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Gazette polls



Having already rejected a school budget with a 4.8% tax increase, Schenectadians will vote June 16 on a revised budget with a 5.8% increase. If that fails, the district will adopt a contingency budget with a 15.8% increase. How will you vote on June 16?

Approve budget 21% 182 votes
Reject budget 69% 600 votes
Not sure 9% 83 votes
Total Votes: 865

Note: This is not a scientific poll.

comments


June 8, 2009
6:27 p.m.

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HobbesEsq ( HobbesEsq ) says...

I don't appreciate this threat by the School Board to raise taxes if the budget is voted down. It is blackmail and it will not be forgotten the next time I vote for the Board.

June 9, 2009
6:33 a.m.

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rjsjsn ( rjsjsn ) says...

I agree time for a change. The board and super should all step down. Time for an overhaul of the district.

June 9, 2009
9:20 a.m.

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schdygrl ( schdygrl ) says...

This is insane! Schenectady is one of the poorest performing schools in the entire region. They are in the bottom three of the 85 schools in the immediate vicinity, while Eli is in the top six of top paid administrators. I’m not quite sure who figured out his salary, however I am quite certain that with a job performance being in the bottom 3 he should not be in the top 10% of pay.

As if the poor education would be enough to not raise the school budget, Schenectady is also in the top 5 of most violent schools in NYS, 3 others are in New York City, and the other one is a detention school in the Berkshires.

The drop out rate is one of the highest around too with an average of less than 7 out of 10 kids walking across that stage. I think that would make Schenectady High rate of graduation grade a D or maybe a D+. Since we all know that education is a key factor in being employable and giving back to society, 6 point something percent out of ten coming out of these schools will be a burden on society (not to mention the 3.9% of 15-17 year olds that are pregnant…Schenectady is higher than the NYS average!).

Where I work my job requires me to perform. If I cannot do my job, I would expect to be replaced, not given more money. I really hope that people do not fall for the sob stories of the jobs that will be lost if we don’t give them more money. If Eli can’t do this on 160 million dollars per year, he can’t do it on 161 million dollars per year. The children are all ready suffering and will continue to suffer unless we help them by putting in people who can fix this horrid situation.

•All of my information is verifiable through the Business Review from an article they wrote in September 2008.

June 9, 2009
10:13 a.m.

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stoddard ( stoddard ) says...

This turn of events seems to be punishment for rejecting the first proposal. The threat or promise of triple+ increases for rejecting the proposed revision is more of the same.

We are in effect being told that we have nothing to say about the school budget and they (whoever they might be) are in control of our money.

I was among those who voted against the first budget. As insane as I believe the amount of money being spent is, I also have problems with how the money is being spent.

We all have heard the song and dance about state and federal mandates. While I'm sure that some of this is true, I also believe that our whole budget process is out of control, with union and administration wish lists becoming reality. There seems to be no effort to control spending.

How will I vote on the new proposal? I think I'll put their threats to the test and see if they (whoever they might be) can survive the outrage that should follow a 15.8% increase in an already outrageous budget.

June 9, 2009
2:48 p.m.

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residentX ( residentX ) says...

the issues with the schools is far deeper than current leadership. How many languages are spoken in the city schools. How many families with children who dont speak english as a first language or not much at all have been brought into the district through the years of bringing in Guyanese among other nationalities. I dont intend this to be a slight on these people but it is an enormous strain on the tax payers who now have to pay for added staff to try to meet the state and federal mandates. The Schenectady district is also the largest in the area. Its no surprise that the face of the city has changed DRASTICLY in diversity with many of those people in need of extra assistance to meet state and federal education requirements. I dont agree with the board or administrators all of the time but this is a DIRECT RESULT of past city administrations attempts to bus in foreign/disadvantaged families in an attempt to fill vacant, run down homes. The check is now coming due.

to quote our last mayor... "if current Schenectady residents dont want to live here, I'll find people who will" ... time to pay up.

and again... no offense to those who moved here but ANY municipality with a HUGE influx of non-english speaking/disadvantaged/english as a second language citizens... its going to be a HUGE drain on the schools and make it very hard for the schools to meet the state and federal mandates.

lets see the numbers of students that fall in these categories and I believe you will find that Schenectady City Schools have a FAR GREATER population than most, if not all of the other local districts.

June 9, 2009
5:17 p.m.

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artvandalay ( artvandalay ) says...

This out of control, dysfunctional District must learn another lesson. They need to put their thinking caps on. They refuse to understand that the taxpayers are tapped out, sick of paying for unneeded administration, and idiotic programs. Vote No and bring out your family and neighbors!

Everything is rotten. Mrs. Janisewki and Mr. Stricos are still employed and got huge raises, more staff and contract extensions. Howe is closing next week. Other districts are shocked at the complete nerve of these idiots. Everyone will be held accountable for their greed and indifference.

June 10, 2009
8 a.m.

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keliegh1225 ( keliegh1225 ) says...

The super is a real gem.I think the people of schenectady need to stand up and get him out of there. He is hurting the kids not helping. I will vote no to the budget. Isn't it suppose to be about the kids and not raises in the higher ups pockets. Schenectady could be a great district if the right people were running it

June 10, 2009
9:56 a.m.

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residentX ( residentX ) says...

before all of your finger pointing starts... get a breakdown of the number of special need kids and english as a second language etc. THAT is the drain... and you can thank the CITY leaders for that ... not the district leaders.

you may not like the aministrators and im sure they arent perfect but you have to take a step back and look at the larger picture. No disctrict in upstate NY has the strain of the above mentioned special needs/english as a second language etc like Schenectady has. Our CITY leaders thought it would be good to bring these people in by the busload to fill vacant housing... now the tax payers must foot the bill to bring these kids up to state and federal standards.

I remember a teacher in Amsterdam showing me a photo of a sign she saw down in the Port Authority in NYC... it read:

"If you want free welfare, move to Montgomery County" Upstate as a whole is suffering because of the people who moved here looking for the handouts etc promised by polticians. Schenectady's demise is specifically related to a huge influx of families etc who are far below the state and federal standards. The communities that have absorbed these families now must pay to have them all meet state and federal education mandates.

