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How are You Leaning on School Budget Vote? [Poll]

Yes, no, undecided? What do you want to know before you vote?

In three weeks, voters will decide the fate of a $137 million budget for the coming school year.

The proposed spending plan is a modest 2.3 percent increase over last school year's budget. It maintains all existing programs and staff and even adds Chinese foreign language studies to the High School. The tax levy increase is just under 2.5 percent. That's well under the state’s so-called budget cap.

In Plainview’s case, the school board could have increased the tax levy -- the amount to be raised by local taxes -- by 3.2 percent, and remained under the cap.

In simple terms, being under the tax cap means that if Plainview voters pass the budget on May 15, it goes into effect. If the district had exceeded the cap, the budget would have to pass by a super majority of voters in order to take effect. In simple terms, it could have been a mess.

Have you made up your mind?  Yes or no?

Are you undecided: Do you want to know more; what specific questions would you ask?

If you want to examine the proposed budget, click this link in blue.

Take our poll and sound offer your questions in the comments here.

Gone April 25, 2012 at 04:49 PM
@Tom, Just because I have a different opinion than yours does not mean I have not done my homework. We can debate the use of the word gem, but that was not the main point of my post. The point was everyone should review the budget and ask questions and not just blindly vote. If someone does not agree with your position – that does not make them a fool.
merry l. April 25, 2012 at 07:38 PM
And so what if ACDS leaves. They are paying a measly $400,000/year to rent Fern. With an operating budget og $137 Million, this figure is a rounding error. I have only recently become a homeowner in Plainview and therefore only recently began attending board meetings. At first blush I am disappointed. The members seem to pass everything. The one time a member tried to dissent she was given glaring looks until she acquiesced. The board decided to put the parking lot item into the budget but chose to leave out a request for a slightly larger sum to upgrade the athletic field. While the athletic field will only benefit student-athletes, the parking lot benefits no one. I sympathize with the homeowners on Orchard and Forest as they are hit with a double whammy. John's Farms encourages their employees to park on these streets and so do frustrated shoppers who cannot get into the lot. Coupled with the people who don't even try to get into the lot at Fern there is an abundance of vehicles vying for parking spaces. For those of you following along on your Google maps, the proposed lot, if made according to code, will only add about 30 spots. This will not relieve the parking problem in this neighborhood. And I want to know why every school-agead child is getting bus service. With gasoline and diesel over $4/gallon why aren't those who are able, walk to school? A district in NJ cancelled bus service and is saving $300,000+/year. (That's 3/4 of the rent @Fern.)
merry l. April 25, 2012 at 08:02 PM
And for Tom, I used to walk my dog over at Fern and it's a dangerous street. The southbound drivers see the light on Old Country Road and speed up, blowing through the stop sign. The people leaving the school don't think the stop sign applies to them. Both north and southbound traffic think that the signs don't apply if school isn't in session and many ignore them even when it is. Go take a look.
Jas April 25, 2012 at 08:35 PM
Tom, from the beginning, I have said that my issues with this parking lot has nothing to do with the occupants of the school and its special needs population. You, sir, are a nimrod. Do not assume you know anything about me because you don't. I hold several licenses within the education field and I choose to work as a Special Educator because that is where my heart is. So don't assume anything or pass judgement on me or on my opinion. I guess I have just learned that I should not try to reason with an unreasonable, ignorant person.
Tom April 25, 2012 at 08:36 PM
If $400,000 is a rounding error then $80,000 isn't even worth talking about. And 30 spaces is enough to fix the parking at Fern Place.
Tom April 25, 2012 at 08:38 PM
I'm not sure what the stop signs and poor driving have to do with building a parking lot. But I have lived in this area for 50 years and can't think of a single serious accident along that street.
Tom April 25, 2012 at 08:49 PM
How sad that when a person has no argument they revert to insults. I did not assume anything about you other than what you wrote. I did not insult you. As to your opinions, I will pass judgement on them and express that judgement. As to you as a person, I would never revert to calling you "nimrod" or "ignorant".
Jas April 25, 2012 at 08:50 PM
So Tom, I guess we should wait for someone to get hit by a car. As Merry mentioned, many times we have to jump back when walking along the street or crossing the street because of the entitled few who feel that they can just go through the stop signs. Particularly on Friday's, when everyone wants to get home. But you must now best since you've been living in this neighborhood for 50 years.
Jas April 25, 2012 at 08:53 PM
Tom, as you quoted, "Jas wants people to park on the street in front of people's houses. That is an absurd idea. And Jas fails to realize that many of the people who are driving to the school are parents bringing their pre-K aged children to the school for services. Does he expect them to park 6 blocks away and carry their three year old child to the school?" I take extreme offense to this statement.
Tom April 25, 2012 at 08:53 PM
As you say, it is the entitled few. Guess what? You can find those same entitled few at nearly every stop sign in Plainview.
Re April 26, 2012 at 12:57 AM
