Challenge to School Budget Arises Targeting Teachers

Posted on 07 May 2010

flyer

by Marissa Maier

With barely two weeks left before the Sag Harbor community votes on the school budget, an anonymous group of parents, who have dubbed themselves “The Reality Bandwagon,” have penned and distributed fliers around town critiquing the teacher’s union.
“What do you want to say to TASH?” asks one handout. “Vote May 18th. Pierson Gym,” it continues.
For many district residents, the 2010-2011 budget vote scheduled for May 18 is no longer about casting an aye or nay ballot for the proposed fiscal plan. Instead, those disgruntled by the portion of the budget devoted to salary increases, retirement contributions, and health benefit payments — coupled with ongoing negotiations for the teachers’ contract and a staff-wide raise freeze — see the vote as a way to express their dissatisfaction with TASH.
“The vote could go down because of unhappiness,” community member Nada Berry remarked at a budget forum held on Monday evening. School superintendent Dr. John Gratto and school business official Janet Verneuille had wrapped up a presentation on the spending plan for next school year moments before.
“People feel powerless,” resident Alexandra Eames noted. “Different aspects of the system are not functioning as well as they should be. I felt the only way I could voice my feelings is through the vote.”
Eames joined a few other locals who attended the meeting and are worried about their escalating taxes, not only school tariffs but town taxes as well. The tax rate levy increase for the $31.5 million budget is proposed at 10.16 percent for East Hampton town residents and 12.79 percent for Southampton residents.
“People are sensitized [right now]. I look at my food bill. The economy has left everyone a little raw and it affects everyone psychologically,” Eames added.
Verneuille noted the pension system is out of the school’s hands as the state determines the district’s contribution rate. The pension system is also dependent upon the health of the stock market. Next year, the school expects to pay $1,616,500 in retirement contributions for all school employees, representing an increase of $418,919 over last year’s budget.
“I live in the community and I am a taxpayer. It may make people feel better to say ‘no’ but voting down the budget won’t change these problems,” Verneuille said.
In a later interview, she noted that the school can cut costs for health benefits if the board negotiates the ability to offer a variety of medical insurance plans to teachers. The school expects to pay $3,023,000 on health and dental insurance next year accounting for an increase of $351,539. This is coupled with increases for salaries of around $927,850, which will bring total salary expense to $17,329,665. The retirement contributions, insurance payments, and salary benefits account for the three major increases in the 2010-2011 budget, said Verneuille. She added that approximately 75 to 80 percent of the budget covers staffing costs, though she noted “this makes sense when your product is the students.”
The board is hoping each school employee, including custodians, administrators and teaching assistants, will agree to forgo raises, and step increases for the teachers, for the next school year. The measure will likely save the school roughly $1.1 million. Dr. Gratto said on Monday that the school’s attorney is still in the midst of discussing the idea with the bargaining unit’s representative, who represents the teachers along with the other school employee unions.
Some members of the community are infuriated that the teacher’s haven’t led the way in agreeing to the wage freeze. The Reality Bandwagon highlighted articles in other publications discussing how educators across New York State — in districts like Brentwood and Roslyn — agreed to hold their raises in order to save positions. School board member Mary Anne Miller was in the audience on Monday evening and was careful to point out that some of these agreements hinged upon the fact that theses raises would be paid retroactively in the coming school years.
“I think the discussion tonight speaks to everyone’s concern about the sustainability of the school … Any other school board that makes a deal in a month isn’t looking outside the box or trying to change the culture,” she added. “[But] I don’t think the vote should be a statement on the impasse. Let the board deal with that.”
PTSA president Colleen Grigonis however expressed concerns that if the budget fails on May 18, it will only hurt the students. The board has the opportunity to put up the budget for a vote two times. If both votes fail, the board will have to adopt a contingency budget, meaning an additional $1,649,790 would need to be shaved off the $31.5 million budget.
“I think everyone sees their vote as a statement,” Grigonis said in a later interview. “My core group, we are all affected by the economy. It is hard for my husband and me [to pay the increase] but we think it is worth it for education … We are all worried whether [the budget] is going to pass.”

