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Board made fair decision

January 31, 2013

Facing a $500,000 shortfall, the Fonda-Fultonville Board of Education had to make some tough decisions in the district’s current budget....

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Jan-31-13 11:47 AM

The next step should be to send packing those who led the district down this path. The convenient scapegoat will be Jim Hoffman since he already left. Additionally, the business manager appears to be clueless. However, it was the BOE who demonstrated their lack of leadership and oversight when they OKed lucrative labor contracts for their relatives and ex-colleagues. An infusion of fresh blood on the BOE will serve to revive the district regain its health.

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Jan-31-13 2:02 PM

A VERY big hats off to the coaches and to Brown Transportation for this free service they're offering and for showing how they step to the plate during a time of austere need. Hopefully this will be the only time we'll need to them to do this and hopefully we can offer something to them for their gratitude.

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Jan-31-13 3:48 PM

There was nothing "fair" about any of these dealings.

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Jan-31-13 5:20 PM

Without their stipend for coaching spring sports, the head track coach and head baseball coach will still be at about the 90K salary level. Not bad for 2 gym teachers who reside outside the district boundaries. The District already gave their several kids free tuition at FFCS, which this year was established at $4400 per student for non-district residents. For a District so financially strapped, there are approximately 26 children who reside outside the District, yet are not charged tuition. They are all children of FFCSD teachers. There is NO contract language that allows this.

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Jan-31-13 5:24 PM

Hilltopper - Dr. Michel told the boe and taxpayers about a month ago that since teachers who live outside the district are currently allowed and have been allowed to bring their kids to FF free it can not be taken away unless it is negotiated.... fat chance of that happening I would say. One question that I thought of after reading the article is since we have 3 guidance counselors wouldn't it have made more sense to eliminate one of them and keep the psychologist?

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Jan-31-13 5:28 PM

The coaches were given something for their gratitude because the Athletic Director's wife who job was in jeopardy with the closing of the pool was saved with the signing of the MOA...I am assuming as a thank you

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Jan-31-13 5:33 PM

FFCS's web site lists 12 phys. ed. teachers. I'm sure they all get a pay check.

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Jan-31-13 6:22 PM

I am sure that those who lost their job so kids can play sports are really amused. I wonder how long it will be before we get "save our pool" protests, and "save the jobs"?

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Jan-31-13 6:54 PM

According to statements made by the Interim Superintendent the Teachers Union voted to allow the coaches to volunteer and keep sports otherwise there would not be any.

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Jan-31-13 7:01 PM

Abe: Dr. Michel, and I use the term Dr. loosely, was unable to achieve in 6 months what Collucci did in 4 weeks. Free tuition is not in the labor contract. If the FFTA wants it to continue, put it on the table and give the District some concessions in return for that freebie. As far as the psychologist, we can hire one through the HFM BOCES and get reimbursed for a large percentage of the salary. One of the new BOE members happens to be married to a BOCES psychologist. That's my prediction as far as filling the gap.

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Feb-01-13 5:54 AM

An itinerant BOCES employee's services must be shared between at least two districts in order for the districts to receive state aid on that service. That caveat should preclude the psychologist who currently serves FF 3 days per week from being full-time at FF.

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Feb-01-13 8:40 AM

The teachers union could be the problem.

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Feb-01-13 11:47 AM

OE and St. Johnsville Superintendents get a paid leave ? Whats up with that ? Your tax dollars at work. They get paid they should be working.

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Feb-01-13 4:53 PM

GReader - I am not sure I am following you. It was suggested the vacancy would be filled by a current board members spouse who is a BOCES Psychologist....are you saying the district already has a BOCES psychologist on its payroll in addition to the one they just let go?

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Feb-01-13 7:47 PM

Abe: it appears that way if you look at the staff listing on the FFCS website.

