Letters from the Community
Don't make us a separate state!
I am amazed that anyone would
seriously consider statehood for Long Island ["Long Island: The 51st State?" News, April 1]. If there is an area less capable of governing
itself and more in need of wiser heads to maintain oversight, I am at a loss to name it.
Consider our school systems.
Yes, our children get a quality education, but at an incredible cost. Long Islanders routinely elect unionized teachers to
school board positions and then scratch their heads over inflated salaries and featherbedding. Who can blame the lawyers for
wanting a piece of the action?
We have a fine police force. We should, for the salaries we pay. County-level politicians
seem incapable of maintaining police salaries in line with, for example, New York City (and
I thought New York City was supposed to be run by spend-and-tax
Right, let's vote to make Long Island a state and eliminate whatever oversight
we have over special districts.
Alexander J. Kelly
Don't make us a separate state!
I am amazed that anyone would seriously consider statehood for Long Island ["Long Island: The 51st State?" News, April 1].
If there is an area less capable of governing itself and more in need of wiser heads to maintain oversight, I am at a loss
to name it.
Consider our school systems. Yes, our children get a quality education, but at an incredible cost. Long Islanders routinely
elect unionized teachers to school board positions and then scratch their heads over inflated salaries and featherbedding.
Who can blame the lawyers for wanting a piece of the action?
We have a fine police force. We should, for the salaries we pay. County-level politicians seem incapable of maintaining police
salaries in line with, for example, New York City (and I thought New York City was supposed to be run by spend-and-tax liberals).
Right, let's vote to make Long Island a state and eliminate whatever oversight we have over special districts.
Alexander J. Kelly
Dear East Islip Board of Education Trustees,
East Islip parents/homeowners are faced, year after year, day after day, with the
daunting challenge to make ends meet, while trying to remain East Islip residents!
Over the years East Islip school personnel have been
very fortunate, receiving well above average increases i.e., step, incremental and cost of living, along with their rich benefits
packages. However, during these economically challenging times, many East Islip residents
have not received yearly raises and/or if they did receive raises, they certainly were not enough to keep up with property
tax increases (of which ~60% are school taxes!). Yeah, we know it’s like that all over Long Island,
blah, blah, blah, blah…
So, why can’t East Islip strive to be different?
Why can’t we be the district that breaks the mold?
Every year the school wants more and more, claiming they cannot maintain what they
have with the previous year’s budget. The schools purposely schedule Art shows, and “Block Parties”, etc…
prior to the budget vote to persuade parents to vote YES. Some teachers even discuss the budget in the classrooms. In most
instances, the budget never passes on the first try so there is a re-vote. The PTA and all the so-called “Concerned
Parents” campaign to persuade parents by saying that passing the budget will require a minimal increase in our property
taxes. All the while forgetting that this years “minimal increase” is piled on top of last years whopping 12.69%
increase, and on top of all the previous increases. I am a 40+ year resident of this community. I grew up here and went through
the school system. I purchased my home in 1991, and have seen my property tax bill increase from just under $3,000/year to
over $9,000 year, an increase of over 300 percent! That is absurd!
Bottom line, schools needs to become more frugal. They need to maintain and work with
what they have. If our district would just cut out the fat…like the superintendent that hire others to do his job (hearing
officers, three law firms, court reporters, consultants, PR firms, etc…), eliminate non-mandated positions, i.e., doctors,
nurses, teacher’s aides, Union President’s salary. Most importantly, the BOE needs to stand firm on negotiating
the teachers’ contract and teachers need to pay a larger percentage toward their benefits on par with the rest of the
Word around town is that you are ready to cave in and give away the store (I am not
saying it; I am just repeating what I have heard.) Please, do not settle the contract just because you think it will help
pass the budget! That will only backfire if we do not get real concessions. You need to eliminate the supplemental benefits,
i.e., the Welfare Trust Fund contribution alone, takes away $1.1M per year from our kids! Did you know East
Islip is the butt of jokes throughout NY State because of that Welfare Fund? We hear those jokes all the time
when we are in Albany.
ELIMINATE THE WELFARE FUND CONTRIBUTION 100%! – It is not a common practice and
you know it!
DECLARE AN IMPASSE! Without confidentiality, the union would lose its leverage!
Taxpayers are unquestionably squeezed. The school board as well as the administration
of this district has an obligation to provide the best possible service at the least cost, what the taxpayers can afford.