It is time for all the taxpayers in the area to examine the budget. You might be shocked as to what you find. Why after all these years does my old high school,now a middle school have the same old windows. As for scholarship money all the school districts boast of their awards.
Simba April 26, 2012 at 01:28 AM
Re Even if you do find the BS in the budget what choice do you have. School Districts have the ability to get their budget even if they don't win the election, If I remember correctly it happened in two or three districts last year. So what can we do when our own (cough) representatives FAIL to support us in trying to authenticate our School Budgets. Do you really suppose the SD really fears us and what we think. Have you ever gone to a meeting with them and come away with anything your way. The amount of corruption, inflated spending, we need a Federal audit.
merry l. April 26, 2012 at 03:31 AM
You are correct in that a parking lot will do nothing to improve poor driving. There are daily accidents at the intersection of Orchard and Old Country. Just ask Dr. Reis. BTW Mr. Dempsey said that ACDS did not ask for the parking lot, a resident did. Could that be you?
Tom April 26, 2012 at 03:51 AM
Daily accidents? Really? Whoever told you that is wrong. The accidents that occur on Old Country Rd. are mostly at the intersection of SOB Rd. And no, I did not request any parking lots to be built.
Re April 26, 2012 at 08:32 PM
You can challenge them in an appeal to the Commissioner of education in Albany. You need to watch the timeliness factor of an appeal Residents from this area appeal and sometimes board decisions are reversed :For example Comsewogue residents in Suffolk county got the board to reverse a land sale that was not properly handled..(Pursuant to Education Law §§ 310 and 306) Education Law §310 provides that persons considering themselves aggrieved by an action taken at a school district meeting or by school authorities may appeal to the Commissioner of Education for a review of such action. In addition, Education Law §306 allows the Commissioner of Education to remove a trustee, member of a board of education and certain other school officers for wilful misconduct or neglect of duty. Procedures for the presentation and defense of such appeals and for the conduct of proceedings for the removal of school officials are contained in regulations of the Commissioner of Education. Special procedures apply to appeals involving homeless children and youth (Information on filing an appeal involving homeless children and youth). Effective December 21, 2010, special procedures apply to appeals involving New York City charter school location/co-location and building usage plans (Information on filing an appeal involving New York City charter school location/co-location and building usage plans). The link is http://www.counsel.nysed.gov/appeals/
Tami April 26, 2012 at 11:46 PM
This whole thing is completely ridiculous and it should not happen at all. In fact, when the lease is up, we need to get them out of this location so we can get our street back. These people will keep going with plans as long as we let it happen. All the plans must stop!
Simba April 27, 2012 at 01:13 AM
Re I am talking about the budget in whole. Give me an example where on LI a school district was defeated and when the SD brought the vote back they didn't win. They almost always win. As of right now 16 SD's are saying they will raise taxes above the cap. So where did that get us.
Peaches April 27, 2012 at 01:32 PM
With regards to the Fern Place Parking Debacle: 1. spending $80 grand on a parking lot seems absurd in these fiscally tight time-unless it is absolutely necessary..a)If we have those extra funds, it would seem that bringing in a "half" teacher would be of better use. b) yes, $80 is probably a drop in the bucket within our budget and will cost the taxpayers of Plainview -what? another $2.00 for the year? c) while I haven't looked a aerial views and clocked the extra numbers of cars trying to park at the school, I wonder if this is a constant number of spots needed throughout the day, or just a certain times? I wonder how much of a study was really done on this. If It is for dropping off parents, wouldn't it be better to build a drop off area, like Pasadena and Strattford have?
Peaches April 27, 2012 at 01:33 PM
continued...I feel for the People who live on the street, both those who will now be looking out their windows at a parking lot that is 10 feet from their house as opposed to when they bought their house and it was 30 yards from it. _Big Difference. I also feel for the people who live across the way, but interestingly enough.. I haven't seen any of them complaining about the way things are now. 2. If this parking lot is absolutely a must, then studies should be done to make it the least intrusive for the people who live near the school. Would you want this mess in your front yard? -And while I do understand that if you buy a home in front of a school, you have to accept that things like this happen, I also think that the board has not explored all ways to skin this cat. In addition, I can't understand why the board if they are building it to insure occupancy, why they wouldn't want to secure it with a new extended lease to insure they weren't building a new lot for a building that will become empty in 3-4 years. While the tenants are not paying that much, a lot can happen in 3-4 years. Finally I think this situation needs to be explored further before the monies are earmarked. Perhaps like all so many other issues that homeowners bring up,- the board should spend the next year, "looking into it."
Peaches April 27, 2012 at 01:37 PM
Sorry correction. " for a building that "COULD" become empty in 3-4 years.
JOE April 27, 2012 at 01:45 PM