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Feb-01-13 7:53 PM

Tax Tired: It was the O-E Superintendent and the St. Johnsville Elementary Principal placed on paid administrative leave, NOT the St. Johnsville Superintendent, who is not even mentioned in the article. Please, more careful reading and attention to details on behalf of innocent parties.

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Feb-01-13 8:41 PM

"taxtired" has it right. The unions have been unwilling to renegotiate their annual pay increases, including annual increases, annual steps, and annual lane payment which amount to between a 2% - 5% each and every year for every employee. The unjustified annual pay increases of all employees is the real problem and it continues to go unreported.

At one recent meeting, Executive Secretary Robin Rose was upset that her son would be unable to play baseball during his Senior year. Ms. Rose, the responsible action is quite obvious - get your union membership to forego the annual salary increase, including steps and lane payment for the current year and the next 5 years as a start. This would result in such a significant savings, all the sporting programs, including modified sports, the pool, and all staffing could be funded.

The school employees again to to answer a fundamental question - is it about the children (your claim) or is it about their selfish ambition (reality).

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Feb-01-13 10:17 PM

I thought last year the FF board got a pay freeze from all 3 unions? The real problem is they promised the taxpayers a budget that included the 2 positions they just cut along with sports and then pulled a bait and switch with the taxpayers. The taxpayers can no longer trust any budget the board gives them. I felt Ms. Rose was speaking as a taxpayer and had a right to be upset along with all the other taxpayers who were misled. I pay taxes in the Town of Mohawk and I can not afford my taxes to go up another penny so the board better get their act together for this next budget.

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Feb-02-13 8:20 AM

Tks for the correction. It should read The ex superintendent of oppenheim, who is now the elemetary principal of St. Johnsville.

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Feb-02-13 8:50 AM

"HonestAbe", you are correct, in concept, that last year the FF board negotiated a "pay freeze" from all 3 unions, but the devil, as always, is in the detail. The "pay freeze" agreed to was for the annual salary increase portion. The annual step increases continue. This means the each and every union employee is making more than they did last year, and will make more next year that they did this year, "pay freeze" or not.

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Feb-02-13 10:51 AM

Architect - Thanks for the information. The FF board needs to realize hiding "details" like this from the taxpayers is not going to get a budget passed. I am bit miffed by this because I asked an employee and was told every single employee's salary stayed exactly the same as last year, no step was given and they were actually taking home less because insurance costs went up. I guess I need to make a call to the Interim Supt on Monday to get the truth.

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Feb-02-13 12:29 PM

Architect--where in the world are you getting your info? Teachers gave back on benefits two years ago, saving the school $.5M. The district said they wouldn't come after them again. Then last year, they came back again. The teachers gave a HARD freeze, meaning pay AND step. Everyone is making less. This is one of the few unions in the entire state who gave a hard freeze and got nothing for it. teachers associations in neighboring schools gave salary OR step and received some sort of language in return. Where is the $.5M the teachers saved? Where is the money the teachers association and UEA saved? And, administrators did not FREEZE. They have been negotiating their contracts for a few years. Why did an outside auditor have to tell the district $500K was missing? Where is all this money? People need to be asking hard questions. These blogs are not helpful either with people reporting incorrect info. as "facts".

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Feb-02-13 1:14 PM

"adkgirl", there is no doubt that 'These blogs are not helpful either with people reporting incorrect info. as "facts"'. Your statement: "Everyone is making less." though is a undeniable example of the reporting of incorrect information. No one employee has ever had a year-to-year salary reduction. This may be a definition problem, again with the devil in the detail, since your premise is that a partial reduction in planned salary increases is a reduction in pay, when it is not.

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Feb-02-13 2:43 PM

All I am saying is teachers gave back on salary AND step. If you look at a pay stub, pay absolutely went down over last year. You can call it what you want, play with definitions, or semantics, but the FFTA has been recognized as one of the only associations that gave salary AND step.

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Feb-02-13 3:34 PM

At least the union keeps the signs for the next time they don't get thier way.

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