Of course, school districts have all sorts of "explanations", with some basis in fact but also with gross exaggeration - one
of the most common being "state mandates." Yes, there are state mandates, and many are foolish, and exist only because of
pressure applied by teachers and other unions. Nevertheless, far and away the bulk of every school budget is a function of
school board decisions, e.g., what salaries to pay and how many employees to hire.
Our Community cannot afford anything less than a complete rewrite of the Teachers’
contract! Ultimately, your actions, not your words, will tell us whom you are representing…
Frank M. Gerace
PS Please do it for the Kids!
Hello Friends (and Cheerleaders)
Cheerleaders, this evening you have managed to astonish me more than any other time that
a Cheerleader/`Lackey has done so and concomitantly you have once again managed to expose exactly how self absorbed, unsympathetic,
and selfish your purpose is.
To state that the “voters” are despicable is an affront to everything that this
great country stands for and belittles the struggles and sacrifices that were made to build this great country. Your feigning
of interest for the benefit of all the children in the district is also an affront to the intelligence of any reasonably educated
person reading your rubbish. I am once again rendered speechless at the lengths that you will go to contort the semblance
The focus of your agenda (“to get the High School Varsity athletes back on the field”).was
as clear as ever in this last tirade except that it belied the fact that there is nothing else but your own misguided selfish
interest behind it.
The “voters” that you so aptly insulted are part of a great community of hardworking
people who have their children’s, their neighbors children’s and the community’s best interest in mind.
And with your insipid remarks you manage, with a broad brush-stroke, to vilify all of them across the board – the senior
citizens (which were described by one of your cohorts as a group of people foolishly dribbling money away on lottery tickets;
the young families (I guess if they have no children they have no right to vote on how their tax money is to be spent); those
with children (who apparently by your measure all have children who are “academically and athletically challenged”
and who do not give a crap and apparently did not come out to vote); and all the rest who did vote but whom apparently should
have voted differently because you pretend to believe that your wants come before those of the community’s.
My fellow neighbors, friends, parents, and families, tonight I will not urge you to take
any considerations regarding votes, budgets, elections, etc. I would however urge you to consider the shortsightedness that
has brought our community to this place in time. Shortsightedness that has resulted in a situation that is no longer sustainable.
Years ago, someone coined the phrase “think globally, act locally”. I think that
motto is a good one to live by. Our great country right now is standing at a precipice in this time in history. Think about
it; one of our brightest innovative companies IBM (Its PC business) was recently sold to a Chinese company. China
(just until the recent past was considered a third world nation) will soon surpass the United States in manufacturing and in energy demand. China also now operates both
ports at either end of the Panama Canal (and will be bankrolling the largest new construction project in the world –
the widening of the Panama Canal, thus it is poised to have a major stake in all of the global economy. The education level
of the majority of countries in Europe now surpasses that of the United
States. How do we as a country, as a community (individual school district) even start to
be relatively competitive if we don’t start thinking outside of the box and fixing our broken school systems? Newsday
recently published an interesting article entitled “Getting In” describing the struggle of our brightest students
trying to get into college. Even those who are extraordinarily talented athletes are having trouble. Why? Because the world
is looking for something different, something that shines brighter. The age we live in is evermore competitive and we need
to adjust. There is no way around it. Today our great school district also stands at a precipice and our actions need to meet
the challenge ahead. Our future depends on it. The children’s future depends on it.
To the Cheerleaders/lackeys who want to insist that, I (or other reformers) are anti-sports.
I am sorry but you are only deluding yourselves. I am a lover of society; the importance of sports and how it is intertwined
into society is not lost on me. It is not lost on me that the greatest societies held these issues important. Such was the
impetus for the great Coliseum in the Roman Empire (as just one example). It is also not
lost on me that these great societies were made possible by innovative thinking, ability to adapt, and sacrifice.
Innovate we must. Adapt we must. Sacrifice we must (except that we have sacrificed far too
much economically due to waste, mismanagement, corruption and cronyism).
I am getting tired now so I will get going. I wish you all a good night and good luck.
2007 Copyright Sandman
Open Letter to the E.I. Community:
We need a plan to prepare a budget that this community will pass next year. This week I had to try and explain
to my daughter why she will only have library every other Friday. I saw two beautiful science labs in two buildings not being
used at all. In this age of increasing technology where they say a tremendous amount of our population will be working in
technical and/or health related fields it is outrageous that our elementary school children cannot use the beautiful science
labs we built for them.
