Total Comments 8
Post Info Comment
Posted By: Newfane C.A.R.E.S. Member

Posted On: Apr 26, 2004
Views: 1087
newfane budget

Good news! After being down all weekend the Newfane School site is now operating.

Even better news, Newfane C.A.R.E.S. is now easier to access on the web by typing in
www.newfanecares.org


Posted By: Newfane C.A.R.E.S. Member

Posted On: Apr 25, 2004
Views: 1102
newfane budget/site not working

Ann makes a good point in her post,"The Newfane School Board is incompetent when it comes to negotiations.. they don't even realize what they are up against when negotiating with professional Union Leaders who know all the strategies in contractual issues."

I had a discussion about this with Dr. Mills in his office one afternoon. He stated that, in his experince, Boards get themselves in the most trouble when it comes to teacher contract negotiations. The Board has a district attorney with them while in negotiations and the Board can ask for the Superintendent's input. He said, in gerneral, the problem comes when Boards feel a "particular loyalty" to teachers they tend to make really bad descions.

For anyone who has tried to get on the Newfane School web site I'm sure they have discovered it is not working. While the home page does come up, sub categaories cannot be accessed. Therefore, anyone interested in reading the minutes of Board meetings cannot do so. I have been checking their web page everyday since March 1, 2004 and this is the first time I have not been able to access information. Hopefully, someone who works for the distict will read this and correct the problem. It would be helpfull to know who is in charge of updating the web site and makes sure it is operating properly. That person could then be conntacted directly.

So for now, I will continue to provide information from the Board minutes and the Budget Recommended For Adoption booklet. The booklet was handed out at the Board meeting on 4/20/04. Page two of the Budget Development Calendar 04/05 (found on the school's web site) states, "April 22, 2004 Copies of adopted budget available in each building." That information is handy when making comparisons with Board minutes. Please pick up a copy.

Dr. Mills and the Board are asking, or in the case of Dr. Mills, telling us on the front page of the March 24, 2004 issue of the Lockport Union-Sun & Journal, "This budget must pass."

As I have stated before, don't let anyone tell you how you should vote on the budget. Inform yourself as much as possible. When someone says, "trust me" it's prudent to be wary.

Newfane C.A.R.E.S. stands for Citizens for Accountablilty and Responsibility in our Education System. The Board and Dr. Mills are responsible for being forthcoming when dealing with the citizens of Newfane. The following are just a few examples of the Board and Dr. Mills evasiveness.

In the March 6, 2004 issue of the Lockport Union Sun & Journal is an article titled, Meetings questioned in Newfane. The article asks people about the assesability of information reguarding Board of Education Meetings, inparticular, budget line-item workshop meetings.

The article states,"When Board President Donna Hill was asked why there was no notice for two previous meeting-Feb.10 and Feb. 18- she denied their existence."

Donna Hill is quoted, "We didn't have two budget line-item workshop meetings," Hill said. "It's not my responsibility to send notification."

The Budget Development Calendar 04/05 list February 10, 2004 (4:30 p.m.) and February 18, 2004 (4:30 p.m.) as Board of Education Workshop on budget (line item review). If it's not her "responsibility to send notification" then who is responsible?

When Dr. Mills was asked about the meetings the article states, "The line-item budget meetings are held in Mills' office, and the superintendent said public attendance of their workshop meetings is welcome. They're held there because public attendance is often low, he said. If more people show up, he said they'll move to a room that accommodates them."

Mills is quoted as stating, "Generally speaking, for those kinds of things, generally few people show up," Mills said. "It's a work session among the board. Certainly, people are invited."

The question is, how many people are available to be at the distric offices at 4:30 p.m. on a weekday afternoon to attend a meeting even if they wanted too? I addressed this concern at the April 20, 2004 Board meeting and received no response from any Board member nor Dr. Mills.

In the March 24, 2004 issue of the Lockport Union-Sun & Journal is an article about the Newfane budget and summaries being available to the public. The article asks Donna Hill about her thoughts concerning the CARES group. "Hill welcomed input from CARES." it stated. Hill is quoted, "It should be good. It's been proposed as an avenue for opening communication. I'm totally is support of that," Hill said.

I question her support.

On page four of the Budget Recommended For Adoption booklet, item number ten it states," What positions were cut from the 03-04 contingency budget and what positions are scheduled to be cut under the 04-05 proposed budget?"

