Seaford Voters Once Again Reject School Budget

District will now be forced to contingency after second spending plan defeat in a month.

For the second time in five weeks, Seaford voters have rejected a school budget proposal and now the district will have to operate on contingency for the first time in five years.

Seaford’s revised spending plan of $54.9 million was voted down Tuesday by 201 votes, 1,479 to 1,278. The budget proposal was $261,623 less than the $55.2 million spending plan voters on May 17.

"The residents of Seaford have spoken and we will follow the direction they have given us for the 2011-12 school year," said Seaford Superintendent Brian Conboy. "This has been a frustrating budget planning process and while I can understand how the residents feel about their school taxes, I am disappointed in the result of this vote."

Tuesday’s rejection by Seaford voters means the district will operate on a contingency or “austerity” budget for the first time since the 2005/06 school year. Under contingency, the budget is only able to be increased 2.26 percent and the district is limited to spending funds on bare essential items. The district will also be required to charge community groups to use its facilities.

The proposed budget increase for the spending plan voted down was 2.43 percent and would have included a jump of 8.43 percent in the tax levy, which is the total amount that a district must raise in property taxes in order to meet expenses. The average Seaford homeowner would have seen an increase of about $558 on their tax bills under the proposal, only a $15 difference from a contingency budget, according to district officials.

Some of the cuts that were included in the proposed budget voted down included $141,000 to middle school athletics, $68,000 in maintenance costs, $80,000 in technology, and $20,000 in security expenses.

The Seaford Board of Education now must cut another $95,394 to get its budget to contingency level. After announcing the results, the school board was discussing holding off on some equipment orders in order to reach contingency level.

The Board of Education has scheduled special meeting for June 29 at the Band Room starting at 7:30 p.m. to adopt the final budget prior to the state's July 1 deadline.