How many cuts will our children take before our teachers take one?????
In JFK primary
chorus has been cut. We are fundraising to give our children the extra curricular activities necessary for a well rounded
education. By my modest and uneducated estimation of the numbers posted, we will have raised at least 750,000 dollars for
EIABC and SAFE by the time this school year is over. The teachers welfare fund is over a million dollars.
cuts will our children take before our teachers take one?????
I am known in this community for being a supporter of
teachers and I am. I don’t have a problem with salaries. I think after 20 years of working hard in the same place and
being creative and fresh year after year they should be compensated accordingly. I think the good teachers earn every dime
of that salary. However the benefits need to step into this century. Health care alone in this country is completely out of
whack but why, why, why does it have to only impact the tax payer.
How many cuts will our children take before our
teachers take one?????
I cannot bear to look my seven year old in the eye and tell her again next year that the beautiful
library we built, as a community, can only be seen by her class twice a month. I don’t think for the amount of taxes
we pay that my son should see a study hall before 11th grade and we have 7th graders with study halls.
How many cuts
will our children take before our teachers take one?????
How many years will it take to get back all the electives
we lost in the highschool this year? How many years will it take to get back the gifted program that was lost the first time
we were on austerity?
How many cuts will our children take before our teachers take one?????
Come on educators
of Eat Islip, you work in beautiful buildings that have all been dramatically renovated in the last 7 years, you are safe
here, you have a very supportive parental base that works with you to get you whatever you need in your classrooms. We admire
and respect you and your work. We are grateful that most of our children are graduating with Regents diplomas and going on
to 4 year colleges, you chose this profession and it is a noble one, but my taxes have gone up 55% in the last 10 years and
I have given up many things to pay to live here now my children are sacrificing important aspects of their education to pay
the tax bill.
How many cuts will our children take before our teachers take one?????
plea from a mom...........................
Open Letter to: East Islip Teachers' Association - Retiree Chapter
I find it very interesting
that the East Islip Teachers Association - Retirees Chapter has so much to to say about SchoolWatch in their August 16th publication...
you bet our freedom of speech was violated - and you haven't heard the last of that one!
Second, we do not "continue
to undermine reasonable attempts toward progress and order" as you so arrogantly state in your newsletter. To the contrary,
we are attempting create change by building awareness of the issues among the community. A community that is tired and has
been put through the wringer and needs a break!
Third, yes we've been very vocal in suggesting ways to trim taxes
- However, we are not trying to do it all on the teachers' backs! We respect our teachers - It's the union that is the problem!
TRYING TO DIVIDE THE EAST ISLIP COMMUNITY - BECAUSE YOU HAVE PICKED THE WRONG ONE TO DIVIDE!
THE TEACHERS UNION
IS AN 800 LB. GORILLA THAT HAS THE GOLDEN GOOSE BY THE NECK! WHY DON'T YOU SQUEEZE A LITTLE HARDER AND END IT - BECAUSE THERE
WILL BE NO MORE GOLDEN EGGS FOR YOU!
STOP TRYING TO SLANDER AND VILIFY SCHOOLWATCH!
Frank M. Gerace
Islip School Board,
The East Islip School District reroutes thousands of taxpayers’
dollars into the hands of the teachers’ union every year, by granting paid release time for representatives to attend
union activities and by financing the union president (Nancy Close - $120K/yr?) and I believe, other officers to take extended
leave from regular duties. I believe this funding is done primarily through collective bargaining agreements but also through
school board policies and administrative practices.
Release time for union activities may include attending local
union meetings or workshops, negotiating bargaining agreements, etc. Many school districts agree to pay a certain number
of days per school year for their teachers to participate in these activities. The union either repays the district for the
much lower cost of a substitute teacher or pays nothing at all.
A separate but related subsidy to the union involves paid
leave for union officers. This practice includes granting extended leave to local union presidents and other local officers.
In most districts where this occurs, the district pays the released teacher’s regular salary while the union reimburses
a significantly smaller amount to the district. Some union presidents, who are performing full-time labor advocacy, receive
advancement on the salary schedule as if they had taught in the classroom. Also, several districts have agreed to pay their
teachers for days of service as officers in the union.
