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Hauppauge Parents Petition For District-Wide Wage Freeze

More than 225 residents sign petition asking district employees to take pay freeze to save jobs, lower tax levy.

More than 225 Hauppauge residents have signed a petition asking the district’s teachers, teaching assistants and staff members to take a voluntary wage freeze in 2011-2012 to preserve class size and further lower the proposed 3.46 percent tax levy increase.

“There is a lot of discontent within the community. We would like to have a voice in saying maybe we can all work together to keep our teachers in the classroom doing what they do best and keeping the class size down,” said resident La Young Trantum, as she presented the petition at Tuesday’s board meeting.

The that calls for the elimination of 23 teaching positions and five teaching assistants. If approved on May 17, it will result in 16 teachers and three assistants being laid off after retirements and attrition are taken into account.

The proposed teaching cuts would bring the average class size up to 28 students at and , Superintendent Patricia Sullivan-Kriss said.

“The board members are all saying the children are not getting the fundamentals, so then how is increasing the class size going to help,” said a Hauppauge resident, who asked not to be identified for fear of retribution.

Parents have repeatedly voiced concerns over growing class sizes at district budget meetings. According to New York State School Report Card, the average class size for Hauppauge 10th graders ranged in size from 18 students in mathematics to 25 students in science classes during the 2009-2010 school year.

Many are hoping the petitions will provide support to the district, who is in the middle of open contract negotiations with four out of five of its unions, including the teachers and teaching assistants unions, whose contracts expire this June.

Sullivan-Kriss and her three assistant superintendents have already agreed to take 

The superintendent had board members remove $300,000 from the 2011-2012 budget, lowering the tax levy from 4.14 percent to 3.46 percent, based on her belief in the negotiations’ direction. 

Other Long Island districts whose teachers have taken a pay freeze or made concessions this year include Brentwood, Copiague, East Islip, Half Hollow Hills, Huntington, Port Jefferson, Shoreham-Wading River and Three Village, according to Trantum.

“There are people who think the petition is about taking money away from the teachers and punishing the teachers,” Trantum said. “We want to support the teachers. We cannot layoff people in this economy. They won’t find another job.”

