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Question of the Day: What Issues Does the Board of Ed Need to Fix?

With a new bus referendum on the horizon, what else does the Board of Education need to address?

The Board of Education made strides towards rectifying an issue the community has addressed at numerous board meetings by voting to hold a new transportation referendum, passing five votes to two.

But what else does the board need to tackle? What other issues need to be addressed?

Let us know in the comments.

Vinod W. August 03, 2011 at 12:44 PM
All levels of government will have to tighten its belts and the Smithtown SD cannot be an exception. The BOE should begin by looking at positions that don't deal directly with students. Consolidate central administration with particular emphasis on new and redundant positions. This action by the BOE will save both salaries and benefits. Also, stop overtime, subs, and interim positions in central administration.
Another PTA Mom August 03, 2011 at 03:25 PM
You're right, Vinod. The economic forecast is worse than it was last spring, and the board will have to continue to cut, cut, cut. But not on the backs of our kids. Instead of closing a school, eliminate central office positions and spending and move the rest to the excess space in the schools.
Smithtowncitizen4Truth August 03, 2011 at 04:07 PM
The debt ceiling legislation will put more pressure on the states. Does our district still owe NYS $13 mil. for filing errors or did the Gov. sign the Flanagan/Fitzpatrick legislation? The old board ordered a forensic audit but the public hasn't heard a word. Also, how is the board holding the supt. accountable for his coverup and possible involvement in any of the errors. The person at the top is ultimately responsible. And before the district starts closing schools, the taxpayers deserve transparency on this issue.
john August 03, 2011 at 07:26 PM
Now that we have a revote on the buses, maybe now we can have a revote on the new board members since the puplic wasn't smart enough to vote on the buses right. Maybe they weren't smart enough to vote on the right board members.
john August 03, 2011 at 08:12 PM
It's amazing I live 2 blocks away from my kids school and the district sends me a letter for each kid telling me that my child is not eligible for transportation to school. Did they think I didn't know that. I wonder how many letters like this they sent out and how much it cost. They just had to send letters to the students that had buses last year and lost them this year.
MotherHubbard August 04, 2011 at 01:44 AM
You realize, based on your previous post, that parents might assume that if they did not get a letter for a child....that child might get transportation even if their siblings did not.
Lisa August 04, 2011 at 11:10 AM
In this terrible economic environment, the BoE has to fix excessive spending and look at revenue. Consolidate administration, no more clerical subs or overtime, or interim admins. in central office. Look at revenue, such as Adult Ed. With all the people in central administration, is it really necessary to pay $110K to a director and 3 or 4 secretaries? Yes, I know it's "self-sustaining" but if the staff was paid less, the district would get more revenue. Also, the board should look into the various grants. How much of the social studies grant really went to the district or did it all go into the teachers pockets? The board needs to "fix" spending and revenue by finding avenues that don't hurt kids.
Chuck August 04, 2011 at 01:02 PM
Yes, Lisa, it's high time the BOE scrutinize revenue in addition to making administrative reductions. Close NYA and move administration to empty space in other buildings. State aid will likely decrease so look at maximizing district's own revenue. Great place to start is with Adult Ed. Other than the twice yearly bulletin, scheduling and registration, there's a lot of down time. I can't imagine why such an expensive staff is necessary to administer it.
Ruth August 04, 2011 at 01:07 PM
I agree, Chip. I heard they just ordered BRAND NEW furniture for the Adult Education office. Disgraceful!
PTA Dad August 09, 2011 at 03:02 PM
THE BOARD HAS TO FIX THE INDISCRIMINATE HIRING OF INTERIM CENTRAL OFFICE ADMINISTRATORS AT $500 PER DAY. WHY IS THE DISTRICT PAYING BOTH THE INTERIM AND INCUMBENT ASSISTANT SUPT. FOR INSTRUCTION & ADMIN. SIMULTANEOUSLY? IT'S BAD ENOUGH THERE WAS AN INTERIM BEFORE MS. RIANNA OFFICIALLY STARTED BUT WHY IS THE DISTRICT DOUBLE DIPPING NOW?
St. James Mom August 09, 2011 at 03:40 PM
