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Rocky Point Board Adopts Superintendent's Budget, Will Pierce Tax Cap

Board of Education adopts Superintendent's proposed 2012-13 budget which pierces the tax cap but retains all programs.

The Rocky Point Board of Education adopted the 2012-13 school budget at Wednedsay's board meeting, a $71,574,012 budget that includes a 3.2 percent tax levy increase.

The budget is a 2.9 percent increase in expenditures from last year and retains all programs. With a levy increase that exceeds the State mandated tax cap of two percent, the budget will need to pass by a supermajority of 60 percent. Last year's district budget, which included a tax levy increase of close to five percent, passed by a 67 percent supermajority.

"I'm very pleased that the board adopted the recommended budget," said Superintendent Michael Ring. "It’s a budget that’s consistent with what we’ve done in the past which is very efficient [with] expenditures at a 2.97 percent rate and is also very efficient with the tax levy at 3.2 percent."

The Board also adopted the property tax report card, which Ring said compares favorably with many other districts.

"You’ll see once the property tax report cards are published that there are a lot of districts that may not be piercing the cap but have increases that are even higher than 3.2 percent," he said. "And there are still many that are higher than 3.2 percent and are piercing the cap."

It was also announced that two seats on the board will be up for election in the May 15 vote. Trustees John Lessler and Scott Reh will be up for re-election. The Rocky Point PTA will be hosting a Meet the Candidates Night on May 3rd at 8 p.m. in the auditorium. The Sound Beach Civic Association will also hold a Meet the Candidates night at the on May 14.

