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Polansky: Progress Made, Much More to Accomplish

In letter to the editor, Huntington schools superintendent thanks community for support throughout the year.

June 18, 2012

 

Dear Huntington Students, Staff, Parents and Community Members:

It has been a busy and event-filled year that will soon come to a close as we say farewell to Huntington High School’s Class of 2012.  It seems like only yesterday that I drafted a letter thanking all of you for welcoming me into the Huntington school community.  I write this letter with gratitude for the support that you have provided me and for each other throughout 2011-2012.

I am proud of the progress we have made, yet realize that we have much more to accomplish.  Our students have experienced success in the classroom, in the arts, and in athletics.  Our graduating seniors will be moving on to some of the finest post-secondary institutions in the country, many with scholarships in hand.   Student achievement in all disciplines has been impressive, whether associated with nationally recognized science research and history competitions, math Olympiads, essay-writing, mock trials, award-winning musical performances and artwork, or state-recognized athletic performances. 

We have worked together to build and support a 2012-2013 budget that will keep our outstanding programs and support services intact, despite the relentless impact of a broad range of costly state mandates and non-discretionary financial obligations.  We have constructed multi-year capital improvement and technology plans to ensure that our facilities are appropriately functioning and that we are able to prepare our students for success in a constantly changing digital environment, as well as enhance our ability to communicate with district constituents both rapidly and accurately.

Nonetheless, I am well aware of the challenges we currently face and those that are likely to lie ahead.  We live in a time when financial challenges are the norm and education is under constant scrutiny.  The tax cap era has commenced, so we must continue to plan and manage our budgets responsibly and with efficiencies in mind.  Additionally, we have important work to do in terms of facility use planning and maintenance.

Performance accountability is undergoing a transformation statewide, with a more significant and appropriate focus on college and career readiness.  We are working to finalize an Annual Professional Performance Review Plan for teachers and administrators.  We are also in the final stages of formulating a Response to Intervention Plan designed to better ensure that every child receives what he or she needs, both academically and socially.  Dignity for All Students Act guidelines, along with locally developed practices and curriculum adjustments, will help us to maintain an environment in which all students have the potential to thrive. Curriculum writing and professional development will continue to foster instructional program alignment with the Common Core Standards, as well as with the demands of an increasingly technological society.  And all of this just scratches the surface …

Once again, I am grateful for your support throughout the year.  Huntington is a wonderful place to live and to raise and educate a child.  I look forward to our continued progress as a district and to working together in the years to come.

Please enjoy a safe and relaxing summer.  I extend my heartiest congratulations to members of the Class of 2012!  