Glenn Barnett April 14, 2011 at 01:00 AM
I do believe at the board meeting before this one the superintendent was given a 3% increase in salary. So when is she taking a freeze? Before or after her increase? Maybe she should rethink keeping 3 assistants and save the district close to if not over $150,000 every year until the economy gets better. Then we wouldn't need to lay off as many teachers and teaching assistants.
Sara Walsh (Editor) April 14, 2011 at 04:05 AM
Hi Glenn, Hauppauge Superintendent Patricia Sullivan-Kriss said at the April 5 Board of Education meeting that she would join the three assistant superintendents in taking a one-year pay freeze. This decision will save the district approximately $23,000 for the 2011-2012 school year. Read more on in here: http://patch.com/A-g074
Forever Hauppauge April 14, 2011 at 11:20 AM
Our educational public system needs a total overhaul. We have teachers and administrators making just as much money as our superintendents. This laws have to change, but that can only happen in Albany. Now with this petition that the President of the Forest Brook PTA presented to the Board of Education will only send a message on a local level, hashing out teacher contracts will increase over the years. We might catch a break for this year but for the years to follow it will catch up, they always do. Why doesn't La Trantum see the big picture? The benefits are mandated by the state yet this is mentioned in that same petition. Bottom line we are barking up the wrong tree, Albany has to change its laws on how our public schools do business, salary caps all around would be helpful. As you can see with the superintendents taking a pay freeze didn't put a dent in our budget, but make everyone have caps across the board you will see a difference. Do honestly think that principals and pupil personnel should be making more money than the superintendents? Our taxes are going to go up and they will keep going up until Albany steps in and fixes the problem. The Board of Education can only work with the tools that they are given they can't change the law. If you look at the other districts that took a pay freeze for teachers you will see that they will make that money back and then some. Change Albany, fix the laws! Stop using a band-aid because it will eventually fall off.
concerned citizen too April 14, 2011 at 12:10 PM
The teachers have DIRECT contact to the children... the superintendent does not.... she is the "business end" of the totem pole so to speak. Teachers are constantly trained and taking courses to keep up with any new techniques/methods they can. This money comes out of THEIR pockets.... with the ever changing standards, teachers need to be on top of this to push their students forward. If businesses want to enrich their employees they (usually) pay for that! We need to STOP taking jabs at the teacher salaries.... why does everyone deny them the salary they receive and deserve? Do we ask pro-sports players to "give back to the communities"??? Lawyers, doctors, "real-estate agents" ??? NO! the teachers have a right to their salary. One more point... exactly HOW MANY teaching positions will be guaranteed to be saved (this year)???? will a freeze actually save ENOUGH teachers??? THIS is what is going on behind closed doors. I am sure NO ONE wants larger class sizes. I do believe what Mrs. Macaluso said... every teacher in Hauppauge WILL continue to give their ALL - they too will suffer with larger class sizes.
glenn barnett April 14, 2011 at 02:32 PM
Hi Sara, While I think that it's very noble that Superintendent Kriss has said she would join the other 3 Assistant Superintendents in taking a 1 year pay freeze. According to the new proposed budget (go on the Hauppauge web site) she is scheduled to get a pay raise. An equally important qusetion that we need to ask ourselves is Do We Really Need 3 Assistant Superintendents each with their own staff. Times are very Tough right now.We need to make some drastic cuts in order to preserve our future and our children's future. Cutting a TA who is barely making $23,000 is hardly going to make a dent in our Budget. Start trimming the fat from the Top down not the Bottom up.
Sara Walsh (Editor) April 14, 2011 at 02:46 PM
Hi Glenn, I am looking into the superintendent's salary posted in the adopted 2011-2012 budget.
Kirsten Reisfield April 14, 2011 at 03:54 PM
I don’t think the intent of the petition was to begrudge our teachers their hard earned paychecks. They do a wonderful job and the community appreciates what they do for our children. I think this was an effort to get everyone to consider that the majority of the taxpayers in this community are not getting raises or bonuses in this economic environment.
glenn barnett April 14, 2011 at 04:29 PM
Hi Sara, Just in case you don't have the web site www.hauppauge.k12.ny.us
Sara Walsh (Editor) April 14, 2011 at 04:39 PM
Hi Glenn, I have the district website. You are referring to budget code 1240 1100, "admin salaries" under the section Chief School Administrator. I am looking into it, in that I have reached out to the district on the matter and am waiting on a response.
Cocerned Resident April 14, 2011 at 07:26 PM
Over 225 residents signing a petition is not the majority of the taxpayers in this community! To base a petition on the fact that the majority of the taxpayers are not getting raises or bonuses is in my opinion is a ridiculous way to go about helping the community. They have been getting these raises for years and now everyone has a problem with it? If more thought were put into this petition rather than jumping the gun before putting any thought into how it was presented to the community there may have been more people standing behind it. When reading it there were errors, misinformation and more! Facts are facts and if you don't have a clear cut knowledge of what is involved then you should not start something like this that can actually be more detrimental to the community, and children of Hauppauge Schools.
Concerned about our community April 14, 2011 at 09:36 PM
Cocerned [sic] statement about "...getting these raises for years..." shows either great insensitivity or a total lack of knowledge of the most basic current events. Our community is experiencing layoffs, pay-cuts, foreclosures and underemployment on a scale not seen in nearly eighty years. The petition asked for; not only the teachers but all the employees whose contracts that are up for renewal; is to understand the pain involved with tax increases on a community already reeling from this devastating economic downturn. BTW, Cocerned [sic] please let me repeat back your comment from 10:36am on Thursday, March 17, 2011 when commenting on the article “Parents Ask District To Negotiate Wage Freeze”: “It would be the most fiscally responsible action on the districts part to freeze wages. It would be selfish no to [sic].”
Cocerned Resident April 14, 2011 at 10:07 PM
It has nothing to do with insensitivity and certainly not a lack of knowledge. What it has to do with is something that has been going on yes for years( not over night) as stated in that ridiculous petition! This can't be undone by 1 petition that does not even make any sense! It's not just Hauppauge that is facing these hard economic times!!! When a petition is put in place and the facts that are sent out to parents is not CORRECT and laws are stated in it that are not even the correct law that is simply ridiculous! Another issue is to mention taking no increase in benefits> who wrote this Mickey Mouse??? Are you part of the club too? I repeat what I wrote today at 3:26 p.m. " if you don't have a clear cut knowledge of what is involved then you should not start something like this that can actually be more detrimental to the community, and children of Hauppauge Schools." Asking for a Pay Freeze has to be done intelligently and correctly and not like a kid put it together for fun! I am almost positive that you" Concerned about our community" must have had something to do with it!
