun will not immediately become Miller Place School District’s permanent superintendent when her current agreement expires June 30. The board announced in December it would not conduct a formal search for a superintendent, but would rather give the job permanently to Ms. Hodun, the district’s interim superintendent.But at Wednesday night’s meeting, the board unanimously appointed Ms. Hodun to remain interim superintendent for the 2011-12 school year.Board member Michael Unger said if Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to cap superintendents’ salaries based on student enrollment becomes reality,
Prince March 04, 2012 at 10:44 PM
Ms. Hodun may have the opportunity to earn more money if she served in a different role.“We said we’ll give you another year to see what shakes out with Cuomo,” Mr. Unger said. “It’s a wait-it-out tactic.”He added that the board “has confidence in her,” and agreed on the appointment is in Ms. Hodun’s best interest. “I fully expect Ms. Hodun to move into the permanent spot after this upcoming year,” Mr. Unger said.The district’s PR firm offered the following statement Wednesday: “Ms. Hodun has expressed her appreciation of the continued support of the Board of Education. While she is cognizant of the possibility of a superintendent salary cap, she requested an additional year as Interim Superintendent for a variety of reasons.”Ms. Hodun, who earned about $197,700 including benefits and overtime in 2010, would see her salary shrink to $165,000 under Gov. Cuomo’s plan. Ms. Hodun joined the district 21 years ago as a special education teacher at North Country Road Middle School. She has since held the posts of dean of students, assistant principal, principal and assistant superintendent.
ted ratter March 05, 2012 at 03:10 PM
Prince! Now we are talking, but how do we get the word out about her status and how much she makes? Miller Place tax payers are too sleepy to pay attention and there are even a few who desire higher taxes for other reasons. I think a good place to start is to get the word out about salaries. They are public employee's and their payouts are public record. I don't begrudge them their money but many are living at levels way over the top to live comfortable on Long Island - unlike the people paying their salaries.
ted ratter March 05, 2012 at 03:13 PM
Her money is listed wrong... It's $227,727.00 for 2011. That's her lastest
Wlodek March 05, 2012 at 04:20 PM
To all, Although I agree that MPSD needs concessions from the administrators, one needs to understand that there is not much money to be saved there, as the MPTA, i.e. teachers contract is where the real savings are. I also believe that if the MPTA does not renegotiate the contract others won't, again because this is where biggest savings are. If you want to see a superintendent's contract which is totally out of line take a look at Rocky Point as reported on the Patch,it includes private bathroom and life insurance for life: http://millerplace-rockypoint.patch.com/blog_posts/open-letter-to-the-rocky-point-board-of-education#pdf-9207379
Tom March 07, 2012 at 02:49 AM
For those who expect the BOE to "force" the teachers to give up what's included in their contract, "willingly" or not, they don't understand State Education Law, which permits the teachers union to stand still without EVER having to give up anything. If the teachers union (as well as the Administrators) had the children's' interest in mind, then they would find a way to work with the BOE to keep the programs from being cut.
Captain Howard Hawrey March 07, 2012 at 03:19 AM
You are "spot on" there will never be any concessions. Once the agreement was in place our residents are required to honor it. We caused this mess by refusing to say and vote no over past years when we should have done so. A school district unfortunately is not a "regular business" where the business would have the option to shut down unless there was a renegotiation of the union contract. The administrators and teachers have the community just where they want us. With no out from them and threats of cutting kids programs. BOHICA!
Carol March 08, 2012 at 12:55 AM
As a resident and former teacher I have to say that there is definitely some skewed information presented by the administration. The Miller Place teachers are one of the best bargains in town if not the island. Miller Place teachers salaries rank among the lowest on Long Island (as per the last 2011-2012 Long Island school budget release). Check local districts salary scales, especially Mount Sinai. While I agree that some concessions should be made, part of the problem lies within the inflated central office. Central office administrators have given themselves significant pay raises over the past few years and have several confidential secretaries making over 100,000! This information is kept quiet and not presented yet it is public information, look it up on seethroughny.com! Not one cut to central office or concession by administration, is this a joke?!?! The teachers gave back almost 3K last year while administration all took an unreasonable raise yet we jump all over the teachers because that is the information presented by the board and admin.