Sincerely,

James W. Polansky

Superintendent of Schools

2 Turn Tables June 20, 2012 at 09:12 PM
"We have worked together to build and support a 2012-2013 budget that will keep our outstanding programs and support services intact" - like a full day of Kindergarten? Success can be judged on many different levels. While surrounding districts have a full day, we do not. I call that a major FAIL. And remember, the teachers received a "contractual increment", not a raise mind you on salary and benefits. FAIL.
Jim June 20, 2012 at 10:35 PM
Most districts no longer have full day Kindergarten. I believe Northport, Harborfields, and Elwood all have no full day. What surrounding districts are you referring too? What is your point on salaries? Are you saying that a new superintendent that came into a district in the middle of a contract could do something? Both your so called fails make absolutely no sense.
2 Turn Tables June 20, 2012 at 10:43 PM
CSH, S.Hunt, Northport, and Syosst. , Here it is Jim... More money for less work. Real simple. To applaud one's performance for less work while paying more is a fail Jim. I had a full day of Kindergarten, maybe if you did too, you, would have figured it out.
Jim June 20, 2012 at 11:07 PM
I find it very ironic that you are going to use CSH and Syosset as examples. Break out your check book and double your taxes if that's what you want. I am not saying half day kindergarten is ideal but if you loom at Harborfields as an example they are pretty low on the per pupil spending and very high in results with a half day kindergarten. I can't believe you used Cold Spring and Syosset as a comparison I bet Polansky and the Huntington teachers would love to have those superintendent and teachers contracts.
Jim June 20, 2012 at 11:08 PM
What do you mean more money for less work?
2 Turn Tables June 20, 2012 at 11:09 PM
Jim, more money for less work. I don't care how you size it up. Until he brings back a full day, there is no joy in Mudville.
2 Turn Tables June 20, 2012 at 11:12 PM
$1.2 million for salary and benefits increases per the budget that was mailed out. 1/2 Day of Kindergareten. Spin it anyway you want. Kids are getting a 1/2 day of schooling in K. Are you a teacher Jim? Why this fierce defense over something this obvious?
Jim June 20, 2012 at 11:13 PM
What does more money for less work mean? That comment makes no sense.
Jim June 20, 2012 at 11:18 PM
I am not a teacher but you do realize Kindergarten teachers don't leave after half a day they teach a whole other PM class. You could not pay me enough to teach two sections of Kindergarten. With full day Kindergarten you need to double the amount of Kindergarten teachers and increase salary more. You sound like an idiot you are throwing out numbers but making statements contradicting your point.
2 Turn Tables June 20, 2012 at 11:34 PM
Jim, read closely... 1/2 day for kids. That is an education that is 1/2 of what its supposed to be amongst its peer group. The UFT canabilzed their own, hence the kids are short changed. Jefferson has 30 non- English speaking kids coming in next year. Suffice it to say, there is not enough tax revenue to pay theses teachers, but hey, free stuff for anyone and everyone!
Jim June 20, 2012 at 11:47 PM
Again the majority of schools don't have full day kindergarten. You want to talk about teachers and contracts but you used Syosset and CSH as examples. Last time I checked Polansky was not making 500 plus and you we are not paying near what Syosset and CSH pay in taxes. I agree with the need for a full day kindergarten but something tells me you would not be willing to pay for it. Which brings me to my only fail for Polansky's only fail. He should have pushed to breach a unconstitutional 2 percent tax cap. Maybe then we could have had full day kindergarten.
2 Turn Tables June 21, 2012 at 12:08 AM
Unconstitutional tax cap? You're right! We have to pay more! You can personally pay more by choice to blast through fascist tax cap. Simply cut a check directly to the school district. I implore everyone tondo the same.
Jim June 21, 2012 at 01:05 AM
Unconstitutional is the 60 percent needed to pass one. Whatever your position on any topic to create a system that goes against how this country has voted for the last 200 plus years is ridiculous. I would like to see your reaction David if a politician is has an opposing view point than you created a super majority vote. It is completely ridiculous. Let the voters decide how they always have. If more people agree with you than the budget will fail.
Charlie June 21, 2012 at 02:19 PM
Per the Newsday article on 6/10, "Of 697 school districts statewide, 634 offered full-day kindergarten in 2010 -- an increase of more than 50 percent since 1991, the state Department of Education reported. On Long Island, only 10 districts have half-day programs; the other 111 districts that serve elementary-school students offer full-day kindergarten, according to the department.
Jim June 21, 2012 at 02:30 PM
However, that is now trending back down. We are in danger of going back to the levels of 1991. Almost all the schools that tried to overide the tax cap said that keeping full day kindergarten was a huge factor in that decision. It is a clear fact that full day kindergarten costs more. I for one would be happy to pay a few additional dollars in my taxes to pay for it.
Janet June 21, 2012 at 03:23 PM
What is more important full day Kindergarten or 9 periods of classes at the high school level. South Huntington kept their full day Kindergarten but lost a period of classes at the high school. 9 periods help to prepare our high school students to be successful and competitive for their high school/college careers. That can't be made up any where. Huntington high school students have 5 double periods of their science classes, but 1/2 day Kindergarten, which is more beneficial? Harborfields and Northport have had 1/2 day Kindergarten and their students fair extremely well. Having only a 1/2 day can be compensated for by parents taking more responsibility in educating their children by reinforcing what is learned, monitoring their TV viewing and their video game playing. We have to work together to educate our children.

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