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Last Chance: Meet West Islip's Board of Ed Candidates

Meet this year's Board of Ed candidates in person tonight at Beach Street.

The West Islip School District Board of education candidates will gather tonight to answer the public's questions at the annual .

The four candidates, which include two incumbents and two challengers, will meet at Beach Street at 8 p.m. to discuss community and school issues.

Come out and meet the candidates before you cast your vote on May 15.

Here are this year's candidates:

Incumbent:

Challenger:

Incumbent:

Challenger:

Terry Gebbia May 10, 2012 at 12:28 AM
how was the special needs program dismantled? wasn't it just moved to Oquenock?
Rich May 10, 2012 at 12:46 AM
Nope they originally "promised" that they would move the whole program to Oquenock but it turns out that won't be the case. Like all of Westbrook they will be dispersed to several schools. So much for all their promise such as their initial promise to let them stay at Westbrook till they graduated or their second promise to move the entire program to Oquenok. Two broken promise to a single program, we should do better.
Terry Gebbia May 10, 2012 at 01:13 PM
Rich - Where did you get your information from that the whole program isn't moving to Oquenock?
Rich May 10, 2012 at 09:52 PM
? Have you heard that the entire program and all the staff are moving to Owuenok? I got my information from someone who works in the program with the Special Needs children. This person told me that the children and staff are being split up to be fit in where they can? It stinks.
fed up May 11, 2012 at 04:46 AM
Rich I just have to ask..... all the years that the Special Ed children were shuffled around and divided between Westbrook and I believe Bayview, were you advacating for them back then too? Funny thing is I really hadn't heard much of anyone besides the SE parents speaking out. Now is it just convienent to use them as a pawn to further your cause to reconsider the closing of Westbrook. Where were you this last months? I never once heard anyone by the name of Richard, Rich , Rick, get up to the microphone and voice the opinions that you have no problem saying thru a compouter screen......just sayin and BTW I truly feel terrible for any children whose school is closing, maybe more Westbrook parents should have spoken early on in the process. You know what they say....the squeaky wheel gets the grease.
Rich May 11, 2012 at 10:11 AM
Fed Up, when it comes to children it shouldn't be the "squeaky wheel " or get up to the microphone and complain. It's about all parents, and the community, the teachers and administrators, and hopefully the BOE wanting what's best for all out kids. It also means looking for children who are getting the shaft like all the children at Westbrook and especially the Specisl Needs children. The question for you Fed Up, why aren't you also advocating for them. Are you content to see them get short changed only because they didn't scream loud enough or did have enough pull to stay open?
fed up May 11, 2012 at 12:20 PM
Wow, nice way to avoid my questions. That's right you save all your"bitchin" for here. If you went to the BOE meetings you would know that I can answer your questions by saying yes, I do advocate for ALL the children!!
Terry Gebbia May 11, 2012 at 12:22 PM
Yes, I was told recently the the entire integrated program at Westbrook is moving to Oquenock
fed up May 11, 2012 at 12:27 PM
Again I ask you Rich, before this year were YOU "look out" for those Special Ed children going to Westbrook that had been shuffled around numerous times??? Please just answer the question....although I think I already know the answer. And as for my comment that the squeaky wheel gets the grease i absolutely believe it!. After all standing by and saying nothing will get you know where, and yes sometimes you need to shout to be heard!.
Wendy Regan May 11, 2012 at 12:45 PM
Don't fall for it Rich. They're personally attacking posters in an effort to change the subject. No one can rewrite the history of the boe for the past 6 years. But judging from the past 6 years of boe history, voters can only ask themselves if they are happy with the direction education is heading in West Islip.
Larry May 11, 2012 at 12:46 PM
You know i hear these people talking about how our super is one of the lowest paid, what does that exactly mean and who cares.. What are his qualifications for running a district, what backround does he have. When you are the head of an organization, the person in charge main concerns are about the product you put out and how to do that in the most cost effective way. Period. You are the one that demands performance amongst the ranks and getting rid of those that do not perform. I for one would be pretty annoyed if my kid failed a course because of poor teaching, although the unions would lead you to believe that its the kids fault.