June 10, 2009
11:23 a.m.

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artvandalay ( artvandalay ) says...

"Jeff Janszewski DEFENDED this budget, saying no one said that 4.8% INCREASE was too high?" Has this moron resigned yet?

"Serving" on the School Board is about more than creating jobs for your wife/friends. These idiots lack the common decency to resign in disgrace. Stop blaming the communtiy for your inability to budget or listen to the clear will of the people. Everyone must go.

June 10, 2009
12:43 p.m.

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residentX ( residentX ) says...

and thats fine... but once youve replaced the board and administrators and the problem still persists... you will find that the areas I mentioned above are the LARGEST issue. If you cant understand why an influx of special needs students to the district (things like english as a second language etc) cause a burden on the district and inturn the tax payers to try to meet state and federal guidlines... your probably not really qualified to be demanding for peoples "heads". Im not trying to promote or disprove the budget. Im simply trying to make sure that people understand the underlying issue/demand.

special needs require more teachers, more programs, more overhead.... if you take a breakdown of the population you will find a far higher percentage of students in the district have more needs than a traditional district. The entire face of Schenectady has changed in about 10 - 15 years. The population of English as a second language has EXPLODED thanks to policies designed to lure specific populations of guyanese among other ethnic groups to the area to try to fill vacant housing and of course increase the tax base. The problem is that many of these people have higher needs in order to meet the state and federal guidlines and this results in higher taxes to try to meet those needs.

June 10, 2009
1:10 p.m.

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stinger ( stinger ) says...

Fear has become the tool by not only schools but fire departments to not pass their proposed budget. Let us, as voters, exercise our rights

June 10, 2009
1:33 p.m.

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residentX ( residentX ) says...

in '05-'06 there were 1,596 students with special needs. In '08 there were right around 2,000. In '05-'06 the percentage of students with special needs was 14.5%. Today the Schenectady student population is roughly 10,500. That places the special needs number approaching 20%. To explain that further... based upon expenses ... the state estimates Schenectady is paying roughly $13,000 to educate a student WITHOUT special needs. That means the district is paying as much as 78 million to educate the 2,000 children with special needs in 2008. That leaves roughly up to 104 million to educate the remaining 8,000 students... regardless of the exact numbers youre looking at roughly 43% of the districts expenses to educate 20% of the population. This doesnt even mention the fact that the federal government has said they will pay 40% of the costs for special needs students yet thy pay only 17% of that cost.

Almost 20% of the student population is considered "special needs" ... that population is exhausting up to 43% of the district budget. Alarming.

but yeah... of course all we've got to say is blame the administrators/board.

June 10, 2009
1:35 p.m.

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artvandalay ( artvandalay ) says...

There are MILLIONS of dollars of waste in this budget. Our busing costs are 2X larger Albany district. They close Howe School, despite the will of the people. This means even more busing.

Many urban district have higher need students. Big deal? As usual it's someone elses fault we have morons budgeting. The solution is not hiring relatives, pay raises for incompetents, firing low wage support staff and ripping off the taxpayers. SFT needs to get vocal in demanding resignations of these idiots on the School Board.

June 10, 2009
2:08 p.m.

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residentX ( residentX ) says...

obviously artvandalay should stick to watchin Seinfeld reruns rather than quoting figures...

'08-'09 Transportation Costs
Albany - 6,681,662
Schenectady - 7,600,000

'09-'10 Transportation Costs
Albany - 6,874,509
Schenectady - 7,749,192

Schenectady has more students and doesnt have the luxury of the deal with CDTA to help bus students. Secondly, Albany is seeing a 2.9% increase in transportation costs (+$192,847) and Schenectady is seeing a 2.0% increase in transportation costs (+$149,192) or $43,655 less of an increase than Albany.

This is precisely why i ask that you get the proper information before demanding for certain heads to roll. If the information is deserving of costing someone their job then so be it... but until then... get the right information

June 10, 2009
2:10 p.m.

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residentX ( residentX ) says...

obviously the numbers shown above disprove the claim that schenectady district transportation costs are 2X that of Albany... that statement is... FALSE

June 10, 2009
5:05 p.m.

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annarondac ( annarondac ) says...

New York State schools spend 78% higher than the next highest state in the country! Unfunded mandates being the greatest demand in every NYS school budget. It's just not Schenectady, it's everywhere. It will never be cost effective as long as the state is dictating how the schools use YOUR tax dollars.

June 10, 2009
8:16 p.m.

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flyonthewall ( flyonthewall ) says...

How about Pass the budget and REJECT the Administration. Voters need their voices to be heard but rejecting the budget will not be helpful to our community or to our kids.

Use your energy in a contructive way. I urge voters to take up a petition drive to demand the immediate removal of the school superintendent and others who are responsible for the mess that our district is in.

June 11, 2009
8 a.m.

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keliegh1225 ( keliegh1225 ) says...

I agree start a petition to get the supern out. Ytoy did when scalzi was in and the parents pushed the issue he went packing.

June 11, 2009
8:33 a.m.

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schdygrl ( schdygrl ) says...

Residentx...you didnt even site a source regarding where you got your information. Here is what is obvious, you are pro-Schenectady school district administration (maybe even get paid top dollar to be one) and want to lead people towards voting in your direction.

I for one am NOT taking your word for it and will be happy to research and site the info that I find so people know the TRUTH.

June 11, 2009
8:42 a.m.

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residentX ( residentX ) says...

Interesting numbers... how much further do you expect the Schenectady City Schools to stretch a dollar? They already spend the lowest $$ per student of any of the city schools. Yet we wonder why they arent able to meet state and federal mandates.... logic people... logic...

Albany District
Student Population: 8,924
Expense Per Student: $18,678

Troy District
Student Population: 4,401
Expense Per Student: $16,674

Rensselaer District
Student Population: 1,071
Expense Per Student: $13,928

Schenectady District
Student Population: 10,500
Expense Per Student: $12,769

June 11, 2009
8:49 a.m.