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42 Responses to “Challenge to School Budget Arises Targeting Teachers”

  1. art says:

    I love the superintendents who say “the state sets the pension”. The pension is based on the best 3 years of pay, and the poor negotiating(if you can even call it that) of the superintendents and boards of ed(mostly lawyers/real estate people married to teachers- or teachers themselves- certainly self interested parents) in all the districts of NY from here to Buffalo have gotten us into this mess.

  2. Resident says:

    This is the most ridiculous thing in the world. Why don’t the residents of Sag Harbor all take a pay freeze to help the budget. The teachers of Sag Harbor are doing a fantastic job with our students, stop blaming them. I do not understand why you are all so quick to blame the teachers. Take a good look at what the board and the superintendent are doing to this school, then you will thank the teachers for holding it together as long as they have. I will vote yes because they have trimmed all the fat and I want to preserve the programs.

  3. Sagharborite says:

    I do not know if this is accurate, but a teacher told me that most teachers at Pierson make $3,000-$8,000 less than the average of teachers of similar experience in the surrounding local schools. Doesn’t this mean they have taken a pay freeze at some point in the past?

  4. saggish says:

    sagharborite: No it doesn’t mean they took a pay freeze. it means they don’t work for a richer district like east hampton. by the way, does anyone know the total cost to educate each student in sag harbor? How does that number compare to other districts?

  5. Elementary School Parent #1 says:

    VOTE YES

  6. saggish says:

    Just as a convenience, I did the math. if you add together the salaries, health and dental benefits, and retirement spending, you would get total compensation, right? Adding the numbers from article above, puts next year’s total comp at 21.97 million, up from 20.0 million this year, a GAIN OF 9.8 PER CENT! Does anyone know anybody else besides Sag Harbor teachers that will be getting a 10% compensation increase this year?

  7. TheHarborguy says:

    Vote Yes!
    We have the best school in the area and people wish that they could send their children to Sag Harbor Schools. This helps our real estate values.
    Vote Yes!

  8. Great school, great teachers, and a budget reflective of what is going on all over the east end and Long Island in general. For all the naysayers and tax packers — look at the numbers real close and look at the budget and tax change over the last five year period and you will see pretty good finances. As the wainscott superintendent said recently — he will use his remaining surplus this year to keep taxes down which means there won’t be any next year. He is a smart guy and I am sure he will tell everyone next year to average out the two year period and things won’t look too bad. That is what the administration should be doing in Sag Harbor for the last five years — if they do they will get all the yes votes they need.

  9. Harborite says:

    The TASH should do the right thing and offer to pay 1/2 of their medical benefits going forward. The rest of the world pays for it. The free rides of union negotiated entitlements for life have to end. Or else we all go bankrupt just like Greece is today. 1/2 of medical expenses will allow the teachers to still receive their contracted pay increases. It will save the budget the $1.6 million which is needed.

    VOTE NO if the TASH does not chip their piece.

  10. Parent says:

    Even though I have two children in Sag Harbor schools, I am voting NO.

    How shameful it is that all staff (not just teachers) can sit back and watch the entire increased amount of taxes proposed, if passed, will ALL GO TO THEM !!

    I am not going to live hand to mouth, pay increasing taxes, to make our teachers retire like millionaires!!

  11. Harborite says:

    I agree with Parent.

    A 60 year old who can retire receiving $75,000 a year for life (plus free medical), is EQUIVALENT TO HAVING over $2,000,000 in the bank!!!

    Our teachers (who do a great job) are no longer underpaid!!

    Guaranteed increases must end. Covered medical, dental, retirement MUST END.

  12. Elementary School Parent #1 says:

    If you want to talk overpaid – Suffolk County COPS are the highest paid cops IN THE COUNTRY and last I checked this isn’t exactly Detroit or East LA.

