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Personnel To Top S. Huntington Budget Workshop

First of two sessions to cover programs and staff.

The kicks off a two-part discussion of personnel and programs Wednesday night, under pressure to meet new state limits on taxes.

Dr. Thomas Shea, the district superintendent who is retiring this year, has been leading workshops each week, examining options for cuts and explaining costs. Previous sessions have covered transportation, administrative costs and other topics.

The workshops lead up to a board vote on the budget on April 4, which then presents it to the voters on May 15.

Contracts, especially those involving academic personnel, are expected to be a major part of the budget discussion going forward.

Much of the new pressure to hold down or reduce costs is driven by a state cap on the tax levy, the amount of funding a school district needs to raise to balance the budget.

A 60 percent vote is needed to approve a budget that exceeds the cap, while a 50 percent approval is needed to simply pass the budget.

The second part of the discussion is scheduled for March 28, the final workshop before the budget adoption process.

Some of the cuts on the table are:

Reductions Under Consideration

Half-day kindergarten 593,654 Transportation Option A 448,239 Transportation Option B 342,012 Total Reductions, with Option A 5,041,921 Total Reductions, with Option B 4,935,694

Shea reported givebacks or hard wage freezes had been accepted by several bargaining units. Omitted from the list is a security shift that took a pay cut last year. Absent from his giveback list were teachers and nurses.

The public session of the board convenes at 7:30 p.m. at Whitman High School.

Figures provided by the South Huntington school district.