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residentX ( residentX ) says...

all of this information is public knowledge and can be obtained by anyone. Nice try though... and to be honest... i dont have issues with the schools and dont necessarily always agree with them BUT... i have issues with the city leaders ... especially past leaders.

one issue i do have with the district... the highschools should never have been combined.

The city leaders on the otherhand ... have made so many poor decisions that have adversely affected what was once a great city that i cant list them all here.

All the district can do is try to read and react. In the end.. they are dealt a hand that they must play.

June 11, 2009
8:53 a.m.

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residentX ( residentX ) says...

i should also add... i do not work for the district. I have been a Schenectady resident for 31 years and have seen the face of this city change for the worse.

June 11, 2009
9:38 a.m.

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rjsjsn ( rjsjsn ) says...

How come the district opened up a new elementary school this year and then plans on closing a different one next year don't they know what each hand is doing. Poor management skills at it's finest. The voters should have been allowed to vote on this as well.

June 11, 2009
9:50 a.m.

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schdygrl ( schdygrl ) says...

residentx I am calling you out as an OUTRIGHT LIAR!

The official language of Guyana is English so we don’t need any special language classes for the growing Guyanese population. (Wikipedia)

Schenectady’s latest Census showed that out of Schenectady Residents, 77% are white, 15% are black, 2% are Native American and 6% are other (including Guyanese which we know speak English). I have an impossible time believing that the budget needs so much money for these non English speaking children when a MINIMUM of 94% is English Speaking. The other 6% are just not from America but that doesn’t mean they don’t speak English. (Wikipedia)

Schenectady in the 2007-08 year the school enrollment was 9394 (compared to Albany’s 8336). Of those students 3% have limited English proficiency and a little over 8% have some type of learning disability (which could be as little as 1 class for remedial reading or as much as Autism-they are all in the same category). These numbers have not changed since the 2005 school year-so just as I suspected, no explosions going on. (https://www.nystart.gov/publicweb-rc/200...)

Schenectady has 848 (one for every 11 students) Para professionals, Albany has 256. Albany has 5% of their students who have a limited proficiency in English and more disabled students. Amazing, ¼ of the amount of Para’s and their disabled kids actually made their goals!) (https://www.nystart.gov/publicweb-rc/200...)

Anyone can look this info up at their leisure with the sources I supplied courtesy of NYS report card info. Let this be a lesson to people…don’t believe every blog (or blogger) that you read!

June 11, 2009
10:11 a.m.

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DRM ( DRM ) says...

A number of languages are spoken in Guyana with English often being spoken as a second language, not a first.

June 11, 2009
10:27 a.m.

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residentX ( residentX ) says...

since your using the regents site which a majority complain about regents anyway... we will still use your posted site.

right there in plain letters (perhaps English is a second language for you):

White population 39% so 61% are NON white.

50% of the ENTIRE district population is eligibile for a free lunch. Who is footing that bill

another 11% are elgibile for a reduced priced lunch

you just quoted para counts for Schenectady and Albany... why is it that Schenectady spends FAR less than Albany per student if they have an excess of employees as you are indicating?

the numbers of special needs i quoted are not just english as a second language. Also you yourself said there is no way to know the level of special need. if Schenectady has a larger base of higher need students there is no way to show that here. Yet you want to slander them when you cant prove otherwise.

tell me... why is it that Albany has 760 teachers compared to Schenectady's 741 as stated by YOUR source? when Albany has over 1,000 fewer students.

and to slam your para numbers as STATED BY YOUR SOURCE...

if you believe that number of 848 is accurate, ive got a bridge to sell you. The district did NOT go from 421 paras in '04-'05 to 390 in '06-'07 and then all the way to 848 last year. Those numbers are incorrect ... which also places into question any other numbers posted by your sources. The actual number is right around 400 as it has been. Make a phone call to the district to find out.

It is astounding the misinformation being spewed here.

June 11, 2009
10:30 a.m.

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schdygrl ( schdygrl ) says...

residentx- the cost per student does not mean that $13,585 (according to the TU) is actually being spent on each student. They take the entire budget and divide by the number of students to get that number. The entire budget includes transportation, food, truancy officers, sport & musical equipment, teachers- along with over 800 para professionals and eli's large salary just to name a few things.

My daughter, who attends an elementary school, does not take a bus, brings her own lunch and does not receive any special services. She has 1 teacher and accesses 1 librarian, 1 principal, 1 gym teacher, 1 art teacher and 1 music teacher. If her teacher makes 50k in one year (shared between several dozen students), her portion of that is less than $1500.00. Four other teacher’s (average 50k each) divided by the 500 kids there accessing them is aprx. 400.00. The principle which I am sure gets paid more (I will even estimate 100K to be generous) would cost 200.00. I will also estimate heat, lights, snow removal, play ground equipment upkeep, books and sports/music/art equipment (I will estimate 200K to be extra generous) 400.00. The total of all of this is 2500.00 (and that is being very generous), yet she is averaged at 13,585.00. Budgets sure can be deceiving.

There is a lot of money being spent in the budget that does not directly benefit the children and their education.

June 11, 2009
10:32 a.m.

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residentX ( residentX ) says...

so schdygrl... i wont continue your slandering of the district and posters like me by labeling you a liar. I will however say... you are gullable.

if youre going to try to have an informed, educated discussion... when something like that Para number begs questioning as it did... get your facts straight first.

and lay off the liar talk, it makes you look ignorant when youre proven wrong.

June 11, 2009
10:46 a.m.

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residentxi ( residentxi ) says...

residentx scares me as much as the administrators and politicians of Schenectady!!!!

June 11, 2009
10:48 a.m.

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residentX ( residentX ) says...

the same can be said for any other district... like Albany... and the actual amount of the Schenectady budget spent on INSTRUCTION was 75% last year. Also verifiable.

Albany's cost per student is over $18,500 and Schenectady's is around $13,000. That means that Albany's budget costs are %42 more than Schenectady's per student.

Schenectady NEEDS to hire more teachers AND retain the teachers already working here (27% turnover rate in the first five years)... but that would mean an increase in the budget which you all want to vote down. Schenectady SHOULD be employing more teachers than Albany as the student population is higher in schenectady.