Larry May 11, 2012 at 12:46 PM
It really does not even matter if the one in charge even knows the product they are producing (alan mullalley takes over ford that the unions drove into the ground, on his first day there they reporter asks him what he knows about the car industry and he states not a thing only that the car has appx 20k parts and when i ran boeing the 747 had over 100k parts i can't know them all) point being is you need to know how to run a business. What has our super ever done that would make him qualified to reign over millions and millions of dollars. Does he have any business backround has he produced a balanced budget. These are the same qualifications you should look for in your BOE, When the hi powered teachers unions bring in their lawyers to negotiate the next contract do really want 2 teachers and 2 cops negotiating your budget. If so expect the same as usual, because these union cronies have zero business backround and are totally in with their union buddies.
pattie May 11, 2012 at 12:52 PM
As ususall, Rich is spreading gossip and rumors. All of the inclusion kids are moving from westbrook to oquenock. The regular ed teachers may change, but that is true every year. For example, a third grade teacher who teachers inclusion one year, may not neccesarily teach it the following year, it depends on the needs of the department and sometimes the teachers themselves request a change. I find it funny that rich has nothing to say about the kirdahy program moving to Bellew. Oh right, he doesnt care about the moving down south, only the ones effecting Westbrook.
Catherine Artusa May 11, 2012 at 01:08 PM
Pattie, yes you are correct Kirdahy integrated has moved to Oq. and the special education classes have moved also. Also Bayview families were moved to Bellow but don't bother Rich with that please when he says he is concerned for the kids of WI he only means his own. According to his expertise the South is fine and they should take the burden alone, don't waste your time!
Rich May 11, 2012 at 01:14 PM
All of us parents are advocating for their own children but it we also need to advocate for our neighbors childrens too. When the BOE closed two ES causing over crowding, redistricting of hundreds of children, poorer teacher to student ratios, cuts to BOCES, demolition of the Westbrook Special Needs Program, and complete closing of the Dance program, everyone needs to speak up about the unfairness. I have spoken at a BOE meeting but only once, and I was ignored. Better speakers than me asked the BOE to allow the community to decide the fate of our children and our schools, but we were denied. The Search Committee brought its findings to the BOE and the were rejected. When a community is ignored and their children are being hurt by bad decisions, then the community will usually resort to forums and the voting booth. See you on May 15. Vote for Montes and Zotto for a change.
Gerry May 11, 2012 at 07:54 PM
No special Ed children in Westbrooks integrated program were ever moved between schools. The children in the program at Bayview were all allowed to stay in Bayview until they completed fifth grade. Each year as a new group started kindergarten they went to Westbrook. The program was moved but no actual children were ever moved.
Walter Isaacs May 12, 2012 at 12:48 AM
The kool- aid of the day is to attack the worker. A couple of wackadoodles coming on here to convince you that you don't have what you deserve because somebody else does. You don't have a pension because somebody else does. You don't have healthcare because somebody else does. You don't have weekends off because somebody else does. You don't have the right to due process because somebody else does. You should have 401k's so the ruling class will determine the type of retirement you will see. The republican plan to take Medicare to a voucher plan is designed to take away your access to healthcare, eliminating costs by eliminating service. You will literally die sooner. You deserve better. If you work you deserve at the very least a minimum wage, basic safety, overtime, (too expensive for the employer, hire more people reduce unemployment, spur more local economic growth.) access to healthcare, (a couple of sick days in case the kids get sick) equal opportunity in the workplace, social security and Medicare.
Walter Isaacs May 12, 2012 at 12:49 AM