Charlie Allnut June 27, 2011 at 05:44 PM
Dear SS Teacher, I reposted the observation that another made that: “Most regurgitate the same lesson plan year to year.” This was based on his own direct experience with his children’s teachers. This repost was to counter the impression that most teachers put in “over four hours of research, making materials and putting it together” for “every 41 minute lesson.” I never said that you don’t put in the four hours for every lesson, but I am sure that most don’t come close to that, if they do it at all. Teachers, like everyone else, get their routine down after a couple of years. Maybe you are too new to the job and need four hours to prepare every lesson. It sounds kind of pathetic, but maybe it’s true. Anyway I’ll take your word for it. You don’t make $100K? “We are not that high on the salary scale, yet.” Fine, but more than half the teachers in Seaford make over $100,000, and that’s what we are talking about. You’re not taking the hit for what Albany did. Albany is broke for the same reasons Seaford is broke, and it’s not Wall Street’s fault. It is overspending by government at all levels and the folks in Seaford have just put up the stop sign.
Kenny June 27, 2011 at 05:59 PM
I don't subscribe to the gloom and doom situations being outlined here, Seaford will continue on its merry path with both teachers and residents having a little bit of chip on their shoulders. I think through a lot of these posts, we lost sight that teachers are not individually accountable. Any rational person would take what was given to them. THis is just a game that we all need to play and watch carefully. The Administrators and BOE failed in this budget cycle and this leads to vitriol that we see here. That's not a good thing for this school distict. A lot of good teachers, lot of good parents and kids, the state aid left a million dollar hole in the budget and the group was not prepared to make the hard cuts, they never do. So they play the classic playbook and cut all the things people get emotional over and try to change their vote. But they accomplished their mission, they left an asset unused at Seaford Avenue for another year and the tax payer had to fill 100% of the state aid gap this year before the Albany 2% cap was in place. Is the game to have this ace in the hole (Seaford Ave Bldg) be a 1 year offset in added revenue (sale of bldg) to mask the greater than 2% increase they will demand when the contracts are up. So it will appear they are under the 2% when in fact the operating costs will have gone up even more, but offset by the sales of the bldg. Something just tells me this is exactly what they are doing. Keep your eyes open.
Charlie Allnut June 27, 2011 at 06:24 PM
Oh Kenny, you “don't subscribe to the gloom and doom situations being outlined here, Seaford will continue on its merry path.” Is that just a feeling you have or is it based any factual evidence. Ok, here are some facts: Home at 2365 Willoughby Ave, Seaford, NY 11783 sold 06/06/2011, for $305,000. Listed on the market at $350,000 on 08/20/2010. Valued at $448,000 on 06/01/2006. Dropped $143,000 in value – 32%. Home at 356 Ferris Rd, Seaford, NY 11783 sold 05/16/2011, for $325,000. Listed on the market at $349,000 on 08/22/2010. Valued at $512,000 on 12/01/2005. Dropped $187,000 in value – 37%. And these are before your 8% increase in property tax.
Lorraine DeVita June 27, 2011 at 06:41 PM
Kenney, You bring up a good point , one that most Residents probably hadnt even considered. However, THe UTS does have an Ace in the hole. The Taylor Law - implemented to avert Strikes and walk outs while allowing the union to work under the currently expired contract until a resoltion can be found and implemented. .In the case of the UTS it would be to their best advantage NOT to negotiate therefore continuing with guaranteed raises and step increases under the old contract. They KNOW that this round of negotiations will be difficult and produce nothing of significance so why wouldnt they procrastinate and basically refuse anything brought to the table that is LESS then what they currently have. Especially when they see the $$$$ from the sale of the building. The Next few years are going to more than interesting ,they will be extremely hard on everyone taxpayers, parents , students and yes even teachers.
Kenny June 27, 2011 at 06:47 PM
Charlie -- thanks for the history lesson. So your facts are that houses are worth less now than during the worldwide real estate bubble and that after the bubble, houses sell for less than list price. Since we are pointing out obvious facts here are a few more that our readers might actually find even scarier: - for the first time in recorded history the public sector employee is making more than a private sector employee. (This can't be good) - An average teachers retirement and benefits package will be worth about $1.4 million dollars over the life of their retirement, multiply that by every teacher who will retire in the years to come and add that to the already bloated operating budget. - A Seaford teacher will earn more in retirement than the average US worker will earn in about 30 years.
Wayne Smith June 27, 2011 at 06:47 PM
Charlie - Here's one of my favorite quotes: "Denial ain't just a river in Africa." I agree both with your points about politicians as well as unions. To me, though, politics gets trumps by economics, and when you look at the situation with school taxes from that standpoint, you come down to one stark reality: schools, in particular, have been spending money faster than anybody's making it. At Seaford High, they teach economics and I"m willing to bet that almost any student who has taken that class (to say nothing of someone who has ever had to manage a household budget) would quickly figure out that you can't keep doing this. And yet we do. Now we have a situation, if my understanding is correct, in which schools will now be able to access the debt market to pay for pension costs, all WITHOUT voter approval. At least that was the report in yesterday's Newsday. I think this a huge mistake and nothing more than a means of circumventing the intent of a tax cap. We'll see how this works out in practice but I"m not optimistic.