  13. Community Member says:

    For all of the people out there who are bashing TASH, why don’t you actually speak to students and get their opinions of the faculty? I know you’re all upset that teachers get the summers off and make too much money, but if you think they have it so easy why don’t you become a teacher? The staff makes up the majority of the budget because you need teachers to TEACH students obviously, where else would you expect millions of dollars to go to? I don’t think the problem over the budget lies with the teacher contract negotiations, it lies with the need to preserve programs for our students and keep Sag Harbor one of the best public school systems on Long Island. It would be a shame for people to ignorantly vote no on May 18th just to spite the teachers, think about the students please.

  14. Sag Harbor Resident says:

    The Reality Bandwagon members need a dose of reality themselves. If they really believe that young people are going to spend an absurd amount of money on their own educations, and then live and work in the Hamptons where they will never be able to buy a home of their own, just for the privilege of serving them, then they are the ones who need a reality check. How many of these angry parents live in million dollar homes? How many American citizens have a home with that much equity or more built up in it? Also, how many of these angry parents and/or their spouses are drawing money from a public pension which has cost of living increases built into it? Want to guess? The list is pretty long. Let’s see them ask the local police to take a pay freeze, as well as the highway department workers, and for that matter every other professional in the area. Sacrifices are always easy to make, as long as you’re not the one making them.

    You want to live in the Hamptons? Here’s a reality check: so does most of the rest of the country. Make sure that you can afford to do so. Would you walk into a Ferrari dealership with $10,000 to spend and then complain about the sticker prices? News flash, IT’S EXPENSIVE TO LIVE HERE, and in case you’ve been living under a rock for a couple of decades, it has been for some time!

    What many older, life-long residents out here are really angry about, although most of them won’t say it, is the fact that a lot of Wall Street money has moved to this area over the last 15-20 years, and THIS is what has driven the cost of living for middle income families through the roof. These costs get passed along in the form of every good and service that is delivered in this village. The truth is that property taxes in Sag Harbor are nothing compared to taxes in Western Suffolk, Nassau, and Queens. Not that you would hear this from a large, vocal number of the second, (or third, or fourth) home owners out here. They won’t be happy until they gentrify the area of every last middle class family that remains here, and succeed in turning the local high schools into a few more empty condominium complexes and golf courses.

  15. Reality Check says:

    Home values in Sag Harbor should not reflect wealth since the so-called appraised value does not mean an ability to afford that home, especially if one has been living here for a while. Year-round residents should not be compared to 2nd home owners. Many angry parents live in million $ homes, but cannot afford to buy a million $ home! i.e. you buy a house here for $300K 10 years ago, today it is worth a mill. Sell it and make some cake, then where do you go? Sadly many good locals will be forced to do that at the rate this budget is increasing.

    Yes, ALL public employees should take a pay freeze AND contribute more for benefits. Private sector employees have already for a while and will for many years. Many private employees are lucky to receive a 3% raise if their company is doing well. Not all of us work on wall street, thank God.

    So should we give up our town to wall street tycoons and only those who can afford to live here?

    Copied from http://therealitybandwagon.tumblr.com/
    SAG HARBOR MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME: $54,966*

    SAG HARBOR TEACHERS MEDIAN INCOME: $89,049**
    Without doubt, students benefit from happy teachers. And teachers are happy if, in part, they are fairly paid. Much, if not all, of the impasse between the Teachers Association of Sag Harbor (TASH) and the Board of Education has had to do with money. One would guess from the tenor that teachers are not being paid well at all. The numbers tell a different story. Which leaves us wondering, if the teachers’ median income is $34,083 greater than the population that is paying them, what are they complaining about?

  16. Harborite says:

    Teachers and staff should pay 1/2 of their medical benefits. Period. End of story.

  17. Clinton says:

    Our town can no longer afford the liability of covering all employees, active and retired, for a lifetime of healthcare costs.
    People now live into their nineties.

    Yes, all employees, current and retired, must contribute half of those expenses.

    There should be no law that says compensation must increase each year. Yet there is with teachers!!