The Board needs to address why 25% of our 7th and 8th graders do not meet proficiency requirements in English for the past 2 years. I think the curriculum needs to be improved. English, including spelling and grammar are becoming lost arts.
Chris August 09, 2011 at 03:50 PM
STJ Mom, whatever happened to the district grammar initiative? Does this mean that all that grammar talk resulted in nothing? And why would the district need to pay 2 Asst. Supts for Instruction and a Director of Curriculum and an English Director when are results are so awful? What exactly have these folks been doing?
Kevin August 10, 2011 at 02:35 AM
With regard to grammar, the problem is not the curriculum or the students, it is the mediocre instructional staff. When my son started AP English last year, his teacher gave a basic grammar test. A large number of the students who had this one English teacher at HS West did poorly on the exam. Overall, the class did not do well and the teacher subsequently spent more then one week going over grammar that should have been learned years earlier. This teacher at West, Mr. Nolan, should be made a mentor to all the English teachers in the district. He is by far, superior to any other English teacher employed in Smithtown. I will go further and say he is by far the best teacher in the district.
Donna Marie August 10, 2011 at 02:53 AM
Kevin, the administration is supposed to be working with the teachers to help them grow professionally. If not, why do we need to pay over half a mil. $ for an Asst. Supt. for Instruction, Director of Curriculum and ELA Director, not to mention an additional $500 per da for an extra Asst. Supt. The board needs to fix the administrative structure, reduce the # of administrators, and find ways for the remaining admins. to become more effective and efficient,
Smithtowncitizen4Truth August 10, 2011 at 03:21 AM
It is unconscionable that the BoE is allowing Mr. Ehmann to keep and pay an interim Assistant Superintendent for Instruction @ $500 per day when Ms. Rianna is now in her second week in Smithtown. Surely an interim cannot help her "transition" especially since she's never held that position in Smithtown or anywhere else. If Maria Rianna was a deputy super in Port Jeff she shouldn't need that kind of help. The district can't afford it, and for what she's getting paid and her experience she should be able to hit the ground running. The BoE must put an end to this shameful state of affairs.
Carla August 10, 2011 at 12:44 PM
The new board must check Mr. Ehmann's wanton spending. The district should not be hemorrhaging money on a Director of Curriculum, ELA Director, an Asst. Supt for Curriculum and an INTERIM Asst. Supt. for Curriculum. What in the world are they all doing during the dog days of August?
Second Opinion August 10, 2011 at 01:53 PM
Why do we need all of these districtwide administrators. What exactly does each of them do that is different from the other? How does the expense justify the poor results? Clearly there's no reason to have an interim when the position has been filled. That's a no-brainer in any economy and is it even legal? Also, the board should investigate whether they really need all these overlapping administrative positions when the entire US economy is in such poor shape.
Adam August 10, 2011 at 02:29 PM
In this terrible economic slump is the district getting back the $13.5 million lost as a result of administrative errors or is it out that $? The public deserves an answer to this and also why there are so many central office administrators and the results are so poor. The board needs to fix central administration by streamlining it. Most importantly, this board must choose a superintendent with an extensive financial background. The current superintendent was a principal with no financial or business expertise and a mere one year in personnel. He had no proven record. The board must find someone with a record of success in managing a complex organization/school district with a budget in excess of $200 million. It's time to stop rewarding hometown folks instead of focusing on the excellent leadership Smithtown deserves.
john August 10, 2011 at 09:04 PM
You all complaining how the district is spending our money. But it's only going to get worse with the new board. Joe Saggese is the only one left that will try to keep the administration accountable.. The new board president was on the board for all the big tax hikes and wasted spending. The STA is happy Ms' Waldron is president because they can walk all over her. Her daughters are members or were members of the STA so between her and Ms McEnroy an former STA member the tax payers and students are in trouble when they have to decide to raise our taxes or/and cut programs to give the STA members big raises.
