There is a school district budget meeting at on Monday at 7:00pm.
The Assistant Superintendent for Business, Dr. Donna Jones will give a budget presentation, and there will be time available for voicing comments, concerns, and questions.
If you believe that you have the right to voice your opinion and ask valid, tough questions about “educational opportunities”, “underutilized space”, as well as questions regarding Board of Education ethics, and the disclosure of facts from board members, then I encourage you to attend.
In my opinion, there have been statements made regarding that are not being presented entirely accurately by all, and some key points ignored.
1- At previous budget workshops, Dr. Jones has presented preliminary figures depicting a possible savings of approximately $600,000.00 in the first year of closing South Ocean Middle School. The board and superintendent are anticipating more information. This is not a fact that is often advertised.
2- I am not aware of underutilized space in all schools. I have been in a crowded kindergarten classroom of 29 students. If there is not the necessary amount of underutilized space in ALL the schools, it would be required to redistrict the students in the elementary schools in order to even BEGIN to put a plan such as this into action.
3- It has not been made clear as to how the educational opportunities would expand. We are trying to meet a budget, not looking to spend money we don’t have. Are these projections of increased opportunities enticing, yet unattainable promises?
4- There have been other areas where our Assistant Superintendent for Business has been looking to save money. Please listen to and consider what Dr. Jones has to say. She has a team of people who work tirelessly with her to balance our budget.
5- It is my understanding that board members and/or administrators who are NOT in favor of closures have put more thought into this than the emotional attachment parents may have to schools. Why haven’t all of the board members signed or acknowledged the letters and blogs that endorse school-closing? Were these “advertisements” board-approved? Were the other five board members not aware of these notices going out to the public? Is there total honest disclosure of information going out to the residents? The lack of board solidarity being presented to the public is questionable to me. Something just doesn’t seem right. These are questions that come to mind.
6- Logistically, none of the details have been presented as to how this is going to work out. “Buzz words” have been thrown around, but none of the specific details regarding how our children are going to be provided with a quality education with the same opportunities, never mind the possibility of increased opportunities! I would need to see specific logistics of how many children per classroom, how scheduling would be arranged in each school to ensure the same if not more educational opportunities that our students would receive across the board, in every discipline (ie: music, art, physical education, AP classes, etc). Classroom by classroom, student by student, how is this going to be done? Adding teachers? Where will you put them? To me, this theory needs hard facts to back it up. This also needs to be done without having a 9:30 a.m. lunch period.
7- What would be the cost of re-opening the schools if we do not have
decreased enrollment? I recently spoke with a trustworthy resident of our
community who used to live in another district. He told me about how
they closed a school, and then it cost them more to rectify the problem
later when they had an increased enrollment.
8- Who will be impacted by these schools being closed? What will this do
to the property values and the quality of life in the communities in which
they are located? This effects the WHOLE COMMUNITY of Patchogue-
Medford school district.
Yes, times are tough. That does not mean we should make rash decisions in a state of panic without a specific plan. We are talking about schools. The main objective is to educate. Educate efficiently, and with GREAT thought.
On Monday, March 5th at 7:00pm, there is going to be an important budget workshop at Saxton Middle School. If you wish to be heard, and to be informed, please make every effort to attend. If there is not a clear sign of public concern, who knows what will happen... it would be a shame to send the message that the residents just don’t care! This is about our children and our community.
Whatever your views may be, you should hear the facts and your presence DOES matter!
Patchogue Patch encourages our readers, writers, political officials and anyone in the Patchogue-Medford area to submit their personal views on current events and issues. Please note that these pieces are not necessarily representative of the opinions of Patchogue Patch and represent that of the author.