Albany's budget for FEWER students is 203.8 million and that was passed

Schenectady's 160 million budget failed. Why? Do you want to say they arent meeting the standards??? They need teachers, professionals to meet those standards... these cost money.

Albany needs 27% more or 43.8 million more to meet the needs of 1000 fewer students and we want to claim that our schenectady educators arent doing their job. Makes ZERO sense

June 11, 2009
10:48 a.m.

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schdygrl ( schdygrl ) says...

residentX- the info is from the NYS.gov website if you have a problem with it, call them. I would certainly take their word over the district any day of the week.
The census population was all people in Schenectady, not just the school district-that's generally what a census means. I can see you received a Schenectady education.
As far as the meals are concerned, most of it comes out of federal and state programs similar to the food stamp program. I am sure a very small portion may have to be picked up by the district but the majority is not.
You did state “…in '05-'06 there were 1,596 students with special needs. In '08 there were right around 2,000. In '05-'06 the percentage of students with special needs was 14.5%. Today the Schenectady student population is roughly 10,500. That places the special needs number approaching 20%.”
This is an outright lie. The special needs kids are less than 900 and have been for years. What I said is that within 800 and change students there are levels of needs. Some need just one extra class or special testing accommodation while others have greater needs. However that 800+ number does not change. It is still less than 9%, not the 20% that you posted. (see your above quote if you are confused)
Another quote of yours, “The population of English as a second language has EXPLODED thanks to policies designed to lure specific populations of Guyanese…” As you can see by a Nys.gov source it has been 3% for the last 4 years so I am not sure what explosion means to you.
Ok, and not that I should respond to your rude and racist comment, but English is my first (and unfortunately) only language. Part of my family arrived on the first few boats coming to America, so I am pretty much as American as it gets.

June 11, 2009
10:51 a.m.

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schdygrl ( schdygrl ) says...

I think the Gazette's next poll should be who looks ignorant, Schdygrl or residentx.

June 11, 2009
11:09 a.m.

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residentX ( residentX ) says...

may comments werent racist... its racist in my opinion to target a specific population to come live in your city.

the numbers the state got supposedly come from the district. The numbers couldve been mistyped along the way. Because they are in print, doesnt mean they are accurate. Just see your own posts to prove that.

and your numbers regarding special needs are factually incorrect.

in 2002 - 1,489
http://www.cityofschenectady.com/pdf/dev...

in 2006 - 1,664
http://eservices.nysed.gov/sepubrep/main...

in 07-08 - 1,654
http://eservices.nysed.gov/sepubrep/main...

a source inside the district said that the number is now closer to 2,000 in the current school year heading into next year.

Proof that the number has been FAR above your 800 or 900 number. I tire of correcting you.

June 11, 2009
11:11 a.m.

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residentxi ( residentxi ) says...

Is residentx a shill for the school or what?

June 11, 2009
11:24 a.m.

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residentX ( residentX ) says...

I continue to disprove your posts. I even used your own source to disprove some of your posts. Yet I'm the ignorant one.

Nothing to fear here residentxi... im merely pointing out that if youre going to point fingers... be sure they are pointed in the proper direction. It is my believe that the proper direction is at city officials NOT the district.

Schenectady is educating its students as best they can... they are educating over 1,000 more students than Albany with a little over 70% of the Albany budget.

the posters above have claimed the budget is out of line... ive shown you that the Albany districty pays FAR more money for far fewer students.

the posters above said the administrators are at fault and ive shown you the numbers that show the district administrators are handcuffed to educating a far great population with far less money.

the posters above said Schenectady had over 800 paras compared to Albanys far less number. I showed how not only is the para number inaccurate... that Albany also has a good number more teachers for far fewer students. This shows that Schenectady SHOULD be hiring more teachers.

the posters above said that the claim that students in need was 800-900 was in fact grossly incorrect.

what im doing here is making sure when we all vote for the budget, school board, city officials... we have a clear understanding of the facts...

obviously schdgrl in particular is misinformed. i apologize if im sounding aggressive etc... but the amount of misinformation is astounding... and yes we as tax payers have EVERY RIGHT to be upset... but make sure we direct that animosity in the appropriate direction.

get the facts before you vote. have an open mind when doing so. we all want to make the right decision.

June 11, 2009
11:28 a.m.

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wmarincic ( wmarincic ) says...

It is time to vote out the entire school board, the do nothing Mayor and the whole city council. We need people to look out for the taxpaying property owning ctizens, not the entitlement people, drug dealers gang members and absantee landlords that are destroying our city.

June 11, 2009
11:32 a.m.

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residentxi ( residentxi ) says...

residentx can post all the stats she wants, but when the garbage stinks, you throw it out! That goes for the politicians, admin., or shills!!!

June 11, 2009
1:56 p.m.

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residentX ( residentX ) says...

obviously you only will believe what you want to hear.

It speaks volumes of your own education/comprehension level.

I guess for you folks "ignorance is bliss" as they say

June 11, 2009
2:24 p.m.

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residentX ( residentX ) says...

another stat for you...

Superintendents Compensation in 2006:

Shenendehowa - $196,985.00
Voorhesville - $190,251.00
Niskayuna - $183,202.00
Albany - $179,834.00
Saratoga - $175,292.00
South Colonie - $174,542.00
Bethlehem - $171,204.00
North Colonie - $162,143.00
Guilderland - $160,439.00
Ballston Spa - $156,304.00
Schenectady - $152,072.00
Scotia glenville - $148,245.00
Schalmont - $146,00.00
Troy - $139,760.00
Rensselaer - $131,941.00
Schoharie - $131,000.00

I would venture to guess that Schenectady is right around the same ranking today...

so Schenectady's Superintendent is 11th on this list... and this list didnt include every school out there.... yet its the #1 student population in the capital region.

the more i hear the whinning about the schools the more i realize that schenectady residents seem to want a Filet Minon education yet want to pay pork and beans prices.

get the facts

June 11, 2009
3:52 p.m.