Just A Mom August 11, 2011 at 12:17 AM
I disagree, scsddad. Gladys Waldron has the best interests of the district at heart and she knows better than anyone what Ehmann's weaknesses are. Give her some credit to do the right thing. Also, I would like to think that Teresa Knox, Lou Liguori, Joanne and Grace understand the damage that Ehmann has done to the district, and will hold him accountable this year and then select a new superintendent with character and experience. Gladys Waldron's daughters never worked in the district; her niece did. The first order of business should be saying goodbye to the interim Assistant Superintendent for Instruction since I can't imagne where the $500 per day is comng from. I believe the majority of the BOE will do the right thing.
Cindy August 11, 2011 at 12:03 PM
The teachers and principals are in the trenches working with the kids. They deserve every penny they get. Central administration spending is bloated and is not subject to union costraints. It's outrageous that the board allows the continuation of three business officials and 4 CO curriculum administrators plus a $500 a day interim. The principals and APs are there to work with the teachers and kids. Settle their contracts and focus on reducing central administration. Find a new superintendent with a financial background and eliminate some of the financial positions.
C.J. August 11, 2011 at 12:29 PM
Great point, Cindy. Settle the teacher and principal contracts and cut central administration to save $$$. These positions are all six figures plus, several are in the $150,000 plus range, including benefits, and they never see a student. Cut a few of these and find a superintendent with the credentials and integrity to run our large district. The teachers and principals are there for the kids, we don't need an ex-principal to be superintendent. We need someone with financial, business, and management experience to run the district in these terrible economic times.
john August 12, 2011 at 09:04 PM
I bet Joe Saggese was against all these asst. superintendent positions and the $500 a day intern but Ms Waldon and her team push it through.
john August 16, 2011 at 12:33 PM
PTA MOM I guestion Ms Waldrons judgement. I am still concerned with Joanne's ties with the STA. The STA didn't just back her they really went out of there way to get her elected. I'm just worried about the payback she has to owes them.
Taxpayer Mom August 16, 2011 at 01:43 PM
Don't think of it as backing a candidate, think of it as trying to oust candidates who were hurting the district. At one time both Joe Saggese and Bob Rossi benefited from STA support. I listened to Ms. McEnroy at A Chorus Line studion and if you think she just toes the line, I suggest you actually sit down and talk to her. Also actually ask Mr. Saggese his position on interim positions and consultants. You might be in for a surprise.
PTA Dad August 16, 2011 at 02:37 PM
The public has the right to know where each BOE member stands on the $500 per day interim administrator that has been in central office the whole summer despite the fact that all the slots have been filled. This duplication and redundancy is a waste and should be stopped immediately. This has nothing to do with the STA but is an example of the bloated administrative spending that the BOE lets Mr. Ehmann get away with. Fiscal responsibility begins at the top.
john August 16, 2011 at 02:56 PM
Suport is different than what the STA did for Joanne they had nteachers handing thing out in the schools which was proven
Lisa August 16, 2011 at 04:35 PM
We have a lot of dedicated teachers who are with our children all day long and do a great job. They are not the problem. The problem are the redundant central office admins who never see a kid from one school year to the next. The board should begin with reducing them since they do not have a union and it is completely at the board's discretion. How the board lets Ehmann get away with duplicate and triplicate admins plus $500 a day interims is scandalous and something that the board can address right away.
john August 16, 2011 at 04:46 PM
Mr Ehhman should be the first to go. I agree most teachers are very good. IT's the union that gets people upset and they take it out on the teachers.
Meg August 16, 2011 at 05:54 PM
Amen, scsdad, but Ehmann is supposed to go anyway. The sooner the board moves to hire a new super who knows/does something, the better, and the less CO admins will be needed! In the meantime they have to hold him accountable, especially for spending unnecessary tax $ on duplicate & triplicate admins & $500 per day interims.

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