Lorraine DeVita June 27, 2011 at 06:54 PM
Charlie is right our biggest lifetime investment is losing value quickly . Most homeowners bank on the equity of their home as value added income for retirement. However at the current pace of inflation, higher costs of living, increased taxes and inability to stem the tide, homeowners who purchased their homes within the last 2-5 years have seen no appreciation in equity or their equity disappeared, home values have plummeted, and most new homeowners are on the short side of their mortgages. while their taxes continue to sprial upwards. This is NOT going to turn around overnite. Thats is why it is more important then ever that this commnity as well communities across LI pay attention to EVERY dime that is spent to insure it is spent wisely.To be vigilant, to question. to be involved and vocal. We need to retain and improve the Quality of education ,at an afforbale fiscally responsibile level, to insure we will not add to the cycle of inflation.
Charlie Allnut June 27, 2011 at 07:54 PM
Kenny we all know about the housing bubble, but how does the loss of value in Seaford stack up against the rest of Nassau and the nation in general?
SSteacher June 27, 2011 at 07:54 PM
Charlie, I refrained from any personal attacks. Pathetic? You have no idea what goes into a lesson, a classroom, or my job. I do not pretend to understand what your job is, what you do or how you do it. I have been teaching for 12 years and I produce great kids. If you wish to go on your gut, rather than facts, there is no real point to have a further discussion. A note to all, the changes that you have asked for......teacher "accountability" to test scores and a tax cap are going to cost you a fortune in the end. Test scores are going to be farmed out to government contractors who will charge you $25 per test to distribute and to grade. Just for a high school kid it will be an extra $250 plus each year. The bonds that you will be forced to pass, as Wayne pointed out, will pass the buck down for years of debt for the next generation. There is no doubt about it. Kenny, teachers have a pension that was negotiated a long time ago as deferred compensation to their current positions. The money put into the pension fund is teacher funded. When the pension fund was flush in the 90's they decided to give away an extra 2% to retiring teachers. No one cared. That money would be nice to have now. The pension system will never change. Politicians are in the same pension system as the teachers are. It would take a NYS constitutional convention to change it. Is will never happen. Please dont blame the teachers. Look toward the wealthy, the super wealthy; blame them.
Charlie Allnut June 27, 2011 at 08:06 PM
Dear SS Teacher, If after teaching for 12 years it really takes you four hours to prepare a 41 minute lesson, on a subject you should be expert on, then you are definitely in the wrong job. I suggest something less stressful like working at the post office.
Lorraine DeVita June 27, 2011 at 08:16 PM
SS teacher, re read your own posts you have personally insulted and maligned quite a few and have neglected to answer a ore then few direct questions put out there by many. You objective is clear and one we are all well aware of .. and have heard ad nauseum : Teachers claim they are "for the kids" , "they arent the problem"," blame wall street," They are the foundation and the rock this country was built on, they work exceedingly long and stressful hours, they are under-appreciated. According to the UTS underpaid and undervalued.Yet they through all this remain the caring and kind professionals who are perplexed by all the animosity directed at them. It astounds me that all these educated professionals with Masters degrees refuse to acknowledge even one iota that the taxpayers as their employers have the right to be annoyed concerned and fed up, and yes even angry. From we are at we ARE looking at the Wealthy --
Lorraine DeVita June 27, 2011 at 08:47 PM
Charlie, I concur and so do some of his own collegues! one of his peers from Merrick was rolling in the aisles laughing when I read her that one.. her exact reply text was "LMAO R U kidding me 4 hours??!! somebody better buy him a new watch."
SSteacher June 27, 2011 at 09:34 PM
Charlie, I feel bad that you are angry about your life. I honestly do. I am spectacular at my job. I take the time and preparation to make the 41 minutes my kids have with me an educational learning experience everyday, 180 days a year. My students love the classes I teach and the parents are thrilled when their kid gets me. Its ok that you are angry. I do understand. I am not going to stoop to your level of insults to prove a point. Good luck in the future. I know mine will be awesome.
Charlie Allnut June 27, 2011 at 09:57 PM