What do you think of the adopted budget for the 2012-13 school year? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Jessica Ward April 22, 2012 at 11:05 AM
A few responses: Matt D: I am not a teacher in RP or any other district. I am a SAHM with four children, two in FJC and two more still at home with a background in management and a degree from a 4 yr liberal arts college. J: If I can't afford to go to Disney--I don't go. Not sure what that has to do with a discussion about the budget but you asked. J: I'm just confused as you say if there's no kindergarten you'll put your house up for sale. That is what you meant isn't it? But you don't want to pass the budget because you think the district is not cutting enough from the budget, right? So if they cut kindergarten will that be good enough for you? They'll have saved the district money by either going to half day or no kindergarten if the budget doesn't pass by a super majority or if it doesn't pass at all. So you're all for cuts, just not where they affect your family. My point was that if the cuts you want are made now, they will affect someone else's family. My original question to you was, when your kids are in school will you still be advocating for the same cuts or will you be singing a different tune then?
AnotherLocalMom April 22, 2012 at 11:48 AM
RPMom, again you're not getting what's being said. J didn't say he doesn't want kindergarden or doesn't want to pay for it. What he doesn't want to pay for are the out of control salaries and benefits. If the Board would look at the contracts there would be more than enough money for all the programs needed for the kids and still be able to give some relief to taxpayers. For example I read that the teachers currently only pay 15% of their health inusrance and if they would pay 25% it would save the district $800,000. I think this more than would cover the proposed cuts that would allow Rocky Point to stay under the cap without any cuts. Most people in the private sector pay more than the 25%, some pay for all of it, while at the same time we have to pay for benefits we can only dream of. J, you're right to be concerned about where things are going. I've been here for a long time and think it's a beautiful place to live. But my oldest, who is graduating soon, probably won't be able to live here after he graduates from college. He won't be able to afford it. I really feel for young people starting out forced to leave. And, J, you're also right. The place to have any impact on this is at the voting booth and vote no!
Frustrated April 22, 2012 at 12:04 PM
Wake up people. Dr. Ring gave himself a huge salary increase plus a car alltment and many other perks. The president of the United States doesn't make as much as Dr. Ring. We have WAY to MANY ADMINISTRATORS in the district. CUT some of those positions. I have been in RP since the early 70's, the more administrators we have the more confused the system has become. Art has been cut from the budget for 6th & 7th graders some years ago. Not every child thrives on music and sports. Its time to let the BOARD know that there are way too many administrators with salaries way over 250,000- 350,000. WE DO NOT NEED ALL THESE ADMINISTRATORS. ITS TIME TO CUT MANY OF THESE POSITIONS NOT TEACHERS or SUPPORT STAFF. THESE are the TRUE people ON the FRONT LINE OF YOUR CHILD'S EDUCATION. AT 12,000. a year in school taxes I can't afford to pay any more taxes. BOTTOM LINE, GET RID OF THE DEAD WOOD IN ADMINISTRATORS. Why should DR. Ring get a car allowance of 700.00 per month The rest of us have to pay to get to work & we get paid a hell of alot less than Dr. Ring. ROCKY POINT RESIDENCES NEED TO WAKE UP!! Whose in CHARGE the TAX PAYERS OR THE BOARD OF EDUCATION???????
Sound Pointer April 22, 2012 at 12:22 PM
John Doe, I believe you are missing the point. Yes, as you say, it is important for schools to teach children the importance of voting! But how dare schools teach children and, through them, tell their parents HOW to vote, as SashaK noted: "Furthermore..I feel it is highly unacceptable that the teachers are pushing on the elementry children that their parents have to Vote YES on the upcoming budget." What so many American men (and, nowadays, women) have and are fighting and dying for is democracy, not totalitarianism. In the U.S., schools and their teachers should not be in the business of telling children and their parents how to think about any issue, including those pertaining to school districts.
john doe April 22, 2012 at 12:29 PM
Why don't teachers just pay 100% of their benefits and work for minimum wage? I'm sure the field would really attract the best and brightest. The fact is that there is a market and RP is at the lower end of that market. RP teachers paid 15% into benefits for years while everyone else was paying 0-10%. STOP comparing teachers to the private sector when that is not what they signed up for. Teachers signed up for security with slow increases in salary and solid benefits. Earning potential in the private sector is what makes it attractive. Unfortunately, right now times are tough in all sectors. Teachers are earning less and getting laid off all over the island. Hopefully the government will bail us out--nope, the private sector millionaires will just control the media and the governor, leading to debates such as the one we are having. RP is slightly piercing the cap. The 1.3% increase (over the cap) is not going to be too heavy a hit on 70% of your tax bill. 70% of a $10,000 tax bill is $7,000--1.3% increase on the school's portion of that bill is less than $95. That is asking people for less than $9 a month to help your local schools survive the economic crisis. Please vote yes and let my kids attend kindergarten like yours were able to.
john doe April 22, 2012 at 12:33 PM
While there is some truth to quantity of admin in RP. I believe the superintendent is the only one making over 250k, and he is not at 300k.
Ernestine Franco April 22, 2012 at 12:48 PM
John doe, no one is saying they should pay for all their health insurance and benefits. Why do you go to the extreme? What is needed is a dialog and compromise from all sides. I do not think asking them to pay 25% for their heath insurance is asking too much. The district pay $6.8 million for the health plans. The taxpayers are paying the biggest part of the amount. Asking for the teachers, administrators, and staff to pay for 25% seems like a reasonable compromise. And as far as your suggestion that they are being asked to work for minimum wage, again that is an extreme statement. Here are some salary ranges: 23 people are making between $125,00 and $160.000, 32 peopole are making between $100,000 and $124,000, and 128 people are making between $75,000 and $99,000. And that is for 10 months' work. The Long Island Index lists $52,000 as the average wage on Long Island, which is at a 10-year low. These salaries are so far above minimun wage that your statement is absurd.
