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Blog: BOE Budget Workshop at Saxton Monday

Letter from trustees Brett Houdek and William Lavelle. Monday's Budget workshop will discuss staffing, benefits, final revenue projections, and potential school closure.

The following letter was submitted to Newsday but we believe it was too large for their needs. It conveys our thoughts about the need for . On Monday there will be a budget work shop at the at 7 p.m. If you believe that board members should look for savings in order to provide educational opportunities to all our students, we encourage you to attend.

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The prime focus of any board trustee should be to seek ways to expand educational opportunities for all our students. In the current rounds of budget development, in school districts throughout the state, the current buzz word is consolidation. In our opinion should begin within each and every district, first. As Board of Education Trustees for the Patchogue-Medford School District, we have offered a plan for internal district consolidation. This is necessary to fulfill our mission as trustees while living within a tax cap constrained budget and declining enrollment.

We recommend all districts first evaluate underutilized space. In Pat-Med this is spread across all schools. Our plan would realign our current K-5 elementary and 6-8 middle school structure, by returning sixth grade to the elementary schools, maximizing their spacial use. This consolidates empty space in the middle school.  We have three middle schools. Enrollment at the 7-8 level could be consolidated into one school.

Our administration has estimated the savings for closing one of these schools at over $1,000,000. They are currently evaluating the options for closing a second school and we expect equal savings. There are trustees who believe a million dollars isn’t worth the ire of parents who have an emotional attachment to these buildings. This becomes the quandary for trustees throughout the state; look for resources for the children vs. parental challenges.

To those trustees we say, start to count every interaction between a student and a teacher as an opportunity to positively affect that child’s development. At the secondary level, a single teacher may have 5 classes with up to 30 students each. Since one million dollars will pay for 10-12 teachers, failure to make this money available will result in over 1,500 – 1,800 lost opportunities in the lives of our students.

It is our hope that districts across New York will see that consolidation begins at home. It is our further hope that districts will start attaching lost opportunity to every dollar of savings they fail to make available. Times are tough requiring tough choices, but Boards need to remember educational opportunity should take precedence in the budget making process.

 

William LaVelle and Brett Houdek

Trustees, Patchogue-Medford Board of Education

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Elizabeth K March 05, 2012 at 04:42 PM
Emotional parents must make your job hard, Huh, I'm not sure if the parents concern is the building....It's placing older kids with younger, Or shipping their kids to school further than they had planned when purchasing their home. Please be accurate in accounting for all the NEW students entering the South Ocean area with all the new housing being built. Enrollment will rise. It will be more costly in the long run to jostle kids around. Consider other options.
Kate Interrante March 06, 2012 at 01:32 AM
Emotional parents huh, Elizabeth. You must not be one then. They have the right. My sister is one of them. My niece will be one of the cattled students. The BOE better come up with a better solution because their short term solutions will cost a lot down the line.
Elizabeth K March 06, 2012 at 12:57 PM
Kate I am one of the many "emotional" Parents.... I take strife at that statement regarding the IRE of the emotional parents, It's a joke.

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