Angry? Who’s angry? I am sad for the taxpayers of Seaford whose property taxes will be going up 8% even though they voted NO on the budget. What is doubly sad is that they got into this mess by believing the teacher union propaganda that their children would have a better future if only they would pay their teachers more, and then still more. Now they see the truth, but as been pointed out the UTS still get the terms of its existing contract “continuing with guaranteed raises and step increases under the old contract”; proving that the teachers are on the top of the pecking order, not the children. The way to break this cycle is to take the taxing power away from the existing school district, dissolve the entity known as the Seaford Union Free Schools, and create a new entity “The Seaford Reorganized Schools” which will have no obligation for contracts, pay, pensions, benefits, etc. Then let the State cede to the Seaford Reorganized Schools all property of value (like Obama did for the new GM) and they can begin a hiring process for teachers to fill all the open positions. Teachers from the old Seaford Union Free Schools could apply for teaching positions with the new Seaford Reorganized Schools as well, but not under the old UTS contract. Let the marketplace work and let’s see all the NYC teachers who would be flooding Seaford with applications.
RK June 27, 2011 at 10:00 PM
LOL - SSteacher - why on earth would you even mention here that you work 180 days per year when the rest of us work ~250 days per year? Are you masochistic and asking for further abuse? And of course you are going to have a great future, becasue you will be living off a pension that the rest of us poor slobs have to continue to fund via our taxes therefore CAN'T AFFORD TO RETIRE! GRRRRR..... The NERVE....
RK June 27, 2011 at 10:13 PM
Oh sorry, didn't see the whole bunch of posts above re the 183 - sicks days = 168 day, etc etc.....AMEN. Don't even get me going on the acrrued sick days. Again, NEVER in the private sector. Ridiculous.
Cheap Sam June 27, 2011 at 11:12 PM
I guess self praise is better then no praise. We can't verify your statements of you being a good teacher so save the rhetoric. You not only make too much money but your greedy a** wants more...PERIOD! You want your 3% to 5% raise every year NO MATTER WHAT! Who do you think you are! I don't care how good (self proclaimed) of a teacher you are. When you started 12 years ago you were making $40,000 or so...were you a "SPECTACULAR" teacher then? How about 5 years after that when you were making $60,000 or so...were you spectacular then? Money doesn't make a "SPECTACULAR" teacher...character does! WE DON'T WANT TO PAY THE GOD*** OBSURD TAXES ANYMORE!!! WE DON'T HAVE THE MONEY!!!
Mickey June 27, 2011 at 11:19 PM
SS Teacher... I, like you, also tried to bring some sense to this group of teacher-haters. I finally gave up and took myself out of the fray. May I suggest the same for you? It's useless. You are too intelligent for this discussion group... they don't want to hear anything if it's not bashing the professional educators who work hard and do their best to to help their children grow and develop. Boo-hoo... throw in a little jealousey that teachers have found a rewarding career both professionally and personally. They will never understand that MOST teachers are in the classrooms for all the right reasons...and that it is a NOBLE profession. They are angry and maybe a little jealous? Good luck to you... and keep on giving your students those awesome classroom experiences! They will always remember you for it. And keep in mind that these angry few are NOT representative of most of Seaford. There are MANY out there who appreciate the teachers and hold nothing against them for not giving back their money to the district- especially when they read some of these comments!!! I'm going to duck now...I can just see what's coming my way from this group! Bye all!
SSteacher June 27, 2011 at 11:43 PM
Gy Larry......very funny. All are welcome. Micky, thanks for the kind words. I attempted to have a discussion. It failed. I am really glad to hear you say that these people on here on not representative of Seaford as a whole. I was getting concerned. It is nice to be appreciated. Teaching is an amazing profession with rewards every single day. I am going to take your advise. All a good person can do is try to help. Best of luck to you and yours.
Mark June 27, 2011 at 11:49 PM
Newsflash, the Seaford BOE is considering outsourcing Superintendent Conboys and his many assistants tasks to India as a cost saving measure. However they have hit a snag with the consultant as he has been unable to identify any tasks they currently perform.
Lorraine DeVita June 28, 2011 at 12:25 AM
Mark, I have got hand it you .. thats was really very funny, naughty but funny!
Lorraine DeVita June 28, 2011 at 12:43 AM
SSteacher, you truly arent getting the message, NO one has vilified any Individual here or anywhere else, we have rebutted and shared our opinions. If you dont agree thats perfectly fine, I doubt anyone in here thought you would , but they are still our opinions which for the most part are Well stated, researched with documented facts to back them up. We have read the contracts, we have done the research, we have compared statistics, in other words WE have done our homework, we are not a group of misanthropes who have nothing better to do then pick on the poor teachers. You and others have made our case for us and exemplified what a few of us have been stating for years "What is good for the Educators is not necessarily good for Education or the student." The educational process on all levels needs to be fixed to address the abject reality of the financial situation that traverses across the state and the country. To deny that reality is a disservice to the students you teach as well as the communities you live and work in.
John Kojack June 28, 2011 at 12:43 AM