I strongly believe that policymakers should eliminate these
subsidies, forbidding the school district from:
• providing employees paid release time from regularly
contracted duties to attend union activities. For each day used by an employee for union purposes, the union should compensate
the district in full at the employee’s daily pay rate, or the district should deduct the day from the employee’s
accumulated personal leave.
• paying any employee for release time from regularly
contracted duties to serve or hold office in any union. For each day used by an employee for union purposes, the union should
compensate the district in full at the employee’s daily pay rate, or the district should deduct the day from the employee’s
accumulated personal leave.
• releasing any employee from regularly contracted
duties to serve or hold office in any union for more than one school year. During any such time, the union should pay the
full cost of the salary and benefits of such employees.
• granting formal experience credit to any employee
released from regularly contracted duties to serve or hold office in any union for one-half contract year or longer.
As long as the unions completely finance their own activities,
granting them reasonable amounts of release time is acceptable. However, the current practice of the school district paying
teachers to participate in union activities should end.
Paid release time can include general leave days to attend
workshops and assemblies, half-year or full-year absences from teaching duties for local union presidents and other officers,
or allotments of paid leave to teachers elected to serve in union positions. The practices vary from district to district.
Teachers’ unions are interest groups dedicated to the
interests of their members. Therefore, any district financing of union activities constitutes a taxpayer subsidy to an interest
group. In other words, when teachers take paid release time to participate in union business, money that could have been used
for educational resources bypasses the students. These students are also left with less experienced and effective instructors
in their classrooms. In some cases, the district pays both for the teachers released to participate in union activities and
for the substitutes hired to replace them. Even if the union repays the substitute costs, the district still subsidizes the
union with a cost differential that sacrifices teacher quality.
Many school districts grant recognized experience credit
to teachers who take extended leave to serve as union presidents or other officers. While these teachers are busy doing the
work of labor advocacy, they still advance on the salary schedule the same as a colleague carrying a full load of classroom
instruction. Becoming a better labor advocate is not equivalent to becoming a better teacher. Taxpayer dollars should not
finance union release time. Union officers should not receive educational experience credit for union work.
It becomes abundantly clear to me that the school district
should stop harming the students and taxpayers by paying for teacher leave days to participate in union business and activities.
This practice should be stopped immediately.
Please advise of your position or thoughts on this subject
matter. If it happens to be a pending contractual issue or item, I will understand you not being able to discuss it. However,
I believe you should still be able to advise on what this has cost us over the past year. Thank you.
LETTER FROM JOE SARGENT ...TO EI SCHOOL BOARD 8-11-06
(posted here with his permission)
I CANT IMAGINE WHAT YOUR HOUSEHOLD FINANCE DISCUSSIONS MUST BE LIKE....DO YOUR
HUSBANDS / WIVES HAVE TO SIGN IN TO SPEAK BEFORE THEY ARE ALLOWED TO..?
WHAT ABOUT IF THERE IS A DIFFERENCE OF OPINION....DO
YOU WAIT TILL NEXT MONTH TO SIGN IN AND DISCUSS IT..?
HOW DO YOU RESOLVE MATTERS WHEN YOU ARE UNWILLING TO HEAR WHAT
THE OTHER PARTY HAS TO SAY...?
HOW DOES THE PUBLIC KNOW WHAT GOES ON WITH TEACHER NEGOTIATIONS WHEN IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN
KEPT A SECRET FROM THEM...?
PLEASE...DONT GIVE US THE STOCK RHETORIC THAT THE TEACHERS UNION HAS ALWAYS BEEN RECEPTIVE
TO THE COMMUNITY.....IS THAT WHY WE'RE FORCED TO PAY THEM DOUBLE AND TRIPLE WHAT SOME OF US MAKE........ESPECIALLY THE ONES
ON A FIXED INCOME....WHO BUILT THIS COMMUNITY....WHO DID ALL THE VOLUNTEERING FOR THE SCHOOLS AND KIDS .
WHY IS IT
THAT WHEN WE CAN PUT TOGETHER A LARGE GROUP OF VOLUNTEERS FOR A SCHOOL DANCE OR FUNCTION, MORE THAN WHAT IS ENOUGH....WE MUST
STILL HAVE A PAID TEACHER THERE...?
IS THAT A UNION THAT IS RECEPTIVE TO THE COMMUNITY..?
