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Voters Approve West Islip Budget, Gellar and Zotto Re-Elected to BOE

Residents say yes to the 2012-13 school budget by a vote of 2,173 - 1,180.

West Islip voters passed the $110.8 million school district budget by a vote of  2,173 - 1,180 on Tuesday.

By passing the budget, homeowners within the West Islip School District will pay a tax levy of 2.27 percent in the coming year.

Also decided in the election, incumbents Steve Gellar and Michael Zotto were re-elected to the Board of Education, defeating challengers Glenn Montes and Kevin O'Connor, respectively.

The 2011-12 budget calls for a spending plan of $110,880,192, with a 3.49 percent budget to budget increase. The annual tax increase on a home with an average assessed value of $45,000 will be $14.16 per month or $169.88 per year.

However, the approved budget also calls for staff and program reductions, as well as the closure of Kirdahy and Westbrook elementary schools. A total of 38 staff positions will be lost, as well as the high school dance program. Reductions to the BOCES vocational program and athletics spending were also made.

It was a difficult fiscal year for many Long Island school districts, as school struggled to balance rising costs with student needs while staying within the newly implemented New York State tax cap.

Nomo Bigelow May 16, 2012 at 03:59 AM
No'mo Bigelow. No'mo Tetley. No'mo Lipton, No'mo Tea. No'mo Montes. Thank you and goodnight West Islip.
Alimb May 16, 2012 at 10:37 AM
The reelection of Gellar shows the true stupidity of this community. Keep voting in the same BOE members and we will never see change. God help us all if LaRosa stays next vote.
Patch Fan May 16, 2012 at 11:08 AM
Hmmmmm....Will never see change..... Hello, I wanted to take the time and welcome you to our town and your first day on West Islip Patch.. Perhaps I could help catch you up by directing your attention to this article about West Islip School District closing TWO ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS! http://westislip.patch.com/articles/west-islip-board-of-ed-adopts-school-budget Just because you do not agree does not mean there is not a change.
Jack Latch May 16, 2012 at 11:10 AM
Congratulations West Islip !!!
Ms Will May 16, 2012 at 02:33 PM
The Board made some very tough decisions. These decisions were first steps in getting our District to deal with the fiscal issues it faces. With tough decisions, there will be unhappy people. This Board has more gutts than the US Congress, which can't seem to get its act together to make the tough decisions for fiscal sanity. I am still not happy how much I have to pay in school taxes in my relatively modest home in West Islip. But, as a "senior," I am willing to do my share because my children and I benefited from this fine school district.
Glenn Denzler May 16, 2012 at 05:04 PM
Why does the board not address the real problem with the budget, teachers/administration salaries and benefits? Expenses went up 3.49% this yr despite eliminating positions, closing two schools. Near top of LI. Increased aid masked spending increase and allowed for a smaller tax increase. Renegotiated contract with the teachers allows 5% salary-step increases, about the same next year. I told Board Member Mr. Gellar last year that decision for short term gain would only come back to bite us hard. It did. School boards on LI secured large concessions from the unions, in part to save jobs…not in this district. With the budget 75%+ salaries/benefits what do we do next year? Do we let go more teachers and have 30 kids in a class? I guess a huge tax increase coming 2013? The Board needs to lobby the for further change to the Triborough Amendment and collective bargaining in order for there to be an affordable taxation within the district. With the same people being elected that will not happen and taxes will continue to go up. My wife and I know once we retire we are out of West Islip / LI. We will depend on 401Ks to live, pay health care and not have lucrative pensions like teachers/admin that ensure they make more retired rolling in vac days, sick days into avg salary, health benefits continue. We pay for same and can’t afford same ourselves. The Board continues to sacrifice the interests of those who ultimately will not be able to afford living here once they retire.
Alimb May 16, 2012 at 05:34 PM
I meant positive change, Patch Fan. Thanks for the warm welcome. Where is my apple pie?
Alimb May 16, 2012 at 05:39 PM
And yet the good people of West Islip failed to elect NEW members. It will be more of the same, and maybe worse, in the years to come.