In 03-04 Mills has stated that five teaching positions have been "eliminated" (3/23/04 press release). In the Budget Recommended For Adoption booklet it states five teaching positions have been "cut" (page four). Remember, to eliminate and to cut are not the same. What specific teaching positions have been eliminated? Have they really been eliminated or have they been cut?

Page four of the booklet states, "In 04-05 the District has targeted seven (7) support staff positions for reduction." Well, what specific positions are being reduced? Are they being reduced or eliminated?

Page five of the booklet, item number thirteen states, "What other program areas have been cut?"

"There are a large number of programs that no longer exist (or have been drastically reduced) that were previously provided to students. Some examples are:

High School:

. Before and after school suspension
. Full detention program
. Additional regents review classes
. Automated library program updates
. Field trips
. Students against drunk driving and other student activity programs
. Student participation in music festivals and out of district programs


This is just a small portions of programs listed. However, the information is ambiguous. Which programs "no longer exist"? Which ones have been "drastically reduced"?

When your child comes home from school and says their teacher says "this" program or "that" program will not be available next year unless you vote yes on the budget ask yourself, "what does that really mean."






Posted By: Ann

Posted On: Apr 25, 2004
Views: 1111
Newfane Budget

I have to clarify my previous message as to how many days a teacher works...not 280 days...but 180 days + vacations.

Also..its a shame that the Newfane School Board gives extra perks to teachers while in contract negotiations. The teachers are laughing all the way to the bank.

Do we have morons running the School Board??

The Newfane School Board is incompetent when it comes to negotiations.. they don't even realize what they are up against when negotiating with professional Union Leaders who know all the strategies in contractual issues.

(Between the Newfane Town Board)...whos losing all kinds of businesses that would bring in a good tax base...instead, they should focus on luring business into the Town of Newfane...(and the Newfane School Board) with their give-away perks....add them together and we have a bunch of Village idiots running the Town of Newfane.




Posted By: ann

Posted On: Apr 23, 2004
Views: 1095
newfane teachers

IT ALWAYS SEEMS THAT THE NEWFANE SCHOOL ADMINISTRATION, STAFF, TEACHERS, & BOARD BLAME THE VOTERS WHEN THE BUDGET IS VOTED DOWN.......LETS PUT IT THIS WAY & REVERSE IT TO THE REAL TRUTH....THE TEACHERS TERRORIZE THE LITTLE GRADE SCHOOL KIDS, & SEND THE CHILDREN HOME TO TELL MOM & DAD TO VOTE FOR THE BUDGET OR ELSE...NOW THAT IS A THREAT!!!
THE STUDENTS DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT IS IN THE ITEMIZED BUDGET........THE STUDENTS SHOULD ASK THE TEACHERS WHAT THEIR PAY IS INCLUDING WHAT BENEFITS THEY RECEIVE..& COMPARE IT TO WHAT THE STUDENT"S PARENTS BRING HOME IN A PAYCHECK...
THE TEACHERS HOLD THE STUDENTS HOSTAGE...THE TEACHERS ARE USERS OF LITTLE GRADE SCHOOLERS...IT IS THE WORST CASE OF ABUSE & MANIPULATION OF THE YOUNGER SCHOOL CHILDREN BY TEACHERS. MOM & DAY...TELL YOUR KIDS WHAT YOU BRING HOME IN A PAYCHECK FOR THE WHOLE YEAR THAT YOU WORK....THEN TELL THEM WHAT THE TEACHERS BRING HOME FOR 280 DAYS + VACATIONS FOR THE YEAR THAT THE TEACHER WORKS.


Posted By: overtaxed in Newfance School District

Posted On: Apr 23, 2004
Views: 1086
Newfane School Budget

This school budget is 1.2 million dollars higher than last years. This Board of Education prefers to pay teachers $2500 per year not to take insurance; it prefers to pay the teachers a one time $2100 to change health care providers.Please... give me a break, This is saving the taxpayers Money?


Posted By: Newfane C.A.R.E.S. Member

Posted On: Apr 22, 2004
Views: 1091
newfane budget

This is a continuation of the post below.

In the August 12, 2003 minutes, during the open forum it states: "G. DeWitt asked if, with the donation from Senator Maziarz, the musical would continue and would the rest of the student clubs now be funded. Superintendent Mills replied yes to the continuance of the musical and no to the funding of the student clubs".

I wonder how many clubs could have been funded with $6,106 and for how long rather than to spend it all in one shot for a musical. How many more teachers could have benefited from that money rather than only three. If the district was in such dire need under a contingency budget was a musical really a fiscally resposible decision?