    If we keep it up, take a look at Greece today. That is the United States’ tomorrow.

  18. Sag Harbor Resident says:

    If you own a million dollar home, and paid $300,000 for it 10 years ago, then congratulations, you’ve made a $700,000 profit at a rate of appreciation of roughly $70,000 per year! Do you actually believe that this is in any way reflective of what the rest of the nation’s home owners have been dealing with recently?! There happen to be many fine folks who work in this town that don’t own a million dollar home, or any home for that matter, and never will. There are also many former residents of this town, who had deep roots here going back hundreds of years and spanning generations who have since moved on and conceded the fact that the Hamptons have become an extremely expensive place to live. But like most Americans, a select few always think that they are special, and that the laws of economics should not apply to them.

    How many Americans have taken their families into the streets over the last year because the banks foreclosed on their $50,000-$100,000 mortgages? Care to opine? I’ll bet that every one of them wishes that they had the “unimaginable” option of selling a home that belonged to them worth a million dollars so that they could move to another place and shelter their families with such wealth. YOU ARE NOT SPECIAL. YOU ARE SIMPLY LUCKY, EITHER BY WAY OF TIMING, OR, IN MANY CASES, INHERITANCE! Nothing more. Deal with it. Your life could be a hell of lot worse.

    I am also very curious to know when the Reality Bandwagon will begin designing an addition to their website that expresses their populist outrage with local police departments where average salaries hover around $100,000 per year, after five years on the job… Probably not anytime soon, since many of their members are, uhhh, *cough* *cough* ahem.

  19. Reality Check says:

    Dear dear resident… no use trying to explain any more…you just don’t get the point and probably never will. So sad.

  20. another resident says:

    So by no fault of one’s own, and by luck or good fortune, or being in the right place at the right time, this person is house-rich, cash poor. The answer Sag Harbor Resident proposes is to sell one’s house to pay the bills and move from the Town they love and call home. So, I guess the Sag Harbor PUBLIC school district is now catering to the elite that can “afford” to live here.

  21. Sag Harbor Resident says:

    No, you’re right. That wouldn’t be “fair” would it? I suppose that for a select few people in America who live in one of the most affluent areas on the planet, the laws of economics should cease to operate, and every business and taxpayer-funded government institution should quit trying to address the reality of operating in the Hamptons for their benefit. Maybe all of the local gas stations can simply forget about their bills of lading and the fact that their businesses take a hit during the winter, and simply charge what the boys in Riverhead charge. I’m sick and tired of paying 30 cents more for a gallon of gas. Perhaps all of the local restaurateurs can do the same. After all, is it really fair to locals who can’t afford to pay an extra couple of quarters for a hamburger, slice of pizza, or soda to charge them those quarters? Think of the downtrodden masses for God’s sake! This goes for the grocery stores in the village as well. Where do they think I am going to come up with another $15 for groceries?
    You know, you’ve convinced me. I really think that it is time that every single business, as well as every single government institution in Sag Harbor woke up and faced the realities of my inability to pay for their services as a middle class person in these tough economic times. No more free rides for anyone. Carpenters here should start charging the same rates as those working in rural Alabama, same with plumbers, electricians, landscapers, automechanics, et al. Everyone of them should recognize that we average folk simply cannot afford any longer to pay their outrageous fees. After all, anyone can do their job, right? And don’t get me started on the real estate people. Do they really think that people earning less than $200,000 a year can come up with a $150,000 down payment and a $5000.00 a month mortgage payment? That’s 3 times the national average!!! Then we should tell the lawyers and doctors to take a hit too, since they are also highly replaceable, and their fees in this neck of the woods simply aren’t justifiable. Who cares what their insurance premiums, office rents, and staff salaries are? What about my inability to pay for them?! They should all get in line immediately and consider our fiscal situation. And how about superintendents of local school districts who make more money then the governor of New York State? I mean come on! Paterson took a pay reduction a year ago. Don’t they understand that I have children to feed?
    Yes indeed, you have converted me, I am on board now with the reality bandwagon. Can you guys let me help you to develop your website? I would love to make some enhancements and additions to it…

