The Board of Education has posted something they are calling a New Rochelle School Budget Survey on their home page and promoted it by pitching the story to the Journal News. Apparently the district sent out a press release (but not to Talk of the Sound, as usual). In it, Organisciak says, "It is critical for us to hear from all constituencies about what is most vital to them as we look to make appropriate reductions in spending while maintaining the high quality of education that the New Rochelle community has come to expect."
First, the quality of education in New Rochelle is mediocre for the vast majority of students which may explain just 55% of black students and 51% of Latino students graduated on time according to the last graduation report issued by the State of New York in March 2010. It certainly explains why New Rochelle High School is no longer ranked in the annual Newsweek high school survey.
Second, Organisciak his talking about cuts while he and his fellow senior administrators got a 4.5% pay increase. Assistant Superintendent for Finance John Quinn, the guy in charge of the controlling costs has seen his salary rise by 25% since he came to work for the district in 2007.
Third, there is nothing in any of these questions that address the rampant fraud and corruption in the school district.
A close inspection of the survey shows that the Board of Education is seeking to once again to foster the idea that the choices facing the district are whether to cut the JV wrestling team, increase class sizes or scrap the Scrabble club. This is the usual fear mongering which suggests that the Budget review meetings will be yet another pointless dog and pony show where Board Members pour over numbers as if they have a clue as to what they are looking at or that the administration will actually base spending on the budget numbers.
My favorite part of this survey is the pretense that it will shape policy.
Talk of the Sound will have several specific changes to recommend next week that will actually cut costs by millions of dollars, taking money out of the pockets of crooks and cheats working for the district, freeing up funds that can go to support educating our children. There is absolutely no need to fire any teachers, cut extra-curricular or sports programs or eliminate elite academic programs or electives.
Until then feel free to review the district's farce of a survey.
1. Please read each area on the left and select the description from the row above that best defines, for you, how important the area is for the schools and community.
I. Up-to-date technology in classrooms and its use in our schools
II. Current class sizes
III. Clubs at the MS and HS, like Math Club or Yearbook
IV. JV and Varsity Athletics
V. Middle School Athletics
VI. Band, Orchestra, Chorus and Art at the Elementary Level
VII. Preserving AP Classes, like Statistics or other advanced/honors classes
VIII. Preserving HS electives, like Psychology
a. Essential and critical to the school district’s mission
b. Very important to our mission and worth preserving at almost all costs
c. Good to have, but not essential for our district
d. Not important enough to preserve in a time of fiscal constraint
e. No opinion.
2. Do you have any comments about the importance of the categories listed above that you’d like to share?
3. Please tell us a little bit about yourself. You are a:
Parent/guardian of a current private school student
Community member without a child in school
Parent/guardian of current school age student
4. If you are a parent or student in the District, please indicate the grade level(s) you or your child(ren) attend.
5. Over the past 10 years, how would you describe your voting consistency with regard to school elections?
Poor – I have voted in only a small number of school elections
Average – I have voted in about half of the school elections
Exceptional – I have voted in every election
Awful – I have not voted in ANY school elections
Very Good – I have voted in most school elections
6. When you think about what motivates you to come to the polls for a school election, which answer best fits how you feel?
I am most motivated by taxes being raised or lowered.
I am most motivated by programs added, reduced, or eliminated.
I am most motivated by the Board of Education election.
I am most motivated by the desire to exercise the right to vote.