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Croton Harmon School Budget Cuts to Cause Staff Layoffs

April 6, 2007

Crotonblog: Letters to the Editor, Croton-on-Hudson, New York 10520
The 2007 school budget is coming up. The school board and Dr. Castro have decided to lay off a number of support staff employees. They will also be asking for an increase in the budget. The big question to me is what exactly do they gain by this decrease in staff? They will not be adding anything to the district only taking away.

I, as a tax payer would rather pay a higher increase in the budget and not see services taken away from our children! Really how much more could it cost? It just doesn’t make sense to not gain something by changes that create a loss!

— Kevin Mulligan

On April 11, 2007 9:08 PM, KWilly said:

Justathought, High School it would be nice to have in school lunch however there are some concerns. School Food is notoriously bad and in some cases where it is good it sometimes costs more then the food in town. If you had the cafeteria i have a feeling it would lead to a revoking of the out of school lunch privilege. In terms of healthy food just because there is food in school does not mean that it is healthy and even if some of it is healthy if there is sexy unhealthy food and the kid has to choose i think that kid is going to choose the sexy unhealthy food. Also you need the money for this and because the school keeps losing state aid and property taxes are going up where are you going to find the money? We lost money last year or two years ago because we didn’t have a cafeteria and we would of used that money that was taken away to build a cafeteria

On April 11, 2007 8:46 PM, justathought said:

—Marshall Goldberg is a great person who has a long dedicated history with the school board, however, since his passion and knowledge are with regard to reform, he may actually be more effective in a different role. —I happen to know there are far more than just a suspected “few” who struggle (often unsuccessfully)to send a healthly lunch along with their children each day. Yes right here in Croton! I would like all children to have lunch. —Croton stands alone as what might be one of the only schools in Westchester without a lunch program. Put the federal assistance aside, a lunch program provides balanced food options, at reasonable cost. Offered at the high school it would actually even allow time to eat lunch sitting down.

On April 11, 2007 4:28 PM, voice of reason said:

If you track the school district budgets, State Aid has decreased by almost 18% over the last 5 years. Mind you the State Aid Croton gets has always been a drop in the bucket. I’ve always been amazed that Croton gets so little.

A big part of it is the inflated real estate values. But if those go down we get other problems. There are a plethora of aid categories and each has a totally arcane formula. Things like the Total Aidable Pupil Units (TAPU) and the total wealth pupil units (TWPU). What it comes down to is a function of wealth and number of registered students. Apparently we are quite weealthy and don’t have enough students, i.e., we are capable of making it pretty much on our own.

I don’t have much of an opinion one way or the other about Marshall Goldberg, but he’s been on the Board for quite a few years — what has he done from that position to garner more aid — and how effective has he been?

And don’t get me started on the hot lunch program. That was quite a hot topic a few years ago, and back then Dr Castro said in a public meeting that the District would have to significantly subsidize any hot meal program. Combine that with the fact that I doubt Croton has more than 3-4 students that qualify for reduced or free meals I’ve never seen how we could get that much ahead by offering hot meals.

I could be wrong — the State Aid associated with the meal program is at least as obscure and complex as the General Operating Aid. Could anyone give me a real estimate of what hot meals could actually gain for the District???

On April 11, 2007 4:07 PM, sdavidson said:

I’m sorry to keep pushing this off topic, but I need to address some of the things you said. Galef has stood up for reform for years and it is an integral part of her agenda. She’s introduced and stood behind legislation to reform the redistricting process. She is a staunch supporter of paper ballot/optical scan voting machines. Her last constituent survey was geared toward reforming the member items process. She backed Assemblyman Bragman when he had his attempted “coup” several years back. People like Kevin, who I respect, will not be happy until she walks in to the Speaker’s office, throws a pie in his face, and at the same time gets all her bills passed and lots of money for the district. This isn’t going to happen.

