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BOE Seeks More Community Input On School Budget

On-line survey covering a variety of issues will be live Friday on school district's website.

The West Islip Board of Education will be seeking community input on how it should work to close a nearly $2 million gap seen in the initial 2013-14 draft budget presented last week by Superintendent Richard Simon.

On Friday, a survey will go live on the school district’s website that will ask local residents for their thoughts on various issues that may help trustees and administrators finalize a proposed budget by the mid-April deadline. Once live, the survey will run until March 17.

While specifics on questions in the survey were not shared publicly at Wednesday second budget work session at Beach Street Middle School, board members and Simon did provide some insight as to what topics will be covered.

Those topics include:
• questions about program and service modifications
• maintaining a nine period day vs. an eight period day at the middle school level
• class sizes
• questions about the International Baccalaureate program
• use of reserve funds in the 2013-14 budget
• reducing the number of instructional days through a furlough

Results of the survey will be made public at the next budget work session scheduled for March 20 at Beach Street.

Editor’s note: Patch will update readers on Friday when the survey goes live on the school district’s website.

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pampatriot March 07, 2013 at 04:14 PM
After closing two elementary schools, after adding an expensive program like IB (before closing a school, while our school district was dealing with a fiscal crisis forming into a perfect storm), after formulating questionable lease agreements for the now two shuttered schools. Is this supposed to be a scientific survey?
p and t March 08, 2013 at 12:14 AM
Is the Board of Education pulling this again? This latest survey is this year’s way of the Board of Education saying "Tell us what you think—but we’re going to do what we want to do regardless.” Remember the West Islip Study Group? All of those community members who put their time and energy into researching the best solution for WI about closing schools - only to be disregarded and handed a list of recommendations to suggest. The Budget Finance Committee is another great example of the District and Board of Education going through the motions of listening to the public’s thoughts and ideas - NOT. Who’s responsible for gathering and reporting the data from this survey? The same people who closed 2 schools, gave a lease to a preschool which has the same name as the preschool the Board of Ed’s Vice President owns, gave administrators raises and now has the nerve to report to us that the district is in the hole for another 2 million dollars? Regardless of what the results of the survey are the results of the survey will be exactly what the Board of Education want them to be.
pampatriot March 08, 2013 at 01:42 AM
You are awesome P and t! Awesome! I hope to dear Lord that WI community members IGNORE this survey. How lame! IF anyone does participate in this survey, let me inform you BEFORE YOU STICK YOUR NECK OUT...the results will either support them or indict you. I hope you get that. They will, after all is said and done, say...oh looky here, WI community approves of our conduct, when they calculate the two or three idiots who give input into their "SURVEY". Then they will say they acted according to their SURVEY input and blame any negativity on the community input. If that fails they will say they offered the community a means to be involved in the process and it was met with negative results, so they are left to make these decisions as they see fit. BOGUS, BOGUS, BOGUS....but question please, the bald guy behind the curtain...very telling!
West Islip Resident March 08, 2013 at 01:02 PM
Don't miss the oppertunity to tell Gellar and the other BOE members, enough is enough. https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/WIBudgetSurvey
rosie girl March 08, 2013 at 02:54 PM
the boe wastes money in so many ways and we pay for it. It always goes to the teachers pay and benefits first and whatever is left goes to the kids. The IB is a waste of money for the really smart kids. They will succeed in whatever program they are in. So stop that and save right there. Also I'm sick of paying for teachers benefits let them pay some.
Harris March 08, 2013 at 04:00 PM
It was a short survey. It took only a few minutes but they are ready to bang out the home owners again with tax increases. Where are all the cuts for teachers salaries, no raises, pay into health care, stop pensions and pay into it, etc. Stop asking students and home owners to come up with the cost. Working in the corporate world we took major hits on everything. Personally in 10 years I lived here my taxes went up half. Thats insane. And I don't live in a big house by far. This is the real issue taxes. People can't afford the taxes. We could afford the mortgage but taxes and mortgage is getting out of hand. Richard Simon needs resign or go to Washington and ask for funds. He is not doing his job and asking the public bail him out and thats the easy way. We all have our jobs and to keep it we need to do it. This is an outrage to ask this. The can ask for corporate sponsors from businesses here. We have major corporations that can sponsor sports, music, schools, etc. We can call TD Bank School vs Manetuck. Go to think out of the box a little BOE and stop hitting up home owners. I got a kid going to Kindergarten next year and you are asking to cut it. Cut you salary first Richard Simon or get in young teachers at a lower cost vs paying 20+ year teachers high salaries. Its a business.
KAREN March 08, 2013 at 05:06 PM
VERY SOON THERE WILL BE NO ONE TO TEACH.EXCEPT TEACHERS AND COPS KIDS . OH I HAVE A GOOD IDEA LETS ALL MORTGAGE OUR HOMES GIVE IT TO THE BOE SO THEY CAN MAKE EVERY ONE IN THE DISTRICT A MILLIONAIRE.. AND AFTER WE DO THAT THEY WILL STILL WANT MORE MORE MORE OH O FORGOT ITS THE FAMOUS SAYING ITS ABOUT THE KIDS LOOK AT THE CUTS NOT ONE PAY REDUCTION . GET OUT BEFORE ITS TO LATE HEAD SOUTH . BECAUSE NO ONE IS COMMING HERE TO LIVE .
hello March 08, 2013 at 05:31 PM
I went to answer the survey, however one of the last questions on the get this unbiased survey was asking how much we are willing to increase the budget? I stopped, I could not continue unless I agreed to PAY UP??? why isn't there a answer selection that states I DON'T AGREE TO ANY INCREASE IN THE BUDGET ??????. If you want a survey to reflect the communities true opinion, apply your questions for an unbiased result. That is what my professors insisted upon when I was enrolled in a class that requires pure statistical analysis. This survey should never be used for the BOE discussion process, last survey question WHO WROTE THIS???
KAREN March 08, 2013 at 05:44 PM
STOP WITH THAT RIDICULOUS SURVEY. VERY VERY SIMPLE SOLUTION. CUT YES DID U HEAR BOE CUT THE ADMN STAFF .PROBLEM SOLVED. FOR NOW
Thomas Duignan March 09, 2013 at 12:28 AM
When homeowners cannot sustain their standard of living, they either move or cut out the luxuries. Don't let the BOE start us fighting among ourselves about which programs to cut. WE ARE BROKE! They would love to keep us in the forest so we can't see the trees. Step out of the program cutting bickering and just tell them they are not getting anymore money. The law says two per cent cap. Obey the law. If the staff doesn't like it, then they can move. When they see the salaries down south, they be right back asking for their jobs.
Jenny Jones March 09, 2013 at 08:00 PM
That preschool to cheap of lease is at Westbrook? The larger school they closed, big fat conflict of interest. Really more like criminal and should be taken to court. NY State needs to be advised and act on this.
Bill March 24, 2013 at 03:41 PM
I took the survey and gave examples of how to trim the budget. I am in the insurance industry. When it comes to employee medical plans, How many spouses are enrolled in the WI school plan where they are offered coverage through their own employer but elect to join the WI plan because the coverage is more affordable and better. We are advising our clients to insist that couples/families where both spouses can obtain coverage through their respective employers enroll with their employers. If an employee who declines coverage through their employer wants to enroll in the WI plan with his spouse, then that spouse is charged a surcharge. Also, the "Empire Plan" is very outdated and the district should look at other most cost effective options. I brought this subject up several years ago and it was ignored, now as everyone can see, it's becoming a much larger costly problem.

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