  22. John Battle says:

    Aren’t we having fun! We can have a candid, open discussion with bags over our heads so nobody knows who we are. And now, anyone can anonymously type up a flyer, advance an idea, claim to be a “group of parents” and bingo, Bryan will promote it on the front page of The Express. Not only that, the flyer gets printed at no charge at the top of this blog page. Then, “Reality Check” drops a website address into a comment above and away we go! Is it really a “bandwagon” of parents or just one intrepid advocate? Who knows? Isn’t it intriguing!
    We all should be impressed by this clever PR coup by an anonymous source, it’s a thing of beauty. Equally, we all should be troubled by the precedents being set by this approach to journalism and discourse. Bryan is moving away from openness and accountability and is encouraging voices with mysterious and exciting nick names to write without taking responsibility for their words. He is promoting and advocating ideas and attributing them to unnamed others. Neat.
    We have a budget vote this Tuesday, and it is NOT about TASH. The Board has put up a budget that will protect the many gains that our District has made and passing this budget would preserve a quality education for the children of Sag Harbor. Let the Board deal with TASH as they continue to find ways to cut costs and save money in these difficult times. VOTE YES.

  23. Bandwagon Wannabe says:

    Mr. Battle,
    I appreciate your distaste with the anonymity of some people on this page, but honestly do they have a choice? Freedom of speech no longer pertains. As one former teacher characterized it, they have a noose around your necks. It is not easy to say something against the teachers because they hold our most precious resources in their hands. think they don’t act out, that they are above it all? Please, I have seen it first hand.
    To say that the budget vote is not about TASH is just plain ignorant: 75% of the budget goes to TASH. 25% goes to student program. Let the Board “deal with it”? Like they have been “dealing with it” the past two years? Is there some secret negotiating tactic they have, other than caving to the pressure? Or falling for the NYSUT-underwritten “it’s all about the kids” propaganda? They are up against a very sophisticated and powerful machine.

    We can pass this budget and have the same discussion in a year about cutting more student programs to fund the salaries and pensions we have agreed to, or we can begin to fix it now. Long Islanders For Education Reform (LIFER).

  24. Clinton says:

    Yes, this vote is about the students.

    Trouble is, 100% of the increase in our taxes goes toward guaranteed raises, guaranteed medical insurance and guaranteed pension fund returns! That is the fact.

    Yet, if the voters understandably vote NO, the staff still get those raises. The student extracurricular activities is what will be slashed!!

    TASH, do the right thing. Immediately volunteer to pay just 1/2 of your medical benefits. That will save our town $1.7 million per year!

    Thank you in advance.

  25. Sag Harbor Resident says:

    It is interesting to see that bandwagoners are so concerned about their “precious resources” that they are not only willing to use them as props to insult their teachers in public, but are willing to vote to take away their sports and extracurricular activities to demonstrate their “tough” love. Not ironically, these are typically the same people who are the first to get their lawyer and threaten a lawsuit against the school district when their child doesn’t get the expensive extra help that they need in order to succeed. Yet they have trouble fathoming how educational costs can become so expensive.
    Anyone else notice, after taking a stroll through town and North Haven, how many “Vote NO!” signs are positioned in front of rather large and expensive residences? Sickening, but at least it is now out in the open for all to see and smell.

  26. John Battle says:

    Dear Bandwagon Wannabe, First of all, we certainly do have a choice! You should have the courage to make your case openly, forthrightly and respectfully. Your claim that “freedom of speech no longer pertains” is a cowardly posture, with all due respect. How convenient and cynical for you to explain away your accountability with the damning assertion that “our most precious resources” will be mistreated by our teachers! Please, this is as insidious as it is contemptible!
    I understand that you need to make this about TASH and believe me, I understand your need to call me “ignorant” but then, I’m afraid, you lost me. Over the past two years the Board has held to their negotiating position. How would you characterize anyone who asserts that over these two years the Board has been “caving to pressure”? Ignorant, perhaps, or simply misleading?
    This year’s budget reflects roughly 2,000,000 dollars in cuts and cost savings and it is a valiant effort, in very difficult times, to protect the quality in our schools.
    You know better, I am sure. You seek to kill this budget to get us to what you call our “second chance”. How does it work? What would have to be in place in the three weeks allowed before a second vote for you to support it? Or are you secretly angling towards a Contingency budget where teachers will be fired, programs will be cut back or eliminated and TASH and it’s “powerful machine” might be defeated? This is a very destructive approach to “fixing” things to be sure!