john doe April 22, 2012 at 12:59 PM
"Sheep boy" comment very cute. I guess the hardworking middle class in the public sector, and the children attending our schools, should just continue paying for the mess that we did not create. We were not the ones acting with excessive greed when this country's economy collapsed. For that, take a look at the 1% who control your media outlets and have you brainwashed to hate us. YOU"RE BLAMING THE WRONG PEOPLE! And that pension that you are cursing was the most successful program in the world before the private sector ruined it. And yes teachers pay 15% into medical not including any dental or eyewear. Sorry that you did not choose a moderate salary with good bennies, but that is why teachers go to school and invest thousands into their future. Go vote no with your selfish anger! But on the way home you better stop and curse out the gas station owner who are making you pay 100 times more than your local teachers ever will.
J April 22, 2012 at 01:22 PM
John doe, you're not a rational person. No point in arguing with you.
john doe April 22, 2012 at 01:25 PM
Mrs. Franco, My going to extremes is to try and prove a point. You want 25% this year and then will want 35% next year. What is absurd is that you come around every spring and attack a noble profession. I do understand that you have a right to your opinion in a public discussion, but when the same person persists year after year, their argument loses a little of its voice.
john doe April 22, 2012 at 01:27 PM
Not rational, this coming from the person calling me "sheep boy"!
AnotherLocalMom April 22, 2012 at 01:51 PM
John Doe, what your comment says to me is that you really don't think Mrs. Franco has the right to express her opinion year after year in a public discussion. I've been at board meetings and have been grateful to Mrs. Franco for having the courage to speak up year after year when many of us (myself included) did not have the courage to do it. At the last board meeting Mrs. Franco brought up the issue of health insurance. In response a teacher got up and 'boasted" that IN 1999! they gave up dental and vision. I don't think asking them to pay a little more 12 years later is asking them to make concessions every year! It's possible that when Mrs. Franco first started talking about these things people weren't listening. But those were different times. Today many of us are suffering and the teachers and administrators just keep wanting more at the same time saying it's about the kids. If it's about the kids, take some cuts from your salaries and avoid cuts to programs.
Captain Howard Hawrey April 22, 2012 at 03:06 PM
Is there a teacher in the RP School Distrct named John Doe? It sure sounds like there is from reading these posts. He is taking a "classic give nothing back" union stance. Can't say I blame him. Nobody wants to give back. But the reality of the situation of the LI school budgets is that they need to.
MPmustChange April 23, 2012 at 12:53 PM
J: You make perfect sense to most. If I where you, I would vote NO as well. To vote yes because you are scared to lose all sports and all after school clubs and programs is just flat out wrong. Vote Yes this year only to have it all cut next year. Your budget (as the rest of LI school districts) are unsustainable. Going over the tax cap is taking the easy way out.
MPmustChange April 23, 2012 at 12:55 PM
Catain: John doe might just be a Jane Doe. But clearly a teacher. I hope everyone can see what you see. Such a shame
Alicia Palifka April 23, 2012 at 04:43 PM
Hum..seems to be John Doe is a teacher and my guess is he is a teacher in the elementry school.. If so "John Doe" do you think it is proper for you to be so nasty to people here like I can see you often are...You seem to be so sure that we are all able to pay extra money. Well the news flash is this...EVERYTHING has gone up so that claim of $9.00 is only in ONE area. We now all have to pay more for food,gas, electric, oil,.cotton. (Clothing...toilet paper etc)..Medicare/Medicaid cuts/health premiums went waay up.Let's not for get the taxes are still higher this year than the previous years.Let's not forget the $25.00 park access TAX now.
Alicia Palifka April 23, 2012 at 04:59 PM
On a positive note....I love how 98% of the teachers on the FJC Rocky Point District teachers individual E-Board pages have taken the time to list so much information. It's so great when *most* of the individual teacher pages are filled up with so much detail..class lists..informative lists of websites to help the students...It's wonderful to see how *almost*all of the teachers care by putting up so many informative boxes.Then there are those few that just do the basics..
Alicia Palifka April 23, 2012 at 05:11 PM
Welcome J..... I already know I want you over for dinner!!! I love everything that you have said!!!
Alicia Palifka April 23, 2012 at 05:21 PM
John Doe..You should pay 15% into medical. What makes you so special that you should have it for free UNLIKE the rest of us.. MY insurance just sky-rocketed so we can now be a wonderful(sarcasim) part of the piece of that "fair share" pie so why shouldn't you pay up as well!! You have quite the superior attitutde. You are not the only person who has spent thousands to get a degree.
Alicia Palifka April 23, 2012 at 05:21 PM
I'm with you J.. That is indeed the way.
Diane Blythe-O'Brien April 24, 2012 at 10:28 PM
While I'm not shocked by all the negative comments regarding the actions of the Rocky Point Board, what amazes me is why these exorbitant budgets keep getting passed in the first place! The changes that have taken place in this District over the past 10-20 years is beyond comprehension. Which is not to say that this insane budget has, in fact, made for a better School District at all! Rocky Point appears to have become an area where the middle class can no longer survive. It's become either a haven for rental houses that have multiple families living in them (with children going to the schools but the parents NOT paying school taxes). Those landlords who own the rentals are paying school taxes based on property size, not the number of children within the household. I recall a time when the district did go to austerity and, guess what, we survived quite well. Mention austerity now and you see a look of horror on the faces of many who've lived here 10 years or less. Mention the continuation of the contract we have with the Shoreham-Wading River Library--a contract supported and voted for each year by the residents, and many don't even realize they're voting for continuation of said contract! In the time we've been paying Shoreham-Wading River for use of their library, we could have built a better library for ourselves! Action must be taken by the people. Depending on Town legislators to restore some sanity to this area is foolhardy. They're busy grandstanding!