Samantha Riley May 16, 2012 at 05:47 PM
For all of you here wishing for change on the board of education, what did you do to change anything? Waste your time commenting on an article? Only two people stepped up to run against Gellar and Zotto. Where were the rest you? If you don't like the direction of the school district, get involved.
Alimb May 16, 2012 at 05:59 PM
I voted, that's what I did. And not for the incumbents. You suggest that every disgruntled person run for the BOE so that the incumbents have an even greater chance of holding onto their seats? That way the thousands of us could split the votes for people attempting to change the face of the BOE? Not the greatest idea. And I just love people that criticize others for making comments on the articles. Isn't that what you just did, Samantha Riley?
Glenn Denzler May 16, 2012 at 07:43 PM
Two people with good ideas ran against them and their ideas were rejected. I do not see how having others with he same ideas as those rejected would help. I have been to Meet the Candidates, raised questions about collective bargaining and the Triborough amendment...I doubt more then 10% of the community even understands the ramifications of that law and how it impacted budgets etc. The Board Member had a shocked look on his face when I brought it up and asked if he agrees with it. Hey, if the people pulling the levers for budgets allowed for 7%, 8%, 9% increases in spending almost every year for decades, or just did not vote because of apathy, then congrats to the Union for understanding that the Board would have no problem giving them lucrative contracts too. It is very sad that despite both my wife and I having good jobs we are out of here when we retire, not to mention I have very little hope that my daughters will be able to afford to be a homeowner on Long Island……on average $10K+ a year in taxes on top of hefty mortgages will force our brightest to leave along with retirees, leaving renters, plummeting property values, and the tax base the district depends on for these taxes to disintegrate. We are already seeing property values come down and less taxes collected as Town Of Islip handles lower property value ax disputes and lowers same….Pretty soon only cops and teachers will be able to afford living here and paying these taxes.
Liam Murphy May 17, 2012 at 02:03 AM
Alimb, you just love people that criticize others???? Look in the mirror, you posted how stupid this community is!!!!!!! What a hyporcrite!!!!
Alimb May 17, 2012 at 02:46 AM
Liam, I'm writing of those who criticize for commenting on an article, like Samantha Riley stated. She is criticizing for commenting on an article and yet that's exactly what she herself is doing. What's hypocritical about me? I still think the majority of the community is moronic for voting for incumbents, PERIOD. I'd be a hypocrite if I voted for Gellar, but I didn't. Clearly I'm in the minority on that but just as clearly, this town is ASLEEP. I've heard so many complaints about this BOE and yet here we go again with the same players. Preposterous, outrageous and STUPID.
Ms Will May 17, 2012 at 01:31 PM
If the incumbents don't continue to cut costs, now especially since two schools will close, we have to vote for candidates who will make BIG decisions that will cut costs with minimal impact on students. Why aren't we considering combining "back office" operations with other Islip Town school districts--like payroll, purchasing, insurance, and other common services? Its time to think big about making big cuts! And, we have to be serious about slowing down the cost of all staff--especially administrators and teachers. Just because we pay more doesn't mean we get better results, especially when tenure protects the those who are not productive.
gherz May 17, 2012 at 07:54 PM
i couldnt have said it better myself, i totaly agree
gherz May 17, 2012 at 07:55 PM
Why not we have crooks in there , why not a back stabber also,The community is clueless
LITTLE INDIAN May 17, 2012 at 10:31 PM
Where is Mr. Montes probably hanging with Maresca
Pat May 18, 2012 at 05:02 AM
Well said Glenn! I am still having a hard time believing that there are teachers making over $100,000 a year and only working 180 days a year. With tenure there is no pressure to perform and no competition to let in better brighter candidates. I understand that teachers are extremely important and they don't have easy professions, but competition for jobs assures performance and is in the best interest of the students.

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