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esteban1949 ( esteban1949 ) says...

even though i do NOT live in the area or region, but have passed through many times.it is sad to see the kind of examples of free speech posted here.i have read some but not all of the postings, but let me say that the situation your school district now faces is not the only one,nor is it unusual.Thanks to our federal government, our elected liars in the the congress, senate and the statehouse, we, the people have NOT had a real voice in what does go on.Yes, we can all band together and vote the chuckleheads all out, but what do we replace them with ? Because of the way the enternal workings of each legislative body is set up,one really can't totally replace each and everyone in all the elected offices,as there would be no one in leadership to make sure those who were elected, did things right and correctly under the law.Yes staffers would be there, but many of them are just as bad as the people they served.But i say all of that to say this.The voters of your area & district should not let any elected group dictate to you what you will pay.Personally i would see if the ACLU will take the case against the district if they do forcably shove a tax increase down your throats.Use all your energy,anger & toxic attitudes to do what resident X has done.He/She has done his homework.Go to a school board meeting,make them account to where what monies have been spent and where and to what firms & companies got the funds.After all they were yours to begin with right ? Check their books like you check your cash register recipts,then maybe as some have said & you can trim some of the pork out of the budget and see that the kids get what they need in materials & instruments. The time for laying down & rolling over is done and gone folks!But it's your community, your schools, your children and your grandchildren, How much do you love each of them?

But i'm an outsider...what would i know ?? I just love and cheer for the Albany River Rats ( even when they lose !!)
Go Rats !!

June 12, 2009
7:58 a.m.

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keliegh1225 ( keliegh1225 ) says...

I would think that residentX is hooked up with the schenectady school district

June 12, 2009
8:06 a.m.

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schdyres ( schdyres ) says...

Just a couple of things, voting no on the budget will not change the district administration or the school board this budget cycle, however it will constrain the district in how they spend the budget.(whatever the amount, inflated or not) Secondly ESL students may be able to speak English but they are not fluent in reading and writing the language, thus the extra expense.....the state tests are a written exam.

June 12, 2009
8:53 a.m.

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schdygrl ( schdygrl ) says...

Well resident you got me; I certainly must concede that the NYS website that I got my information from is not consistent with your NYS website that you got your information from. This however does not make your source right and mine wrong, it simply means that neither of us have the proper information and that both of our sources are putting out different information.
The NYS website I went to is a report mandated and checked by the feds to hold schools accountable and is what gives them the federal funding. I have a hard time believing that the data they are using in that report is so different than the data that is on another website. I wouldn’t exactly call myself ignorant for believing the info posted on this site.
It is impossible that 75% of the tax money collected was spent on student instruction. If you believe that I will sell you a bridge right back. What about the maintenance crews, building construction, administration salaries, National Greed, etc. Full time SCCC students are paying 3000.00 per person per year for tuition and you think it is taking 10,000 per person per year at SCS?
As far as the superintendent salaries, according to the Business Review, Eli was the number six out of the 85 schools in the area. Even if he is the 11th like you say (I tend to believe the Business review over you), it is still too high considering all of the failing schools in Schenectady.
And lastly, why are you comparing Schenectady with Albany? Why don’t you use comparisons with Niskayuna, Rotterdam or even Scotia since we are the same county? I assume because you really couldn’t make your point using a passing school district as a comparison.
I am totally uninterested in your un-cited posts, spewing numbers that you can’t back up (my favorite was –according to a source at the district-LOL!) and your inability to comprehend what I am trying to say. For whatever reason you are giving people false info to make this school district look good, but it will never work for me because I have personal experience and first hand knowledge of this school district and their lies.

June 12, 2009
9:10 a.m.

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residentX ( residentX ) says...

every bit of information i posted was obtained via the internet or by making a call to the district using FOIL.

one other point that should be made... we NEED more businesses in Schenectady producing a larger commercial tax base. Schenectady is the largest district yet doesnt have many of the tax benefits that Albany, Colonie, Saratoga have. You have more students, you have a larger expense... if you have a larger commercial tax base... that expense doesnt rest solely on the residents. Thats without mentioning the job benefits of having more businesses coming into the area.

give Schenectady some credit... they are getting the job done as much as possible as the largest district in the capital region and are doing so without the largest budget.

i will disagree with esteban on one point... what is happening to Schenectady IS slightly different than most other districts. Schenectady's city leaders bused in a large population of "foreign" residents to fill vacant housing... most of which have English as a second language. A normal community COULD experience a similar population shift but it would happen over time and the community and schools could adjust slowly. Schenectady has been on a large "man made" influx that is causing some unforseen issues... the school district being one of them.

I have nothing against the people who moved here. It just places a greater demand on the tax base as the district tries to educate these people and meet the state and federal standards.

as for those wanting to vote down the budget. A serious question... what are you most concerned with...

A) educating the children

B) how much it costs you

both are legitimate concerns...

i would just ask that before you vote on the budget be sure to check the population of the nearby school districts, how much their budgets are and how much they are paying per child. I think you will find that Schenectady is a bargain. That doesnt deny the issue that we have little to no commercial base to help support our residents. THAT falls on the city leaders.

press the city leaders to get businesses IN SCHENECTADY, not only for jobs but to be beef up the commercial tax base as well. THAT is when we will see some sort of tax relief

June 12, 2009
10:29 a.m.

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residentX ( residentX ) says...

Why would i compare the performance of a suburban district with an urban district? are you that naive to believe that there is no difference? I cant even believe you posed that question. If you truly believe its a level playing field and there is no difference between an urban and suburban school ... no discussion i have with you will change your mind. Its simply not reality.

the business review may be looking at salary only and/or may be looking at whatever was reported... meaning some included TOTAL compensation whereas others did not. My numbers include TOTAL compensation... in case you dont understand that term... that means SALARY + any other compensation.. some districts will pay for a house some districts have a lump of deferred compensation among many other forms of compensation.

as for your site(source)... you posted the links to your site and i found that you misinterpreted/misstated much of the data or that things like para numbers were outright incorrect.

i would suggest that if an area concerns you to call the district up and request that information.

June 12, 2009
10:33 a.m.