It was the greatest generation that also had the greatest union participation. One thing that cannot be said above those men who fought in WWII, a just war, is that they were commie lovin'. They just new what was right. What was important. What was a basic dignity to be afforded a person. In those days CEO's made 30x the worker, now 200x-300x. How do they make so much, they took away your health, scam on the OT, 1099 you when they can, CASH OTB,get a kickback on your 401k, ignore most, if not all, pertinent regulations of the industry, make you listen to so much Rush, Hannity and other CHUMPS, that you believe their warped, against your own self interest , and that of 99% people in your life, ideology/theology. You deserve better. If you don't believe you and every other worker deserves that, well then you may want to reevaluate your own sense of self worth. Larry, maybe you are not worth that investment as an employee. If not, you may want to mention to your boss tomorrow that he can most likely hire someone new, maybe with a similar skill set, for $1-$3 cheaper an hour. Do it for the company, lower the burden on business.
john May 12, 2012 at 01:34 AM
Very well said Walter. I wish more people would think the way you do.
Anna May 12, 2012 at 03:39 AM
So you're sure Rich doesn't advocate for all children because you've never heard anyone named "Rich" speak up at a board meeting? Gee, that's funny, because I've never heard anyone named "fed up" speak up at a board meeting... Would that be a Mr. or a Mrs. Fed Up?
Larry May 12, 2012 at 04:28 AM
just one question walter explain to me how are you going to pay for it all. i would love to give everyone everything just one question how are you going to pay for it all, 90% income tax just how do you pay for it all
Jake J. May 12, 2012 at 01:54 PM
I hate to rain on your parade, Rich, but how is voting for Zotto voting for change? You're so against what was done to our elementary schools, escpecially Westbrook ES, and you want to still vote for the guy who voted to close it? Voting Montes/Zotto is voting for a change in leadership, but not for a change. This whole BOE needs an overhaul. Noone of the 7 stood up and said closing 2 ES at once was wrong.
Jake J. May 12, 2012 at 01:59 PM
I'm guessing the same way we're going to have to pay for it next year - by cutting program. This BOE can tout how great it is that they didn't cut program this year, but the tax cap will still be in place next year, so what do we do when we don't have 2 schools to close in order to save millions??? There is absolutely no way they can stay under the cap next year without cutting program. So those of you who want to vote to keep the same guys in based on their "great track record" of preserving program, I would suggest thinking long and hard about the future, not the past.
Walter Isaacs May 12, 2012 at 02:07 PM
There are a myriad of ways to sustain the system. For instance, hypothetically speaking. If I were to start a website that sounded somewhat official and I was to sell junk I would pay sales tax, provided I register with the state to collect sales tax as that is my legal and moral obligation. Not everybody does this. Sometimes it is due to negligence other times it is deliberate. But, of course that alone would not sustain the system. Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan made 24 mill last year (up 11% from 2010) but under his watch they just lost (tip of the iceberg) 2 billion gambling. Should he pay at a lower tax rate than you? How about capital gains taxed as regular income? How about SS tax beyond 106k? How about corporations paying their fair share. Apple 34bill in profit, less than 10% tax rate. Sprint is accused of shortchanging NY of 300mill. We as a nation spend more for defense than practically the entire world combined and GE, Exxon and a whole host of other corporations don't pay their share. In fact, their skimping on taxes further rewards the top 1%, who then don't pay their share of income taxes (because they pay at a lower effective rate.) The 45% you will counter with pay sales, payroll, property and other taxes and fees, but not income taxes because they are literally too poor. 52 wks@ $7.25/hr is 15K. The minimum wage Mr Montes wants to repeal. http://westislip.patch.com/blog_posts/reinvigorate-the-labor-in-labor-day Did you make the offer to your boss yet?
Wendy Regan May 12, 2012 at 08:03 PM
Did any WI residents receive a letter in the mail from an obscure group calling themselves "WI Citizens for Positive Public Schools"? Was this supposed to be a parody poking fun at Steve Gellar? The letter goes on about how the “WI Citizens for POSTITVE Public Schools” is behind Gellar because he "exemplifies character traits of respectability, responsibility and results" and how if you vote for him you will be "demanding respect, responsibility and results from the trustees of the boe". But the parody comes in near the end of the letter when these “Positive WI Citizens” slam the other candidate by claiming that he “demonstrates willingness not to work for the common good of providing the best educational programs” and he “embraces radical reform calling by calling it change” --- Hmmmm, not exactly the most “respectful, responsible, positive” comments coming from a group calling themselves “WI Citizens for POSITIVE Public Schools” now is it? ( LOL ) Wait…wait…the best sentence read: “change often causes dissention and ill-will between the community and the school district”. Gee, ya think? How can this letter NOT be a prank?