    Again, I say, let the board deal with the contract negotiations with TASH. This budget is about EDUCATING THE CHILDREN OF SAG HARBOR.

    VOTE YES.

    PS… You and the other members of your “bandwagon” (if there are any) might be wise to consider the example being set by the many good people in our community who openly stand up for what they believe in, whether in our schools or not. There are Board members (some with children in the schools), who are being criticized harshly and who cope with this very difficult climate with honesty, dignity and courage. There are teachers and administrators who carry themselves through this mess with professionalism and poise. There are countless examples of individuals
    who express themselves and take responsibility for their words and ideas, and yes, they use their real names! They are taken seriously a a result.

  27. Marvin says:

    Please, Mr. Battle. Listen up.
    You talk about the valiant cuts of $2million from this years budget.

    That is the whole point. That $2 million would not even have to be eliminated if we did not have runaway compensation to teachers.

    If teachers took a 10% pay-cut (that’s $1.7 million) and payed half of their medical( another $1.7 million) (like the rest of the real world), then no teachers or staff would have to be eliminated, no programs would be cut. Instead, we could ADD TO PROGRAMS!!!

    So yes, this is about that 80% of the budget that is off limits from cost savings.

  28. What says:

    Marvin, Then we would not have any teachers working here. They are already ranked 30 something on lowest paid on Long Island. No one went into teaching to get rich. Do you know what it costs to get a Masters Degree? We need to keep good teachers here to work with our kids. You get what you pay for. Stop blaming the teachers!!!!!!!

  29. another resident says:

    I doubt anyone is blaming the teachers. No one should be blaming anyone. There is much love for our teachers, the schools and our community. The issue is to find fiscally responsible solutions that benefit both taxpayer and employee. One is the means for the other. Unfortunately, focusing on salaries/benefits is taken as personal attacks, rather than a possible means to an end.

    The budget newsletter shows the major increases, totaling over $2 million, are for salaries and benefits, which account for almost 80% of then entire budget, so why wouldn’t any operation look at those areas, as well, for cost savings? I do fear that with so much $ swaying towards salary, program will eventually be sacrificed.

    I seriously doubt if anyone is angling to promote a contingency budget. Why would anyone want to promote the loss of jobs and program? TASH says to let the community decide; put forth the 12% levy increase and see if the community supports it. If the community supports it, in some of the most trying times ever, then the community supports the major increases in the budget as listed above?

    The only place one can have their voice heard with dignity is in the voting booth. And isn’t it great that there are 2 chances at this before going to contingency… If the budget does get voted down, the BOE can take a closer look at what they are asking from the community that supports the schools.

    Sag Harbor is a wonderful place to live and work. Let’s all help to keep it that way.

  30. Marvin says:

    Dear What:

    We are not blaming teachers. We are asking them to contribute to their medical benefits like the rest of us do (most of us pay for the whole thing).

  31. Clinton says:

    No one gets into teaching to get rich…BUT GUESS WHAT?

    A person who receives $80,000 per year for life, plus full medical, IS RICH !!!!

    That would require $2,000,000 in the bank for the rest of America.

    Any 60 year old with $2,000,000 in the bank IS RICH !!!

    So stop with the “poor teacher” line. Teachers can spend their entire paycheck on current living expenses.