I don’t know what was going through her head when she voted for DiNapoli. I do, however, know that every single Democrat in the Assembly voted the same way. Don’t you think it is possible that at least one of them did so for sincere reasons? If you want to blame some one for that fiasco, you can blame Elliot Spitzer. He took Pete Grannis off the table to instigate a fight with Silver and impress people like you.

On April 9, 2007 6:56 PM, REFORM H/\PPENS said:

Galef is a total joke. While I’m sure she is well intentioned she has really done nothing (including trying) to reform the process. She thinks not taking member items is a symbolic gesture of reform but all she does is shortchange her constituents. She introduces bills, sends out a press release and calls it a day. She doesn’t lobby her colleagues for successful passage. She doesn’t use her bully pulpit to draw attention to the gridlock – she just hopes for a nice article in the paper and that no one will call her out and reveal that all she does is create an illusion of action. The people want reform and Galef sure isn’t delivering it.

Also, let’s not forget that she voted for Tom DiNapoli as comptroller because “he was the most qualified.” What a load of crap! That vote was symbolic of everything Galef does.

When she was finally given an opportunity to do something good for the reform movement in NY she turned her back and showed her true status quo colors…

We need more folks like Eliot Spitzer in NY not like Sheldon Silver and Joe Bruno.

*If you work hard enough…REFORM HAPPENS

On April 7, 2007 5:19 PM, KWilly said:

I’m criticizing her for not making school funding as much of a priority as it should be. Sandy dosent have to show discretion towards us in the form of pork for this to happen if in general she makes an effort to give education the boost it needs. If the State dosent fund education more of the money we need to fund programs will have to come from somewhere which in this case is in the form of higher local taxes. More of the blame for school funding goes on the federal level. For Special Education the federal government is supposed to pay for 40% of the cost and they only pay 17%. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) proposed bringing the tax rates on the top .3% to pre-bush tax cut level and his amendment to do this was overwhelmingly defeated. Our property taxes would have been alot lower if this was passed and the school would be able to not get rid of the support staff and other things that are wanted.

On April 7, 2007 1:30 PM, sdavidson said:

Sandy is a very effective Assemblywoman. You criticize her for not shaking things up enough, and now you’re basically criticizing her for not getting enough pork. You want her to be a liberal Greg Ball and at the same time you want her to bring home lots of money for your school. This is an unreasonable demand.

Tell me how Marshall would be able to be so critical of everyone in Albany and at the same time get money for the district.

On April 7, 2007 9:59 AM, KWilly said:

We lost some money last year which i bet we still dont have this year because we didn’t have a hot food cafeteria. They were going to use that money to put in a hot food cafeteria. Sandy Galef is an ineffective assemblywoman who does nothing except for brag about herself and pass meaningless laws. Im still hoping that Marshall Goldberg can try and challenge her in the primary again

Kevin W. Davis

On April 7, 2007 7:34 AM, sacklabs said:

This is indeed disturbing. After a little googling I found that the budget cuts are the result of the loss of state aid (listed in 2 different articles as $200K and $400K so I cant be sure of the true amount of $$’s lost) and skyrocketing insurance costs. The impact of the state aid cuts and the insurance is so great that although we, the taxpayers will be treated to a healthy 9% tax increase, our children still get a decrease in services.

What really puzzles me about all this is how Westchester county as a whole got a 9.4% INCREASE in state aid. Croton however is one of only 2 districts in the county that will LOOSE money. All others get an increase. Combine this with the fact that other counties are getting even GREATER increases (Nassau +13.4%, Orange +11.4%, Dutchess +10.9%) and its truly baffling.

I’m afraid that I’m ignorant to the mechanics and politics of how this works. Are the increases/decreases by school district decided on at the state level or do they decide by county with the county left to divvies up the aid? Is Croton’s decrease in Aid due to a lack of lobbying by our school district officials and/or local pols? Are we being ignored and abandoned by state reps?

Anyone with some knowledge on this topic, please shed some light.



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