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residentX ( residentX ) says...

and lastly... post a number i quoted that you think i cant back up with a source and i will soundly put you in your place.

June 12, 2009
11:26 a.m.

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schdygrl ( schdygrl ) says...

NDBG-located in Schenectady, an "urban area," manages to have a 100% graduation rate and spends less than 6000.00 per student. Niskayuna High School is located about a mile away from Schenectady High School. I don’t think that urban/suburban line is that strong in that case.
Whether or not the Business Review used just a gross number for salary or added compensation is a mute point…duh compensation is still compensation whether it is cash and/or perks. He is still in top 6 paid administrators and has a school district in the bottom 3-out of 85 schools!
However, my entire point is not about the money, it is about how the money is being used.
You are right-fighting over percentages when my entire point is that the drop out rate is high, the violence rate is high and the educational expectations are low. We are not creating educated children to give back to this society. So whether it is 5,000 per kid or 20,000 per kid, the system needs fixed, it is not working as it is. Throwing another million dollars on top of the problem isn’t fixing it.

June 12, 2009
1:35 p.m.

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residentX ( residentX ) says...

first... we do agree on something needs to be done about the issues you raise in your last paragraph.

secondly... you cant compare Gibbons to Schenectady. The report ive seen shows the school is 85% white in student population which would indicate to me that people are retreating from the public schools to the private schools. The tuition for Gibbons is around 6,000 that does not mean that is the cost per student. I would also ask you.. who pays for the transportation... The public district in which the student lives I believe is the correct answer. Since its in Schenectady Im guessing most of the studends live in Schenectady which means that Schenectady City Schools buses those kids (there is a distance rule but anyone within the city limits is bused at the city district expense). Did you know that ALL PRIVATE SCHOOL students that live within the distance radius and attend a private school within that radius are paid for by the City Schools? So comparing public to private and talking about costs is not apples to apples by any stretch. Not to mention a parent paying tuition is more likely to be concerned/involved about their childs education. That means that a much higher percentage of students attending private schools have parents who believe education is extremely important. Private schools also receive federal aid on top of the tuition and endowments.I dont have the cost per child for gibbons but I would be willing to bet its not 6000 or less... even factoring in that the schenectady city district is actually paying their transportation costs.

and again... the business review could have district A reporting their superintendents salary is X while districty B is reporting their superintendents salary is X + all other forms of compensation yet the business review reports that as what each are bing paid yet it neglects to include district As other forms of compensation.

my entire point is not to right-fight as you put it but to make sure you use the correct information to make a decision. In any sensitive topic like this its very easy to have a slew of misinformation. As shown above by the gibbons reference its real easy to just glance at it and ask how they are doing it...when you look deeper you see there is much more to the numbers than meets the eye.

June 12, 2009
1:40 p.m.

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residentX ( residentX ) says...

gibbon also has a 12 to 1 student teacher ratio and schenectady is more like 20 to 1. Grades will go up if you reduce the ratio. The issue is where is that money going to come from? Noone wants the budget to go up. and yes... as much as we hate to say it... it costs money to improve the quality of education. Schenectady is paying much less than many of the local districts per child. If schenectady is low performing and paying a good amount less per child... it might just indicate that we need to invest more money in our children.

June 12, 2009
3:59 p.m.

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residentxi ( residentxi ) says...

residentx give up your more money, school stance and face the fact that it's a bad product and more money isn't the answer!

June 12, 2009
4:36 p.m.

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silbernagel ( silbernagel ) says...

Will the last one who leaves Schenectady due to high taxes and failing schools please turn out the lights!

June 12, 2009
8:54 p.m.

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TheTruthHasSpoken ( TheTruthHasSpoken ) says...

Here is the New York State School Administrator Salary Disclosure web site address where you can see what every district in NYS is paying the top people. http://www.emsc.nysed.gov/mgtserv/adminc... click on the 2009-2010 excel file to see that Mr.Ely is going to have a salary of $189,899 plus a benefit package of $43,861 and also a travel stipend of $4,000 to travel around the school district! Oh by the way Mr. Ely just received a $10,000 performance bonus, which of course he says that he didn't get a raise and if he did he would have turned it down. Yea OK tell me the story about how you were swallowed by a whale too while you are at it! No Mr. Ely bonuses are not raises but you are still going to get the 8% raise you have included in the original budget proposal, because the new proposal did not include any cuts now does it!

June 13, 2009
8:04 a.m.

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keliegh1225 ( keliegh1225 ) says...

Look get rid ofthe board and get rid of the super . The children and tax payers of schenectayd deserve better.

June 13, 2009
10:50 a.m.

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jbuff ( jbuff ) says...

I went to a large school (over 400 in my class) and larger does not mean better.
In 1930 we had 119,000 school districts, today less than 15,000. Children used to grow up with mentors and neighbors they were accountable to, now they are just a number seeking their peers for guidance.

Unfortunately, larger schools teach kids to hate learning if they are smart enough to be bored when the teacher is teaching to the least common denominator.

The little red school house is looking better and better. Get rid of the fed. gov't oversight, get rid of the teacher's unions and let the teachers and parents control what education their own children receive.

Since that isn't about to happen anytime soon, the closest one can come to the little red school house is to homeschool. It's a growing movement.

June 13, 2009
6:21 p.m.

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residentxi ( residentxi ) says...

jbuff, residentx will have some #'s and stats to show you what a hick you are, just as soon as school starts and she's back at her desk at Schenectady High!

June 13, 2009
7:16 p.m.

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truthbetold ( truthbetold ) says...

Interesting how certain posters are blaming the kids for the high budget (english as a second language, special needs). Look at the budget #'s:

2008 2009
Legal
Instructional Salaries $162,034 $178,112

Personnel
Noninsructional Salaries $291,838 $355,247

Central Data Processing
Noninstructional Salaries $73,373 $77,578

Chief School Officer (Superintendent)
Instructional Salaries $178,668 $193,899

So, where is the justification for the above increases? In this economy with an initial failed budget, why did we allow the above increases? Please residentx, do you have an answer for me?

June 15, 2009
8:36 a.m.

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schdygrl ( schdygrl ) says...