  32. Proud Taxpayer says:

    Proud Taxpayers

    No one escapes death and taxes, right? Uncomfortable, perhaps, but taxes serve greater purposes: good roads, safe neighborhoods, and the education of our youth. As members of the commonweal, we are proud to pay our taxes to support these initiatives. But it is disheartening to hear from our teachers that they feel we are treating them unfairly. What do the numbers say? Below are the costs to the district of each individual full-time teacher, including salary and benefits. Duplicate numbers refer to individuals making the same pay.

    We aren’t arguing that teachers shouldn’t be paid well – they should, and they are. It’s when we find ourselves with a large number of senior teachers (See RETENTION) with six figure salaries and escalating health and retirement benefit costs. That’s when we have to ask ourselves how we can afford this model into the future. We are proud to pay for education, but please don’t tell us we are being cheap.

    TOTAL SALARY AND BENEFITS EXPENSE PER TEACHER:
    http://therealitybandwagon.tumblr.com/post/608705837/proud-taxpayers

  33. Hil says:

    I think it’s hysterical that you people think that teachers retire milionaires… Voting NO hurts your children. The district is placed on an austerity budget which cut any all programs down to bare bones. The only group that is hurt by a NO vote are your kids- NOT the TEACHERS. They are paid, by contract, regardless of a yes or no budget.

    The vote no people are a bunch of dumbasses.

  34. John Battle says:

    So today we vote and one more time the voice of the “Bandwagon” makes this vote solely about the teachers. Cleverly stirring the pot with an implied insult. “They” are calling us cheap!
    Of course finding our way forward IS about the teachers and the long term impact of their salaries and benefits and of course, the TASH leadership has been stubbornly holding their ground. But then so has the Board. Support this budget and allow the Board to continue to find ways to cut costs responsibly and enable them to continue to protect our schools.
      This Budget vote is about our commitment to the education of the children of Sag Harbor.
      Please Vote Yes.

  35. HJD says:

    It’s not all about the teachers; the budget says it is 75% about the teachers. Next year it could be 76 or 77 or…? Student program should be expanding, not decreasing. Voting yes throws away much of the leverage board has to resolve the contract. They need our support to hold the line and improve student programs. Vote no, hit the reset button, help improve our schools.

  36. another resident says:

    Voting no is tough, but it has to be done. The district needs to hear that they have to reign in costs and maybe then that will put pressure on the unions.

  37. Clinton says:

    Hil:
    What is so hysterical about the truth?
    If someone has an annuity of $80k per year for life, that is equivalent to $2 million in bonds at 4% interest.
    That is the definition of a millionaire.
    That is not hysterical, it is reality.

  38. Sag Harbor Resident says:

    Yes 1051 No 1021

    Better luck trying to destroy the school next year.

  39. Consider This says:

    Dear Clinton,
    Your theory might hold true if retired teachers didn’t have to say…eat, have shelter, pay taxes, etc. Give me a break. If teachers really had this millionaire thing cornered don’t you think more people would be signing up for the job. The reality is that teachers on Long Island are paid well and rightly so given the level of education that they have however they also don’t see more money in the good years. When all of the real estate agents, landscapers, builders,wall streeters make the big bucks in the fruitful years teachers keep getting their regular increases. No bonuses, no fat years. Those teachers that you speak of retiring with 80K a year have to have been teaching over 30 years and they deserve it. Also, they would have been Tier II teachers and there aren’t so many of them left. Bravo to the residents of Sag Harbor for voting YES for the children AND the teachers!!!!

  40. Pat says:

    Interesting. Tash has been saying for two months that it’s not about the teachers; now it is? I voted yes for the students.

  41. another resident says:

    The budget only passed by 30 votes. That also shows how many people are dissatisfied and can see where this is heading. I do hope that the BOE and TASH find lasting solutions, and next year we won’t be going through this all over again. I knew it was all about the union all along. Maybe a solution might be to keep raises at a sustainable level (even if pay has to freeze), and during better economic times have bonuses awarded to outstanding teachers? More incentive and innovation will help with greatness.

  42. Reality Check says:

    Very interesting. They sure fooled a lot of people, didn’t they?


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