Now, back to the positions that were "eliminated" during 03-04, five teaching positions, one and a half administrative positions, two security guards, and one and a half supports staff positions (3/23/04 press release from the Newfane School web site).

August 12, 2003 minutes states: "Motion made by Trustee Farley and seconded by Trustee Langton MOVE THAT the rate of pay for clerical substitutes be and is increased from $6.75/hour to $7.75/hour effective immediately".
Motion Carried: 5 yes 0 no

September 9, 2003 minutes states: "Motion made by Trustee Farley and seconded by Trustee Langton MOVE THAT, three(3) instuctional associate positions be and are created, effective September 1, 2003".
Motion Carried: 7 yes 0 no

One former security guard was appointed to that position. (September 9, 2003 minutes)

September 23, 2003 minutes states: "Motion made by Trustee Farley and seconded by Trustee Langton MOVE, that upon recomendation of the Superintendent of Schools that a .8 FTE part-time position of Secretary to the Superintendent, exempt, managerial/confidential, be and is created effective 9/23/03".
Motion Carried: 6 yes 0 no

The 3/23/04 press release states that ten or nine and two- one half positions were "eliminated" in 03-04. However, between the $100,000 from Maziarz and the "creation" of positions, seven positions took their place.

Page four of the Budget Recommended For Adoption booklet from the last Board meeting states: In 03-04 the District cut five (5) teaching positions, two (2) administrative positions, one (1) technology coordinator position, two (2) security guard positions, and one (1) insructional associate position. These personnel changes have resulted in a reduction of services provided by the District. While existing District personnel have attempted to absorb the impact of the reductions, service level is not the same. Class sizes are larger, certain curriculum work is not being accomplished, and the technology coordination has been minimized". (Compare this to the 3/23/04 press release in the post below.) "In 04-05 the District has targeted seven (7) support staff positions for reduction. The position reduction will be from non-mandated areas where additional services are being provided beyond what is required by law. Which personnel will be excised has yet to be determined. Labor contracts and existing legal requirements related to seniority and bumping rights will need to be taken into consideration".

Does that mean only to be replaced again later as in 03-04? Consider carefully when reading any documents from the Board or the Superintendent words such as "cut", "reduce", and "eliminate". To cut or reduce is not the same as to eliminate.


Posted By: Newfane C.A.R.E.S. Member

Posted On: Apr 22, 2004
Views: 1050
newfane budget

Before Newfane residence vote please attend at least one of the budget hearings. Don't let anyone tell you how you should vote. How you choose to vote is a personal decision.

Having said that, if how the district spends your money is important to you here are some facts.

1.) Dr. Mills has factored in a 12.1% or $14,080 raise for himself.

2.) The Board has an increase of 48.7% or $5,077 increase in expenses.

3.) Dr. Mills states in a 3/23/04 press release,"In 03-04, the Board of Education eliminated five teaching positions, one and a half administrative positions, two security guard positions, and one and half support staff positions". On page four of the Budget Recommended For Adoption booklet handed out at the last board meeting it states, "In 03-04 the District cut five(5) teaching, two (2) administrative positions, one(1) technology coordinator position, two(2) security guard positions, and one (1) instructional associate position. These personnel changes have resulted in a reduction of services by the District".

On page four of the same document it states, "Assembly woman DelMonte's grant was applied directly to the tax levy to help reduce the tax burden. Senator Maziarz's grant was used to restore some academic programs that were going to be reduced under the 03-04 contingency budget as well as part of the Interscholastic Athletic program".

In the August 12,2003 Board minutes (you can find this information on the Newfane School website. Click on District Offices then Board of Education) $35,458 of the $100,000 Senator Maziarz gave went for a Music Teacher, $9,500 for a Business Teacher, $8,936 for a Math Teacher, $40,000 for Athletics, and $6,106 went for the school musical.

The money for the musical was divided up between three teachers at the rate of $4,143.00 for the director, $2,005.00 for the 1st assistant, and $1,443.00 for the 2nd assistant. That adds up to $7,591.00 leaving a deficit of $1,443.00 That information can be found in the February,10, 2004 minutes.



Posted By: DJ

Posted On: Apr 16, 2004
Views: 1102
Lockport School Budget

Lockportians have traditionally supported quality schools. We have an excellent educational system here and we must continue to maintain high standards, including a passing Regent's Exam grade of 65%. I would also encourage the voting public to support the library budget when its vote comes up soon.