Concerned about our community April 14, 2011 at 11:03 PM
Actually Cocerned [sic] if you had even a basic understanding of what a petition is you would know that it is strictly a collection of signatures that shows the concerns about an issue or problem and to support a specific position. It shows what the 225 residents’ opinion on the matter. It is meant to let the powers that be know that there are people in the community that think a certain way. For your information, Cocerned [sic] I had nothing to do with the petition that was circulated. My beliefs are not part of these posts. They are but an answer to your posts attacking someone for presenting their opinions in a public forum (BOE meeting) not under the cloak of anonymity both you and I currently share.
Voice of Reason April 14, 2011 at 11:54 PM
Here is something to think about. We all want what is best for this community. We want smaller class sizes, our children to get the best education possible, and as home owners here, keeping our school district up to par helps the value of our homes. That being said, the petition I'm sure was put together with good intent, however not very thought out. I think , no I know, that teachers and teaching assistants would take a pay freeze if there was a guarantee that that would save the jobs of their colleagues and keep class sizes down. The people who started the petition seem to think that if people sign this that that will magically happen, it will NOT. For that to happen it has to be brought to the Board of Education, who will (if they agree to it) bring this proposal to the union reps. If this is not agreed upon and put into writing then the Board has the right to do with the money as they see fit and that may not be saving teachers jobs and making class sizes smaller.
concerned citizen April 15, 2011 at 01:22 AM
They only work 180 days a year!!!!!!!!!! I don't care how tough it is. What other job has weekends off, every holiday, 2+ months off in the summer and snow days?? Even if they take their work home with them they are out the door at 3pm. Ohh and did I forget to mention that THEY CAN BE NEVER FIRED! and their pensions are guaranteed even when mine and my husbands are not. 100,00o + a year for a half a years work?? I don't think so.
Let's Talk Solutions April 15, 2011 at 02:55 AM
First, I love the teachers, the schools, the administration and the job they do with our children. This does not dismiss the mess they have made when it comes to fiscal management. The pensions offered to the school system is the same type that has bankrupted many a large corporation. 3/4s of the school budget is pay and benefits, so its a get place to start holding the line. Thank you La for bringing this to our attention. Let's stop passing the back. We elected a union teacher to be our Board of Education President. Any conflict there? Next, any “deal” made by the administration eventually helps Admin's justify its own compensation package. Why would we be surprised when our teacher positions are the envy of teachers in other districts. We, the voters, allow this. Lets not look to Albany for solutions. Here's my suggestions: Create a two-tier system. Incumbent teachers are already in the system, doing a fine job and should not be penalized for our own failure to demand an affordable compensation package. New teachers should be brought on-board with a pay and benefits more inline to the rest off us who work the full year, don't use sick days as paid vacation, and contribute to retirement without any guaranties. If the union and the teachers can not work with us in providing affordable future tax assessments, let's look to Ron Reagan for inspiration. Oh and by the way when is the next school board election?
We Heart Long Island April 15, 2011 at 03:06 AM
So let me get this straight. You want the teachers to take a cut so your taxes don't go up? How is that fair? If you don't want the teachers to have an increase then vote for a board that will simply say no to an increase at contract time. As to 180 days, summers off blah blah blah. Teachers didn't create the positions. They just accepted them as is. The best part is, this is a free country and anybody can become a teacher. Try it if it's so great.
citizen April 15, 2011 at 02:45 PM
Yes anybody can become a teacher even the bad ones...and when they do, we have to keep paying them forever! The rest of the world gets fired. There are great teachers out there, but our system is so messed up. It is a honorable profession, but abused in so many ways.
Longtimeresident April 16, 2011 at 09:10 PM
To become a teacher, one needs at least a Bachelor Degree and in NY also a Masters, so yes, anyone who can get that degree can be a teacher. Are there bad teachers? Of course; as adults, we understand that there are good and bad police officers, firefighters, lawyers.... what's that got to do with anything? Decrease the salary of teachers and then see the quality of people who will go into that profession to prepare our children to compete in this global economy.
Christopher D'Antonio April 18, 2011 at 07:34 PM
I would like to note and applaud the signatories of the petition being discussed for sparking a constructive community discussion, and encouraging our involvement in school district policy. Thank you!
concerned citizen too April 19, 2011 at 02:00 PM
LISTEN concerned citizen I can see you have not done your research! NOT every teacher is out the door at 3! Perhaps, MAYBE the high school teacher who ends his day at 2:15, which would be 45 minutes AFTER their day 'ends' as you say. NO elementary teacher walks out that door with the last kid. Ever go into the schools hours after the children leave and see some teachers still there working????? I HAVE! This "180 day a year" job as you call it... is NOTHING new. It was around when YOU choses YOUR profession... why didn't YOU choose such an "easy" job not worthy of the pay teachers receive... if it was so easy and short on days, why is it that YOU didn't CHOOSE it? Hmm??? And another thing... teachers don't take their sick days as "PAID vacation"... get your facts straight before you start attacking a profession that can be CHOSEN by anyone and has DIRECT influence on the world YOU live in! SO the teachers take a pay freeze THIS year. What happens NEXT year?????
concerned citizen too April 19, 2011 at 02:05 PM
Finally.... a "Voice of Reason"!
concerned citizen too April 19, 2011 at 02:07 PM
Teachers can and do get 'fired'... I have seen it happen... check out our own Hauppauge district. You are unaware, but just recently a couple WERE let go...
Haup21 April 19, 2011 at 08:51 PM
Why is our budget increasing yet we are getting less each year ? Hauppauge School Budgets Year Budgets Enrollmnt $/student 2010-2011 94,024,689 4,038 23,285 2009-2010 92,842,044 4,083 22,739 2008-2009 91,503,731 4,097 22,334 2007-2008 87,193,739 4,123 21,148 2006-2007 82,292,361 4,202 19,584 2005-2006 80,423,385 4,223 19,044 2004-2005 72,813,397 4,285 16,993 2004 to 2010 chg 21,211,292 (247) 6,292 Our budget increased by $21M yet enrollment went down by 6%. The cost per student went up $6K per year yet we are getting less and less each year. source: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/mgtserv/propertytax/

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