Rich May 12, 2012 at 10:02 PM
I brlieve that many in the community are upset and unable to move on or accept this budget, is because our BOE essentially took a budget deficit that they created through poor planning and over spending and made all the cuts on the 3 areas. The cuts almost completely affected our ES children, our BOCES Program, and our Dance Program. Essentially no cuts were made to MS, HS, or the Dance Program. One can assume from this that no members of our BOE have students in ES, BOCES, and the Dance Program. If instead of their present unfair decision they had made cuts of a 5% or even a 10% to every grade and every sport and every activity, no one who have liked it but everyone would have known that it was a fair and balanced decision. We got into this mess together, so let's get out together. But the present budget proposal is neither fair or balanced. It has divided the community. Their are now parents of the children who will take the complete brunt of the shortfall and patents of children who will be completely sparred. This is disastrous for a community and a school district. If the budget fails on May 15, it fails brcause it is unfair and it deserves to fail.
Rich May 14, 2012 at 07:45 PM
If you don't agree with two ES closing, redistricting hundreds of our youngest children, don't believe that these young children should be ripped from the security of their friends and the only school the have ever lnown, don't like the canceled Dance Program, dislike the cuts to BOCES, feel that the Special Ed Program should have remained at Westbrook, don't like being mislead about the budget deficit, don't like loosing truck loads of money for the distinct because they "forgot" file the paperwork... Then vote for Montes and Zotto
Wendy Regan May 14, 2012 at 11:46 PM
I was shocked but not surprised to find the boe mailed out the West Islip the Lion’s Pride/School Budget Vote Edition containing inaccurate and misleading information. On page 2, in a letter from Steve Gellar to the residents of WI, Mr. Gellar says that the closing of two elementary schools and consolidation of the remaining 4 elementary schools: “…did not result in an increase of class size, an overriding concern of the Board of Education.” I don’t know why Mr. Gellar would inform the WI residents that class sizes didn’t increase when the district’s own projected class sizes of Oquenock’s 1st and 5th grade classes are increasing by 5 to 6 students per classroom. (con't below)
Wendy Regan May 14, 2012 at 11:47 PM
Page 15, reads as follows:“The school district recognizes and understand that this is your money, and we have a fiduciary responsibility to see that it is spent efficiently and effectively. These are some of the internal controls that are already in place to safeguard your state aid and taxpayer dollars” “MULTIPLE APPROVALS ARE REQUIRED FOR ALL PURCHASE ORDER REQUESTS.” This is in direct contrast from what Cullen & Danowski reported to the boe in their Independent Accountant’s Report January 6, 2012: pg6, paragraph3: “There were 4 instances totaling $139,499.00 (vendor named) where the services were received prior to obtaining a purchase order approved by the Purchasing Agent.” This is only one of several examples of purchase order discrepancies in the accountant’s report. “ALL EQUIPMENT PURCHASES ARE RECORDED AND INVENTORIED.” Again, this is not the case according to the independent accountant’s report. pg6, paragraph6: “There was 1 Hewlett-Packard invoice totaling $10,560.00 related to the purchase of 20 computers. The district’s Business Office was unable to identify in the Finance Manager system or the capital asset database the serial numbers or location of these items.” Why is the boe mailing inaccurate, misleading information to the voters of West Islip? More importantly, the question we should be asking is WHO on the boe gave the approval to send the voters inaccurate information and why would we trust them with West Islip’s future?
Larry May 15, 2012 at 01:10 AM
So walter wants to pay for everything through income redistribution, very nice take from those that produce and give to those that do not produce. keep doing that until there is no incentive to produce then what happens. We are right back to this same question How are you going to pay for everything. So your goal is to give to take money from people and give it to other people who did not earn that money..hmm that breeds a real incentive to create. i'll tell you what walter lets start with you, walter should give 70% of his earnings to the people of lower means, walter should then be forced to live on the rest. people and companies have no obligation to anyone but themselves and their investors as to how they distribute "their earnings" thats right earnings they made.

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