Lulu March 08, 2012 at 03:10 AM
Thank you Carol!!!
Captain Howard Hawrey March 16, 2012 at 06:26 PM
Please explain how the posts here are putting the kids in the middle. Isn't it the Board of Ed, the Teachers Union, and the Administration putting the kids in the middle when they publicly announce their threats of having to cut teachers, kids programs, and kids sports? Isn't it these public threats that are being used as a tool to reach at the heart strings of emotionaly concerned parents? Isn't it these same threats over numerous years that have help pass school budgets we couldn't afford then and cannot afford now? And who cares if the kids are reading this. They may learn that "money doesn't grow on trees". If the students 'really came first" we wouldn't be in the mess we are today. If you are a MPHS teacher I hope your not teaching Fiscal Responsibility!
Laura Gibbons March 17, 2012 at 01:31 AM
Ted just so you know - Stephen Scopa and Jean Thomas retired that school year and were paid a retirement incentive which is reflected in that number. The retirement incentive information is available in that contract. Not sure which others were retirees, but am certain of those two as I've heard this point made before and researched it myself.
American Vet March 17, 2012 at 04:46 PM
Ted you really need to do your own research and get your facts right. Stop asking people for a list and get it yourself. Thomas retired last year also. Maybe you should file a FOIA request so you can get that info? Looking back on the posts here and other threads you are not making a good case for a common cause. You appear to have a chip on you shoulder. Our causes may be common but the way we go about it is very different. The community votes and that's the way it goes. You may want to give it a break, not a brake. Lets talk about Matt Clarke since you are naming names. I had 2 children in his class years ago and guess what, he was smiling then. Perhaps he liked his job enough to forego the salary that many of his peers received. Please forgive him and any other citizen of this country for trying to get ahead or enjoying their job. From now on all public employees must frown. I see you feel ok with a teacher salary in the 54-80k range. Maybe you should get a job setting the pay scales of all civil servants? Put the "servant" back in the job so to speak. You also state you live with neighbors paying 21-30k in taxes. I could only guess that you must be paying those taxes also. You must have a very big house to pay that much. I have lived in MP for almost 30 years now and my taxes are still below 9k. Of course my house is clean not huge You should try grieving those taxes before you ask civil servants to take pay cuts and pay more taxes to subsidize your living standard.
American Vet March 17, 2012 at 05:11 PM
To continue, public salaries are now public record, like it or not. Why don't you stand up at the next board meeting and introduce yourself and state your salary for all to hear. If not, we can only think that you also could be a "crook or a borderline crook looking to crook" as you said before since you don't like to state your salary. I will then stand up at the microphone and state my salary. Although I am a disabled vet and don't work, I have no problem letting the audience know who I am. Maybe you think my pay is not worth the sacrifices I have made. I also have no problem working towards a solution to our budget problems. I do not resort to scare tactics like you telling people they will need to rent out their homes to multiple families, saying "I got to tell my kids we got to move because it's daddy's fault he never said no". Maybe you should move if you can't get satisfaction by the democratic way we do things here.
Americanvet March 19, 2012 at 01:43 PM
Ted I don't think I understand your comment. Are you saying you like to get men excited or you like to get people to hate you? Or both? Well the first thing I am not into so lets leave it at that. And hate is a very strong word that I have no use for either. The only time a man got me excited was when my pilot pushed over at 47000 ft in a dive for the clouds with a bad guy on our tail. I thought the wings were going to come off. Now that was exciting. I don't for a second believe that you care about what I or any vet or public employee has done for their country or community. But thats ok since we take those jobs because we love them, not for recognition. We know it is not the path to riches. Lets face it, the school tax is the only thing we can really have a say in. And the people will speak in May. Just last week my wife of 40 years and I closed on our new home in San Diego. We will miss Long Island but not the troubles of getting off it. I have a 45 Cabo waiting for me and some tuna waiting to be chased. You have a nice life and remember, if you are enjoying your freedom, thank a vet. If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you are a bitter person, blame yourself.