The one thing that looks as though it has been proven is that Our normally fiscally irresponsible BOE has been forced to trim the budget because of the 2% cap. What concerns me is that the labor contract is still unsettled and almost 10 months late. No one is talking about it as it appears to be kept a secret. The last contract, the BOE caved in to the PCT when other districts were freezing salaries. What is the board going to do now .Is the Board going to play with the budget numbers to get raise in ? I wonder The 2% cap has been proven to be a sucess in the first year.
Tom April 27, 2012 at 04:28 PM
The building is for children with disabilities who are pre-k so it isn't a matter of just dropping them off. Parents have to park and then bring them to the classroom. And truthfully having a parking lot across the street from your house during school hours would be much better than having people park in front of your house so I really don't see a problem with this from that point of view. And I'm sure the board didn't just come up with this out of thin air. I am sure that have been looking into it.
Tom April 27, 2012 at 04:29 PM
Plus, over the life of the lease they will have given us $4,000,000. Spending $80,000 to give them a better parking lot doesn't seem like a major sacrifice on our part.
Peaches April 27, 2012 at 05:55 PM
Yes, I agree, spending the money to keep the tenant is not a bad idea. but, with such a short lease left It seems irresponsible to me not to get a commitment for a longer lease if we are going to invest the money. As to John at 9:45am.. I agree, as usual residents are kept in the dark as to what is going on with the teacher's contract. I believe it has to do with how the negotiate. The POB is a Very strong union (as was told to me by a syosset teacher) and Mr. Rosenfeld is a bright man and a very strong negotiator. I don't know how he does it, but our teahers teach less hours than surrounding districts and he seems to get what he wants. Two years ago the teachers got everyone in the community aware of the failure in contract negotiations by picketing and wearing black. That I am sure was part of his plan. I'm not sure there is anything the community can do at this point except hope that the board members hold firm and look around at other districts. It seems that with so many teachers out or work, and the economy in such a shambles that we would have the upper hand. But I am sure there is more to this than meets the eye.
G April 27, 2012 at 07:27 PM
Tom, after reading your comments I went over there myself yesterday to see what the dynamics were when the children were dropped off. The overwhelming majority were bused. The parents that did drop their children off parked around the circle, walked the children in and left. There was no long line of cars dropping kids off. The main congestion were the buses. Furthermore, I did not see any children being walked for blocks to get to the school. I saw the teachers and other workers park along the Pasadena border on Fern Place and along Orchard Street. I did not see anybody coming from as far as Forest or Atwood. They all seemed to find parking between their current parking lot, Fern Place and Orchard Street.
G April 27, 2012 at 07:28 PM
As for the $4,000,000 over the life of the lease. That is great but the lease is almost over. My point is why are we building a parking lot now instead of spending this money on the children of POB. If they want to renew a long term lease and the parking lot is contingent on that, then I would probably agree that it would be in our best interests to keep them there as tenants. However, this is NOT the case as we sit here today. From what I understand, the ACDS is not even the ones who requested the parking lot. According to Mr Dempsey this was put on the budget because a homeowner or two in the area requested it so there would not be any cars parked in front of their home. That $80,000 may not be a major sacrifice on our part but it is not necessary. That is my point. It could be much better spent for our own kids rather than the courting of a tenant who apparently did not even ask for it to be built. That money could be spent better to upgrade athletic fields, fix the leaking roof in the wrestling room at Mattlin, hire an additional part time teacher, put air conditioners in about a hundred classrooms district wide or many other possibilities.
Tami April 28, 2012 at 02:42 AM
We should not support the school for extending there lease. They need to move to a bigger facility so that every aspect of there needs are met. They have taken over our street. Between buses, day care program, after school programs, weekend programs and now the congestion of sports this is not a residential street it's central station. We need to stop the building of this lot and then stop a new lease .
Jas April 28, 2012 at 11:16 AM
Tom, I never realized street parking was consiidered to be our personal parking. As you said, "And truthfully having a parking lot across the street from your house during school hours would be much better than having people park in front of your house so I really don't see a problem with this from that point of view."
Tom April 28, 2012 at 01:04 PM
And what do you think the street was like when that was an elementary school? Are you suggesting we abandon the building and give up $400,000 so that you can have peace and quiet?
Simba April 28, 2012 at 02:40 PM
Why are we fighting over 80000 when we should be asking for complete transparency and independent audit over the entire budget proposal. This is a sure fire way to distract and conquer. We sit here worrying about the little things and they will get exactly what they want in the end. Don't get me wrong, I completely agree with you that when you visit the schools, does anything look as if they have put any money into the structure of the schools. I bet they look exactly as they did when they were built. Nope instead they want to spend money in ways that allow for some to slip through here an there. Demand an independent audit, hell demand a Federal audit. What do they have to worry about if they aren't doing anything wrong.

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