I bow to you thruthbetold, jbuff and truthbespoken, you have accomplished what I couldn't...silence from residentx!

June 15, 2009
8:37 a.m.

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rjsjsn ( rjsjsn ) says...

I haven't spoke with anyone who will vote yes. How can we force ely and jeff j to step down that would be the next step in trying to right a sinking ship get rid of the captain and first officer!

June 15, 2009
10:23 a.m.

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schdygrl ( schdygrl ) says...

If I was making nearly 250K a year (yes residentx I know the difference between salary, perks, milage and bonuses) not doing my job I would hang on to it for dear life!

June 15, 2009
11:12 a.m.

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CKL ( CKL ) says...

Voting the budget down is not going to do anything other then hurt the tax payers of Schenectady when we will be forced to pay a 15% increase for a contignecy budget- Since the State Education Department can't come to a decision as to what a contigency budget entails espically with the newest ruling. Scream and yell all you want about the adminstrators-staff- teachers salaries- be as angry as you want at the Board but none of that is going to change if the budget is voted down none of it. The only way to change the very things that you are angry at is to vote in the next School Board elections- There is so much mis-information out - Howe is closing ( not closing just changing to Pre-K and Kindergarten, Schenectady is spending so much more on bussing then Albany ( obviously not true, how many special needs students and students with learning disabilites??? Who knows wha those #'s are. The bottom line is we have a huge # of students who all are entitled to the best education that we can provide for them- Voting "no" on the budget will not get the president of the Board nor the Superintendent to step down, which from the many postings to sounds like that is what people think will happen- it will not effect their lives at all the only thing voting down the budget will do is increase our school taxes by 15% and we will still be forced to deal with all of the same issues but be lucky enough to be able to spend more and get less-

June 15, 2009
11:58 a.m.

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schdygrl ( schdygrl ) says...

Well CKL, we cannot give in to threats and vote for something that is wrong. A contingency budget is supposed to be bare bones to get by until an agreement is reached. People are checking into seeing if Eli's “contingency budget” is even legal. If the tax payers vote “no” to an increase, he cannot be slick and increase it. I am sure that it will not be allowed in the long run. I am so sick of people taking advantage of us. Let him try to do the 15% and people will riot in the streets and we fill force a resignation. Our vote has to count for something and he wouldn’t be threatening us if he thought 15% would go without a hitch. We have to stop this madness.
If we pass it now, they will be laughing all the way to the bank at how stupid we are. We say no so they make it higher and then we say yes? That is insane! The minute my house sells I am so gone from this god forsaken city and then next years budget will include a 20% increase for the few that are left. At what point are you guys going to say NO and fight for our rights?!?!?!?!

June 15, 2009
12:28 p.m.

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CKL ( CKL ) says...

You act like the super had decided that "he" needs the 15% increase- this is what the State Education Department has stated would be in a contigency budget-Again voting "no" will do nothing to the very people that you are angry at. If you think you are having a hard time selling your home now how much more difficult will it be to sell it with a 15% increase in your school taxes? And what "extra's" do you think will come with that 15% increase? None- we will all be paying for less- You can't really think that a no vote and a 15% school tax increase, contigency budget will make the super and school board afraid that it will make people angry- we are all angry at the events this year that have happened in the School district- If your goal is to oust the Super and hope that school board members step down- then you do that by voting in the School Board elections- not by voting down a budget when we have been told that the alternative is a 15% school tax increase- again paying more for less that would be the height of stupidity.

June 15, 2009
1:18 p.m.

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Lkd ( Lkd ) says...

I found 5 new people to get out and vote no today.

Sorry this is the only way to protest until elections are held next year. I take offense when someone tries to hold a proverbial gun to my head. I'm sure a revised budget defeat will not look favorable on Mr. Ely's resume when people realise that the citizens would rather take a 15% increase than to accept coercion and misleading representation of the facts.
Maybe they didn't get that the reason the first one was defeated was not because of the librarians lay offs, but all of the other wrongdoings. They all have to take accountability for those things and thats why the incumbent and Janiszewsi favorite were voted out.

Remember this is just a budget for one year and next year sees two new Board Members and maybe a better budget with openness, accountability and more cooperation between the board and parents.
So don't cry for taxpayers, there are 30,000 resistered voters and only 1,900 voted so they only have themselves to blame if it is defeated.
Don't cry for the students because the administration is employing scare tactics and no one will suffer.
Again , the budget is for one year only and everyone acts like if we go to a contingency budget that we are setting our kids up for a lifetime of failure.
I like the fact that a contingency budget gives the Super less flexibility on how the money is spent.
I have to go scare up some more no votes now.

June 15, 2009
1:23 p.m.

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nypolarbear123 ( nypolarbear123 ) says...

Someone seems to be blaming Guyanese as the problem, moving here and being non-English speaking.

Obviously that person failed social studies. English is the official language in Guayana. Those who came from Guyana to NYC and then came upstate are people who speak English fluently, and are people who are not welfare, they have bought homes here and fixed them up....they could afford to buy several because the value of homes downstate, well, they might have had a home worth $200,000, sold it for $200,000 and they could by 4 houses at $50,000 each in Schenectady 10 years ago.

Asian immigrants speak English, and it is the culture of them, the parents, to have extraordinarily high standards when it comes to their children's education....remember all the reports about how children in the Asian (China, Japan, etc) are so far ahead of U.S. children in education.

I've known immigrants from Eastern Europe who have come here, primarily in the mid 80's, to early 90's. They place a high priority on learning English and indeed, the children learn quickly.

Many of these immigrant groups apply for citizenship in the minimal amount of time....and remember that requires proving fluency in English.

Back in the 1800's and early 1900's, Schenectady was flooded with immigration much more than today, those immigrants basically prohibited their children from speaking in their native country language.

So, let's see, we do have other people who come here, from some other countries, live here for 30 years, and cannot function as English speaking. Why? Why, after living in this country would ANYONE not be able to speak to a teacher in English? Why would the children be non-English speaking?

June 15, 2009
2:03 p.m.

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CKL ( CKL ) says...