Frank Esposito March 19, 2012 at 03:12 PM
Sorry about that testing but I could not reply. my first time commmenting not just reading. I too think Americanvet's comments have been very hypocritical. I also don't understand that second coming comment about her kids crying about mommy's job at night. There are a lot of non-teachers out there if not more who have kids crying also about their parents job. I don't see her point there. Do you?
Frank Esposito March 19, 2012 at 03:21 PM
oh i'm also a bit baffled why americanvet plays around with the sexuality stab at that rattter guy - whoj by the way I don't think is one person. rAtters comments seem to cover to much stuff for one person I'm a little taken back by how much insight is there. perhaps an agitator actually in support of the schools a reverse phyc thing?
khogangirl March 19, 2012 at 08:16 PM
I just read a piece by a teacher from miller place (somebody appeared to know it was her. Her piece was we don't see the trees for the forest in Mt. Sinai schools . I'm very upset to read that she told people like me to cut out the starbucks to pay for something more important which was her job teaching our kids. My husband took at 30 thousand cut in pay because overtime was stopped at his job. Then took a part time job at a large home improvement store in riverhead to make ends meet. How dare she lecture me about how to spend our money and what is important. Our tax bill in miller place nearly double in 15 years. A friend told me to come here and see this ranting mad man commenter. Yea he is ranting like a lunatic but he is making more sense than most people here. I'm sorry but I can't vote yes to any budget that includes any increase at all. My family has reached a point were we are counting every penny.
Angela March 27, 2012 at 12:58 PM
I agree!!... one answer comes to mind when he says..".I have to believe that in a 66 million dollar budget we can find 257 thousand to keep those progams. I think we have our work to do to try to find at least [that]."...... HOW ABOUT getting rid of TWO OF THE THREE SUPERINTENDENTS?? THAT will give you close to $500 THOUSAND RIGHT THERE!!! This district is making me sick!!
3kids April 04, 2012 at 03:37 PM
I agree. It does the students no good to have 3 superintendents in such a small district. We are no the sachem school district. There is no need for more than 1 superintendent. ALso, why can't they merge the principle job at AMPS and LADSB? Back in the 1970-1980's, there was 1 principle for K-6; without an assistant principle or "dean of students" for 3rd-5th graders. These cut backs would be huge administrative savings that will not affect the kids. All I know is that this district has "tanked" "under Hoden's guidance, over the past 7 years. Cutting teachers and increasing class size isn't going to help...
3kids April 04, 2012 at 03:51 PM
Administrators should take the SAME federal and state pay freezes other public employees have had to endure the past 2 years and possibly the next 3 years.
localmom April 23, 2012 at 11:45 AM
The unions of today are not like the unions of long ago where they shared your more noble values. Today, they are a pyramid/ponzi scheme where the top feeds off the bottom. Those poor, newer teachers have to make a deal w/the devil (the public sector union--which by the way is slightly different from private sector unions) and pray that they don't lose in the end. Those newer teachers can be the most gifted, sought-after teachers in the entire district (like we have in RP), but have "only" worked in the district for 9 years. So....it's off you go while the rest of the members demand yet another raise...and the union bosses, who make their living off of keeping members disgruntled, keep their pretty hefty perks and bennies, too. Why everyone points to the superintendent's salary, but not the union bosses' is beyond me.
Wlodek April 24, 2012 at 10:54 AM
localmom, have you seen this blog? http://millerplace-rockypoint.patch.com/blog_posts/miller-place-teachers-association-wheres-the-beef
Janet April 29, 2012 at 01:40 PM
I've been voting NO on the Miller Place school budget for 35 years and for 34 or those 35 years it has passed the first time. Only once, that I can remember, when 17.5% was being sought did it get voted down but they went back and asked for 12% and it went through. Perhaps people did not understand how much money and benefits the teachers & administration recieved or because they put fear into the parents about the lose of certain programs. Unless more of the taxpayers go and vote little will change in the education kingdom.

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