Full Support April 25, 2012 at 01:29 AM
I must say how incredibly saddened I am by reading such negative posts. I have had only the best experiences with the Rocky Point elementary schools and hope that the opportunities will not change in the future. If you vote "no" to the budget, you are essentially saying "no" to the future of our children. You are punishing the hard working teachers who are losing their jobs as well as the incoming Kindergarten students. How very shameful. YOU can control what happens and can vote YES to support the children of our community.
Alicia Palifka April 25, 2012 at 04:54 AM
@Full Support..That is wonderful that you have had the best expierience at the "Rocky Point elementary schools ". But for the record there is only one Elementry School in the district..I think it is safe to say that the community does not want to see the loss of Kindergarten nor the loss of teacher jobs. What the community does want to see is our tax dollars being used wisely. Possibly a "No" vote would encourage reigning in on some expences. Each year the homeonwers taxes continue to rise and it is becoming unaffordable to make it. It is quite frustrating to see the tax payer covering the costs of the non-tax payer. We are expected to just shut up and pay up. Well many of us have been doing that for a long time and there comes a time where fiscal accountability should take place.In this economy..teachers aren't the only ones losing their jobs.
Diane Blythe-O'Brien April 25, 2012 at 11:21 PM
Thank you SashaK. It amazes me that everytime a resident questions the ever-escalating budget for Rocky Point SD it comes down to loss of jobs for the lowest paid employees of the school district. That is NOT what those who oppose continued escalation are referring to. The distress comes with the higher paid members of the school district, and despite the continuous assertions that salaries for these members is somehow acceptable and in line with other school districts is self-serving at the least. We (the residents) have heard this same rhetoric for far too long. There's a reason why residents are expressing their distress and exasperation in greater numbers. The actions of the Rocky Point School District is making it more and more impossible for said residents to survive in an area we've called home for many years. It's got to stop.
Ernestine Franco April 26, 2012 at 11:44 AM
John Doe, So you are afraid of new concessions being demanded every year? I guess you would support the following expenditure that we taxpayers are being made to pay every year: Since 1999, which is as far back as I can document, the district has paid the full (teaching) salary for the union president. Last year this was $92,264 plus benefits. The union president is only contractually required to teach a MAXIMUM of three classes. The rest of his/her "teaching duties" are spent doing union business on school time. I think a union president should be paid for his/her work,BUT NOT BY TAX DOLLARS. TAX DOLLARD SHOULD BE SPENT ON TEACHING OUR CHILDREN. A ball park figure: We are probably paying this union president $60,000 plus benefits to do union business. Sound fair to you, John Doe?
Alicia Palifka April 26, 2012 at 12:36 PM
THANK YOU Diane Blythe-Obrien for the support!!!t It means a great deal to me that there are a few people listening who get it and appreciate what is going on here...I feel it is time for some serious fiscal responsibility. When I was growing up there were the same amount of teachers per student ratio. What we didn't have nor did most was the additon of 2 teachers per classroom unlike what we have today.Back then there were only possibly 2 Special Ed classes. Now it seems there are so many inclusion classes and "confined classes" along with a class where the spanish children are learning English of which such class requires a spanish /english teacher.(hum..are they homewoners or renters/are they even legal residents of the USA).Since I AM A TAXPAYER as are many others we have the right to question anything and everything and to expect fiscal responsibility!~
Diane Blythe-O'Brien April 26, 2012 at 10:15 PM
Hello, Sasha. My children were in school during the times you're referring to. At that time, RockyPoint SD was still considered a district most parents would move to Rocky Point to have their children attend! It was considered one of the better districts around, with a well respected Music program and terrific programs for gifted and special ed students. One thing it didn't have was a football team.....and could anyone say what percentage of our tax dollars is going to support said team? From the tone of the comments posted, the majority of those commenting KNOW that change must be made. So I ask again, WHY do these ever-increasing budgets keep getting passed? Could it be that many taxpayers are so completely fed up with being taxed into poverty, they've given up. Or could it be that many residents are simply too exhausted to fight due to working two or more jobs just to cover their taxes and mortgages to continue living here.
chris schu May 14, 2012 at 08:56 PM
just got an annoying call to vote Yes for the Rocky point budget
fedup May 15, 2012 at 11:30 AM
Maybe a pay freeze or pay cut after all the district says " It's all about the children" Time to practice what you preach, Take a pay cut to keep the programs and other employees working. Federal Employees have not had a raise in over 2 years and it looks to keep going that way for a couple more. We all need to sacrifice in these hard times, I know My family has. I will vote NO to the budget, as No raises in this household for the last couple of years so we adjusted OUR EXPENSES to match our income. TIME FOR THE DISTRICT TO LEARN WHAT WE ALL KNOW AND DO......
Willie May 15, 2012 at 06:41 PM
FYI: Dr. Ring made $221K in 2010-2011 s per Newsday list. See link (subscription required) http://data.newsday.com/long-island/database/?pid=373&brand=newsday&searchField=School_district&q=rocky+point

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