Joe March 22, 2012 at 07:51 PM
You had your chance last year to get rid of Kaden and his political agenda. But he was still re-elected...for the umpteenth time. It's amazing that people still buy the BS he sells.
Janet March 23, 2012 at 12:20 AM
@ Judy - Amen to that... We should have known when the BOE etc. let Polansky slip away it was the time for a change at the top
Bill March 23, 2012 at 11:36 AM
Sadly, the Union president is a radical and the members are lost sheep. Parents and student need to picket the teachers union, let them know we are aware of the scam! They have disdain for our children and care only about their insane salary's and benefits!!
joey March 23, 2012 at 02:30 PM
Check out Newsday this morning. Full article on our district.
Kathy March 23, 2012 at 02:33 PM
Bill...you are absolutely correct! I have been saying this for a few years now...we are experiencing an economy where people are losing their jobs or if they're lucky enough to have one, they are not getting paid anywhere near what they used to get. More and more employees are paying into their own health insurance plans. A full company pension is unheard of, and has been for awhile now. This along with astronomical gas prices that this adminstration has promised will reach European levels of $10/gallon and rising food prices, we just can't afford to have our school taxes raised by over 5% every year. Unions are the only ones who seem to be oblivious to our economic situation. The party is over and no one told them. It is outrageous that anyone is still asking for raises every year! That is not happening in the private sector. I was outraged last year when the board voted a raise for Dr. Shea with the excuse that it was in line with what other districts were doing and if they didn't pay him accordingly, they would lose him. I wish they had called his bluff. Now he is retiring anyway. We all need to speak up and stop the madness.
joey March 23, 2012 at 02:49 PM
@kathy didn't Shea know he was going to retire last year? We heard that for a few years so what ethics is it to take a big raise before you retire? just to pad the payout?
Kathy March 23, 2012 at 03:59 PM
Joey....I have only been involved since last year, so I don't know when anyone knew about Shea retiring...I just know that at last year's budget workshop, there were alot of complaints about giving Shea a raise in these economic conditions and we were told that all the other supts were getting that amount so we had to keep up.
joey March 23, 2012 at 04:03 PM
I have heard that in the past few years he was too retire. James Polansky now Super of Huntington was our asst and wanted the job when Shea retired. Well he went to Huntington and now shea retires the year after a big pay raise? Something doesn't add up.
joey March 23, 2012 at 04:04 PM
I wonder how much the new Super will be getting? If a lot less then the questions would be why when last year they raised the salary so great.
Janet March 23, 2012 at 04:13 PM
I think they didn't want Mr. Polansky because he would hold them accountable. Didn't want to play the way they did maybe...so he would have rocked the boat too much..It's a shame. I heard of Shea retiring 2 years ago....Sachem teachers just reached a contract revision that is expected to save their district $3.5 million, Would be nice if our teachers could do something similiar. I love our teachers but they have to get real. It's take a pay freeze or lose a job. Less money is better than none....
Kathy March 23, 2012 at 04:19 PM
joey...according to the 3/7/12 budget workshop slideshow (which can be found on the district website) the supt. office budget is to decrease by $52,866 for 2012/2013 (their slideshow indicates it will be $58,828 less, but that figure is based on what they budgeted last year, not what they actually spent). But please note that the supt office budget includes all of the following: staff, mailings to residents, workshops and conferences, and staff development, so I don't know how much of that is for the new supers salary, but in any event, he/she's not going to make much less, if any.
joey March 23, 2012 at 04:32 PM
@janet..heard the same thing as well about the retirement and Polansky. I think the pressure is on the teachers and they will reach out. I cam tell you this they openly discussed in one class and are huddled in groups around the school talking. They know now its their time to shine and get with their Union President and make the deal happen because if not a bigger revolt and bad PR for them.
joey March 23, 2012 at 04:33 PM
Two years ago and he get a pay increase before he goes out the door? You kidding me!!!!!!
Bill March 23, 2012 at 05:19 PM
Good to see so many people waking up! Intelligent people need to speak up, may attend the next meeting (need to bring a barf bag).
Kathy March 23, 2012 at 05:34 PM
Bill...please do attend the next meeting and speak up...tell your friends and neighbors to do the same.
skip March 23, 2012 at 07:16 PM
http://www.nysun.com/new-york/to-new-york-labor-leader-moves-to-long-island/87748/
Judy March 24, 2012 at 03:24 AM
Shea was brought in at a salary of $185,000 and is now earning in excess of $325,000. Our other administrators salaries have increased similarly over the years. Mr Polansky was brought into district 3 for $50,000 less than th outgoing super. There is no good reason for us to pay the new super more than 225,000.
Judy March 24, 2012 at 03:26 AM
Skip, that article says it all.
Kathy March 24, 2012 at 03:30 AM
Judy...this is what they're saying...according to the 3/7/12 budget workshop slideshow (which can be found on the district website) the supt. office budget is to decrease by $52,866 for 2012/2013 (their slideshow indicates it will be $58,828 less, but that figure is based on what they budgeted last year, not what they actually spent). But please note that the supt office budget includes all of the following: staff, mailings to residents, workshops and conferences, and staff development, so I don't know how much of that is for the new supers salary, but in any event, he/she's not going to make much less, if any, than Shea was getting.
Judy March 24, 2012 at 03:37 AM
Dr Shea earns more than the NYC school superintendent. The even bigger issue is the harm these exorbitant pensions are doing to our schools and communities. We pay this money long after these people are retired. We will get to a point where we are spending more money on pensions than educating our kids.
Kathy March 24, 2012 at 03:37 AM
Judy...I agree, but unfortunately, individual people with differing messages doesn't put enough pressure on them to do anything. We all need to bombard the School Board with phone calls and emails and most importantly, show up at the budget workshops and speak out. The more people hear someone say what they are thinking, the more they know they are not alone and it's ok to speak out. I am finding that most people are afraid to speak up. We need to get together and formulate a message and hammer them with it. We need enough people to get involved so that we can pressure them into doing what we want. If they don't we need enough people to vote the budget down in order to get their attention.
Kathy March 24, 2012 at 03:39 AM
Judy...I agree, but unfortunately, individual people with differing messages doesn't put enough pressure on them to do anything. We all need to bombard the School Board with phone calls and emails and most importantly, show up at the budget workshops and speak out. The more people hear someone say what they are thinking, the more they know they are not alone and it's ok to speak out. I am finding that most people are afraid to speak up. We need to get together and formulate a message and hammer them with it. We need enough people to get involved so that we can pressure them into doing what we want. If they don't we need enough people to vote the budget down in order to get their attention
Judy March 24, 2012 at 03:44 AM
Sadly, that's not true. These issues have been voiced at many meetings by myself and others and shut down by kaden and Shea. We must vote kaden out and we must get real reprentation on the BOE. It's a small club and we have been locked out for years. All sorts of under the table activities go on .
Kathy March 24, 2012 at 03:47 AM
Judy, I have been suggesting forming a citizen watchdog group to monitor the South Huntington School District. It would take some time and effort, but if we grew large enough and had the right talent on our side, we could make a difference. You need a unified group with a unified message. They need to be afraid when they see us coming, not the other way around. They work for us!
Kathy March 24, 2012 at 03:49 AM
Individual people going up there and stating their grievances doesn't work. Like you said, all of these things happen under the table and behind closed doors. We need to be in the room with them when they're making these deals. Maybe we could even get some people elected to the board that will represent us.
Judy March 24, 2012 at 03:54 AM
It's very idealistic, it will only work if we change board members. However, it may become a necessity if people care about the schools. We need transparency. For one thing the district checkbook needs to be posted on the website. secondly, we cut support personnel in the administrators office. Then , of course, salary freezes for teachers in order to save jobs. Unfortunately, though, it's been my experience that people speak up to save clubs and sports but are uninterested in cleaning up the cause of this financial crisis.
Judy March 24, 2012 at 03:59 AM
Kathy you are right. Spot on. And why isn't kaden telling us about the supers salary? District 3 discussed it openly prior to hiring mr p.
Kathy March 24, 2012 at 04:02 AM
Well, that's exactly my point. Everyone speaks up for the thing that affects them. Some people are complaining about the 1/2 day kindergarden, or dance class, or bowling or golf or busing, whatever they alone care about. That's why the board doesn't listen. We all have ideas of what we would like to see happen, but how do you propose to achieve the things you mention? One person alone isn't going to make an impact. The problem is that no one wants to put in the time that would be necessary to undertake a project of this magnitude. So we'll just keep paying more and more, while they keep cutting things for the kids and just keeping the money for themselves like all government entities end up doing, and when we can't afford it anymore, we'll move off of the Island.
Kathy March 24, 2012 at 04:05 AM
They are seemingly transparent if you ask them for something. I don't know if they have hired anyone yet, so they probably don't know. I think they have to tell you if you ask, but in any event, you can find all the salary information on www.seethroughny.net. From what I see, Kaden has been there way to long and has way too much power...that's probably the only reason he does it, it feeds his ego. There should be term limits for board members.
KT March 31, 2012 at 11:42 PM
does anyone else think that the woman who sits in the box at Stimson who is supposed to sign people in/out job can be done away with. I have walked in and out of that school without her as much as lifting her head. I think do away with that job, and cancel the People and Star magazines subscriptions we probably pay for her to read all day!

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