I HAVE LIVED IN THIS
COMMUNITY FOR 42 YRS, (VOTED ON BUYING THE CABBAGE FIELD TO BUILD THE PRESENT SCHOOLS), HAVE HAD CHILDREN IN SCHOOL FROM 1964
TO THE NEAR PRESENT, HAVE VOLUNTEERED FOR EVERY THING THAT WAS NEEDED, FROM CHAPERONING DANCES AND TRIPS, TO FUNDRAISING AND
BUILDING TWO PLAYGROUNDS, TO BEING ON THE INITIAL GROUP OF FTK, SCHOOL BUSINESS PARTNERSHIP, ROBOTICS, PTA, (FASHION SHOW,
SENIOR BREAKFAST COOK, ...ETC )AD INFINATUM...WHATEVER NEEDED TO BE DONE...
I AM ON TWO YOUTH BOARDS THAT TRY TO PROVIDE
ACTIVITY FOR THE KIDS…
I HAVE BEEN A VOLUNTEER ISLIP TERRACE FIREMAN
I AM A REPUBLICAN COMMITEEMAN (WITH
A WALKING LIST OF ALL VOTERS)
I AM A MEMBER OF THE AMVETS, MOOSE, FORESTERS. DOES THIS GIVE YOU AN IDEA OF MY COMMITMENT
I WILL USE ALL THIS ENERGY TO OPPOSE PEOPLE LIKE YOU WHO THINK THEY ARE ABOVE THE LITTLE GUY AND CAN
SHOVE YEAR AFTER YEAR OF WASTEFUL, EXHORBITANT SPENDING THAT LEAVES LITTLE ROOM FOR THE LITTLE GUY TO BREATH AND FUNCTION
AND REMAIN IN THEIR HOMES. WE ARE TOLD TO ....."DIE"......"LEAVE"...."MOVE" SO SOME PEOPLE CAN HAVE THEIR GRANDIOSE SCHOOLS…
I KNOW PEOPLE ALL OVER THIS GREAT COUNTRY AND KNOW THAT PEOPLE IN EAST NO-PLACE MONTANA AND MINNESOTA AND ILLINOIS, ETC. HAVE
GOOD EDUCATIONS, SUCCESFULL CAREERS, EVEN BECOME MILLIONAIRES...WITHOUT HAVING GONE THROUGH THE GREAT EAST ISLIP SCHOOL DISTRICT.
AM CONSANTLY REMINDED OF THE STORY OF "THE EMPERORS NEW CLOTHES" WHENEVER I HEAR THE CHEST BEATING RHETORIC THAT WE ARE THE
TAXING US OUT OF OUR HOMES SO THAT OLD PEOPLE ARE FORCED TO MOVE....SO THAT OUR OWN KIDS CAN’T
AFFORD TO LIVE HERE...
SO THAT OUR TEACHERS LEAD THE STATE TEACHERS IN THEIR
QUEST FOR MORE MONEY...I HAVE KNOWN TEACHERS WHO BECAME TEACHERS BACK IN THE 50s AND 60s WHO KNEW IT WAS A LOW PAYING CAREER
BUT DID IT FOR LOVE.....
DO WE HAVE A RUTH C KINNEY ANYWHERE IN THE TEACHERS UNION?
PLEASE DENNIS ET AL...DONT
INSULT MY INTELLIGENCE WHEN YOU CUT OFF A SPEAKER BY TELLING US THAT THE TEACHERS UNION HAS ALWAYS WORKED WITH US... "SHOW
ME THE MONEY." SHOW ME GIVE BACKS... NOT...DEFFERRED LOANS OR PAYMENTS. SHOW ME A WILLINGNESS TO LISTEN TO THE REQUESTS OF
THE EMPLOYER - THE TAXPAYING LITTLE PEOPLE.
AND MOST OF ALL...
SHOW A LITTLE RESPECT FOR THE PUBLIC AND STOP
RUNNING THE MEETING LIKE YOUR PRIVATE FIFEDOM.
IT'S A PUBLIC MEETING... IF IT GETS A LITTLE ROWDY...SO BE IT...
HOW THIS COUNTRY WAS BUILT!
I GET HOT UNDER THE COLLAR SOMETIMES WITH MY WIFE AND KIDS....DONT MEAN I'M NOT GONNA HEAR
WHAT THEY HAVE TO SAY.....
I COULD GO ON...AND ON...AND ON... WITH WHAT I PERCEIVE IS WRONG
BUT, ENOUGH FOR