LKD - Hopefully when you go scare up some more "no" votes you have explained to the people that a contingecy budget will hold a 15% school tax increase and not just let them believe that the school board would "never" go to that extreme, when there is a probability that that is what will happen. A revised budget defeat will not effect Mr. Ely's resume one way or the other. He will be able to explain that the voters in the City of Schenectady had choices but due to their anger- voted to accept the 15% school tax increase when they were advised that this is excatley what would happen- The 4-5% initial budget was defeated, the new 5-6% alternate budget you want defeated so it appears as though you want to pay the full 15% increases and get less for it just because you are angry! Really? Again A DEFEATED BUDGET DOES NOTHING BUT HURT THE TAX PAYERS OF SCHENECTADY. Next year when the school board elections come up that is when it is time to take your stance with your dis pleasure with the current Board and that has nothing to do with the current budget vote.

June 15, 2009
2:06 p.m.

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residentX ( residentX ) says...

no worries to most on here. I'll be leaving schenectady relatively soon. Not because of administration at the district, nor the board... but because of the city leaders and the people who live here.

as someone posted ... you generally get the government you deserve... with the thought process shown above... its no wonder the city is in the position its in.

The average small minded person just needs to be able to point a finger in one direction and declair ... THATS THE PROBLEM RIGHT THERE. Many of you are choosing the Super Intendent or the board or both. If you look much deeper its a far greater problem. The district doesnt keep businesses here or people employed. BOTH of which help offset expenses per resident.

noone is blaming the guyanese in particular. Its already been posted that english is a second language for them. I cant tell you how many stores, restaurants or any other public venue that ive been to where the people are speaking in a foreign language. This city was NEVER like this and ive been here since the 70s.

I can throw all of the numbers up here that prove you wrong and at the end of the day youre going to believe what you want to believe not necessarily what is the truth.

you guys win... i cant beat ignorance

June 15, 2009
2:08 p.m.

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residentX ( residentX ) says...

CKL ... youre wasting your breath on this crew

June 15, 2009
3:11 p.m.

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schdygrl ( schdygrl ) says...

It is our OBLIGATION to fight for ourselves and set precedence. We can no longer allow the power people of Schenectady to bully us. Stop being so helpless. It is incredibly un-American to have a city vote “no” twice and then the board passes the budget even higher. People in other countries take to the streets and things change.
Flood Patterson’s office; call on Cuomo to get involved; Gellibrand can be contacted; call Stratton and then go to the media or make Youtube video’s trashing Schenectady and embarrass the powers that be. Whatever your style fine...but don’t just sit there and whine to your neighbors. Next year will be even worse if we let them get away with it now!
To residentx, I am far from ignorant. Take a look in the mirror. People don’t agree with your racist inconsistent un-sourced information because it sounds ignorant. You ought to realize that you are the one who sounds ignorant. You have been here since the 70’s and look at the place; obviously you are part of the problem.

June 15, 2009
4:09 p.m.

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CKL ( CKL ) says...

Your right it is our obligation to fight for ourselves not to hurt ourselves in the long run- the district needs a budget not one person can explain to my why any rational person would want a 15.8% school tax increase- and lose programs, teachers, librarians, use of the facilities etc. with a contigency budget. The only constant factor from the district web site- and many other postings are that people are mad at the adminstration and school board. Great own your anger next year when the school board elections come up vote in or out anyone you want who you think can or will do a better job- But to burden the tax payers with a 15.8% increase when you will only lose and not gain anything- makes not a bit of sense- why would you want to give the adminstration more money to spend if you think that they are not doing a good job at it now and not get a blessed thing from it? Why?????

June 15, 2009
4:36 p.m.

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llbigbird ( llbigbird ) says...

Let us call it it what it is- a dictatorship. Ely has chosen to make his rules and allow people that he feels to break them (Raucci) or be forced to go along with what he feels (parents and taxpayers. While nobody wants to see kids suffer,people need to put their foot down and say no to the budget. Ely has proven time and time again that he will not listen to parents and taxpayers who speak out.The problem with voting yes and then waiting to vote out the board at the next election does nothing to send the message NOW. Vote NO and vote out the board. Ely has run his dictatorship of the school district for too long and he does not seem to care about the kids well being (look at the recent press for those facts) and he can not stand to be questioned or "called on the carpet" for his actions (look at what he has done to Mr. Strock). Ely forgets that he works for the taxpayers of the city. It is time for him to go and bring in someone who is willing to listen to parents, work with parents and help make the schools better for our kids today and the kids of tomorrow.

PS- As for the insults about the students with ESL that is the cheapest way I have seen to justify the mismanagement of money. It seems that is borderline raceist if not outright.

June 15, 2009
5:16 p.m.

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CKL ( CKL ) says...

People cannot be so mad at the adminstration to continue to think that voting "no" and having a 15% school tax increase is some how getting even with him or showing/proving something to him- Whatever the out come tomorrow the 2009-2010 school year will be here in September, students will be in school, teachers and staff ( of what we will be allowed) will be in the buildings, and everyone will still be getting their paychecks- What what would be any different in the adminstrators life- NOTHING-Mr. Ely will still be the super Mr. Jan. will still be the Board president- but we the tax payers will be paying and paying for nothing- Please explain why you think it is a good idea to give them more money to spend if you think that they are not spending it wisely now? If you think that Mr. Ely needs to go then elect board members who will not extend his contract. If you went to a restuarant and never liked the food you were given would you want to pay more for it every time and still ge the same food you did not like? No so why, just because you are angry , would you vote in a way that will absolutley raise your school taxes 15%, still not be happy with things in the district and lose programs and staff in the long run?

June 15, 2009
11:29 p.m.

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rjsjsn ( rjsjsn ) says...

their are certain things that should have either been cut or charge the students that want them, IE sports, music, extra curricular activities. Charge a small fee if the student wants them, have them pay. If it's important enough the parents and student will find a way to come up with the money. their is already club sports where the parents have to pay! Crew, Ice Hockey why not make everything a club sport. If they cant pay have them do something to help out the community like clean the neighborhoods around the school to help clean up their image.

 

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