This is why property taxes should not be linked to public education. Public education should be funded 100% through the federal and state government. 1200 teachers lost their jobs on LI in the past 2 years according to newsday. Who do you think is picking up the slack? well..more is being asked from the existing staff members to produce the same quality with less. I think that SS Teacher would concur that 4 hours a week on lesson plans would be more the norm..excluding grading of course.. I will not bash any profession where you start with a salary under 50k and it takes 20 years to reach six figures..If it was five years like the Police, then i think you would have 90% of staff members making top salary..but that is not the case. On Long Island there were massive retirements from 1992 to 2000, most were tier 1 teachers ...most districts have benefited from these retirements in salary savings...as the majority % of staff members(replacements for these tier 1 educators) reach 15 to 20 years of experience, it has become and will continue to be a burden as this group of tier 3 and 4 educators finish out their careers. Currently a tier 5 employee must contribute 3.5% of annual salary to retirement for life...also educators pay 15 to 25 % of their health package..depending on which district they work in...Also the Taylor law continues the current contract until an agreement can be put into place..but no cost of living increases are paid..godbless
Lorraine DeVita June 28, 2011 at 01:06 AM
John Kojack, If you truly feel that funding should be solely thru the state is the answer , then it would make sense to continue with the process, teachers then would become Civil Service employees with the same unified contract throughout the state, which would also be negotiated on a state level rather then locally.It would eliminate tenure as they know it, would increase their benefit contributions, force concessions based on the economy of the state.introduce a statewide salary progression matrix and base pay , detail specific job descriptions and would hold teachers in general more accoutable thru a state regulated and monitored evaluation process. It would also elminate Step increases. Seems like a plan most could get behind... thanks for the thought! Great idea!
SSteacher June 28, 2011 at 01:29 AM
John you are correct in everything. (I used to spend 4-6 hours a night but Im down to two on plans). The only problem is that if we funded through the state or federal level, as they do in most European countries, the existing uniqueness of each and every school would disappear. I am not saying this is a terrible thing, but on LI the school is recognized as an outgrowth of the community. They are the sole representative of the community to the rest of LI. That is one of the things that does make LI school different from the rest of the country. In many areas of America entire counties are under one school district. Alan Singer of Hofstra has proposed making four large districts within Nassau county. The problem would be selling it to the tax payer. Everyone would contribute equally. People in Seaford pay $10,000 in taxes, people in Great Neck South pay $40,000. Would residents of one community be willing to send their kids to other "magnet" schools throughout Nassau? Its a tough sell to all involved. The other problem is the bureaucracy that is involved. As anyone can tell you the BOE is a nightmare. Imagine that in Nassau.
P.R. June 28, 2011 at 02:24 AM
John "..This is not my opinion, but my observation from experience." I would like to examine the resumes of the pool of applicants rather than rely on your observation. Frankly, I question your objectivity here, to put it politely.
John Kojack June 28, 2011 at 02:55 AM
...consolidating local districts has been discussed as a cost saving measure which would save through administrative costs. Many small districts such as Seaford could benefit with lets say merging with a Wantagh S.D. for example..or West babylon with Babylon..Plainedge with Levittown..Ect...and would still keep the identity of the local area/town intact. Point well taken Lorraine on State educational funding!
Mark June 28, 2011 at 10:54 AM
Consolidating admin and superintendent functions is a no brainer and should have been done long ago. Again, why would Conboy and his 4 assistants want that? Parochial School Supers cover dozens and dozens of dozens of schools. Here we have more Supers than schools. We need to organize and insist that this is implemented. There are 1800 of us who voted no, how can we concentrate all these ideas into action. Please email me at Langhorne68@hotmail.com.
Lorraine DeVita June 28, 2011 at 11:06 AM
Discussions of merging Wantagh and Seaford have been on the table for years. It would make sense for the boards of both districts to meet and discuss the synergies and to evaluate the cost savings if any.I would personaly hire an outside consultant to do the analysis very similiar to a M&A. Initially there would be investments needed by both districts to initiate the process. While the long term savings may be worth while to both districts you have to realize that the Identity of the community is synomous WITH their schools. That would be the biggest obstacle to overcome. The sense of a loss of identity whether right or worng has been the major factor in why we havent pursued this in earnest in the past. Perhaps the financial crisis in Education will be the mitigating factor that overcomes the animosity and fear of a merge. The time may be right to atleast give it serious consideration.
Lorraine DeVita June 28, 2011 at 11:18 AM
Mark, FIrst you need to form a committe comprised of both members from both communities. Each community would then pettition their respective boards simultaneously to initiate a feasibility study jointly that that would address the issues and to identify synergies and cost savings. Then I would imagine after all the leg work is done and a plan is developed the final step would be for BOTH communities to vote on it. That is a VERY simple overview.. Lorraine DeVita ljdcom@aol.com


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