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With Budget Failed, What Should Mt. Sinai Do to Save Programs?

After tax cap-piercing budget fails, what actions should the district take in order to preserve vital programs.

The Mt. Sinai School District proposed a budget that pierced the tax cap, and it failed Tuesday after the community did not give it the necessary 60 percent supermajority approval.

Now, the administration and Board of Education must put together a budget that does not exceed the allowable cap of 2.13 percent for the district.

Concessions were made before Tuesday's budget vote from both the Mount Sinai Teachers Association and administrators. A renegotiated teacher's chontract gave back a total of $6.4 million to the district, and the current adminstrator give back is at $3,500, while discussions may still be ongoing.

In previous budget presentations, Superintendent Anthony Bonasera mentioned that without piercing the tax cap, the district would have to make significant cuts to clubs and athletics. A budget fact sheet available on the district's website (attached) reads that with a failed budget would result in the loss of 14 elementary school clubs, 20 middle school clubs, 15 middle school athletic teams and six high school athletic teams.

What do you think can or should to be done in order to save these programs? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Megan Kolsch May 16, 2012 at 11:03 PM
I have no idea why any discussion regarding cutting clubs, athletic team would even be on the table. We pay over $20,000 in taxes what is going on here? I do not accept this whatsoever, go back to the table roll up your sleeves, take multivitamin and figure it out. Consider deeper salary cuts perhaps custodial staff, aides, or yes EVEN more cuts for the teachers/Administrators. We moved here for the school district, what is going on at these meetings? I work two jobs and basically problem solve for a living where is the brainstorming here? Where is the creative thinking? This will pass
Tom May 17, 2012 at 12:07 PM
There is none. All they know is take, take, take. When their kids are out of school they sell their homes and leave the community. What most people fail to realize is the taxes keep compounding year to year. Your house value went down but your taxes went up. Go figure!!!!!
rita book May 18, 2012 at 01:53 AM
"The board's postions was, we will give you an opportunity to vote on the existing program, which in order to fund it we had to pierce the cap...and the community spoke," Bonasera said. "We had almost 2,400 votes, probably 1,000 more voters than we’ve had in prior elections, of that 968 of them were parents of kids in school." Bonasera points to the older demographic of the community and a lack of voting from the younger residents as reasons the budget did not garner the support it needed in order to pass. "The younger people aren’t voting," he said. "I don’t know if it’s a situation where they think it’s going to pass or they’re saying 'my vote doesn’t count', but their vote does count." The Board of Education and administration will hold an executive session on May 22 to discuss particulars of the new budget. A public board meeting is scheduled for June 13, a week before the budget re-vote on June 19. Bonasera said it is possible there will be another public session beforehand, but nothing has been decided yet.
Tom May 18, 2012 at 03:19 AM
No matter what you say they don't know when to stop. If 70% went to the kids and 30% to the others I would vote yes but it's the other way around and it AIN'T worth it.
Middle Class M.S. Mom May 19, 2012 at 06:48 PM
I'd be happy to vote yes once I see the administrators give us a REAL give back. Like, how about cutting some of the ridiculously excessive admin positions in this district. I'm not sure about the High School, but a K-4 elementary w/ 3 "Principal" positions & a Junior High w/ 5 "Principal / Dean" positions is absolutely ludicrous! The amount of administrators in this district is just not sustainable, well.... it is.... as long as the taxpayers are willing to keep footing the bill. I want to see the excess 'excessed' and a pay FREEZE. They claim everything is "for the kids", but the reality is that they'd rather cut education programs, than not come home with their planned pay raise this year. When, that song changes I'll vote yes.
work,live&lovein mt sinai May 20, 2012 at 01:51 AM
They have Deans in the Jr.high???
Tom May 20, 2012 at 02:30 AM
Right on Middle Class Mom, I agree 120%.
Young Parent May 20, 2012 at 03:18 AM
The top earners of Mt Sinai School District in 2011 (data from SeeThroughNY - http://seethroughny.net/payrolls/schools/): Bonasera, Anthony J $407,090.00 Jensen, Linda F $208,577.94 Williams-Timo, Deena L $199,302.33 Mantone, Stephen E $187,266.00 Gentilcore, John C $182,497.00 Reh, Scott C $173,547.00 Labianca, Frank N $172,176.00 Dyroff, Matthew J $170,838.00 Grable, Robert M $169,179.00 Matthews, Andrew E $168,423.00 Shapiro, Peter G $166,458.94 Dwyer, William M $163,786.25 Nau-Ritter, Glynis M $163,702.00 Cardo, Roger P $160,367.00 Finnican, James B $157,424.07 Heil, Christopher W $157,176.00 Murphy, Robert J $152,167.66 Kulik, Gary J $150,604.25
Anton May 21, 2012 at 03:44 AM
They're gonna tell you to drink less coffee, because that's the real root of the problem. Our selfish need for Starbucks shouldn't get in the way of a quality education!
Middle Class M.S. Mom May 21, 2012 at 03:59 PM
To: work/live&love... There's 1 official Principal, 1 AP & I was told by a middle school parent that there are 3 ex-gym teachers that are no longer teaching, but currently acting as unofficial "Deans". That is just hearsay, though. I tried researching through the school's web site, but it only lists info for Principal & teaching faculty there. If anyone else has more info. Please post.
JohnRP May 21, 2012 at 04:30 PM
So the teachers give back over $6 million, yet the administrators only come up with $3500???? There is something really wrong there, especially considering the teachers are the ones who actually work with the students. Maybe it should start at the top, Bonasera.
work,live&lovein mt sinai May 21, 2012 at 07:34 PM
No it is true...the deans I spoke to someone who works in the high school... sadly it is very true....why so many administrators
Con Cerned May 23, 2012 at 02:23 AM
I guess the emphasis is on sports and clubs. So don't cut them. If you can't figure out there are too many administrators and they don;t have the kids education first, their pay check comes first, then you must have been in one of those clubs instead of learning reading, writing and of course arithmetic.

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