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Public decision

Dunkirk School District budget ready for vote

April 24, 2013

It’s set to go to the voter....

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(23)

hadenough

Apr-24-13 9:11 AM

$41 million for a one year school budget in the city od Dunkirk? Has Cerne lost his mind? Instead of spending start reducing. Eliminate all unnecessary programs that are not directly related to education. Sports and equipment come to mind. Also, test the teachers if they are not up to speed on the latest teaching methods get rid of them. Taxes are nuts now imagine what an increase this is going to cause the residents. I am sure those businesses in Dunkirk are celebrating the possibility of higher taxes. This is now becoming a serious matter. But I will bet you Cerne has not taken a pay decrease.

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DarkStar

Apr-24-13 10:03 AM

And how many students does the district have that it needs $41 million a year to teach them?

The number I've seen used has been 1200, and if that is accurate that comes to $34,000 per student.

hadenough,

For such a small school district to spend that kind of money each year the problem goes way beyond sports and related equipment.

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DKexpat

Apr-24-13 12:22 PM

It’s no wonder taxes are so high in NYS and Chautauqua County...my county-wide (consolidated) school district of 70,000 students spends UNDER $12k/pupil/year.

And even with that low number, the district is nationally recognized in some areas for curriculum, technology, test scores, graduation rate, etc. (Heck, we even install artifical turf at our new high schools.)

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225522

Apr-24-13 2:56 PM

WOW. My grand daughter attends Vanderbilt University in Nashville for a little more than that. AND she is able to watch SEC football...not Fredonia beat Dunkirk for 14 years.

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PR24601

Apr-24-13 3:28 PM

Egregious waste. ~ Unnecessary admin staff ~ Unnecessary primary school locations ~ Excessive teacher:student ratios ~ ESL necessities ~ Aides for incompetent teachers

Consolidate and reduce unnecessary spending and reduce the overall budget. In Dunkirk, a flatline budget is a failure. Decline of business, declining enrollment, fewer taxpayers, any budget that doesn't decrease year over year is, again, a colossal failure.

To the poster that suggest cutting sports equipment - NO. Cutting from the students is unacceptable. Cutting student programs, clubs, sports, etc. are not the answer. Trim the fat where it matters. Schooling is supposed to be "all about the kids" right?

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DarkStar

Apr-24-13 3:44 PM

"Schooling is supposed to be "all about the kids" right?"

You must be new to NY if you honestly think that. In NY schooling is about the teachers and the teacher's union and everyone else can pound salt!

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Truthteller

Apr-24-13 6:10 PM

None of you who have posted have one single clue about what is happening in education. You are truly speaking from a position of ignorance. Test the teachers!? What do you think the stepped-up Regents assessments, STAR reading and math assessments, and APPR are!? Here's the facts: If students fail any of these tests, their lives go on without consequence; they can try again, defer higher education till they're mature, get a second and third and fourth chance. BUT...if the students fail their tests, teachers get a failing grade, and with APPR, 2 "failing" years means you lose your job. Period.

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Truthteller

Apr-24-13 6:16 PM

How do you fail? Well, because students you never even see fail their STAR reading or math test. You think I'm nuts? Unh-unh. This is real. In districts all over the country, Syracuse included, a teacher is graded in part based on the surveys of their students. Literally--kindergarteners are determining whether teachers can keep their jobs. BTW, those kindergarteners' test scores--yes, they are tested!--are also part of the teacher's grade. Do you seriously think this is fair!? No, this is a result of the hatred and nastiness directed at teachers from people who say and post the things you have here. You don't know that teachers have been asked to solve ALL of society's failings--illiterate homes, technologies that exclude literacy, everyday exposure to violence in movies, music, games. It leads to desensitization in people--that is well established.

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Truthteller

Apr-24-13 6:17 PM

You think teachers have a chance turning kids whose parents scream at them and give them bare mattresses soaked with cat pee to sleep on into scholars!? Teachers are better qualified than they've ever been. And if you think education costs are going to be at 1960's levels, well--you're lost.

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Truthteller

Apr-24-13 6:21 PM

I know the vitriol and hatred you're about to spew. Don't bother. You are NOT in the minds of teachers, you do NOT know how they feel or what they think, and you would resent anyone who told you that you don't care about your job/clients/co-workers because you're greedy and selfish. So don't dish it out, because it's usually what people see in themselves that they spew out upon others' heads.

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concerned

Apr-24-13 7:09 PM

So truthteller what is your point the issue is the astronomical cost of education like teacher and administrative wages!

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Truthteller

Apr-24-13 7:18 PM

Gee, Concerned, maybe you should ask DarkStar what his point is. And be sure and remind him that the article ISN'T about teachers' unions. And Had Enough brought up testing teachers. Was the article about THAT? What's Hadenough's point? Or don't you care about those red herrings?

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Truthteller

Apr-24-13 7:23 PM

Good work costs money. You can't expect teachers to acquire costly educations and assume in loco parentis responsibilities and liabilities and ask them to do a job that is far more complicated than most people have a clue about and not pay a decent wage. Everything costs money. In the article, Cerne references the problems of Wall Street. If anyone is to blame for increasing retirement costs, it is obviously bankers and the truly greedy Wall Street apparatus.

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Captain

Apr-24-13 7:59 PM

Cerne said: "Thanks to a lot of retirements throughout the district we will not have to lay anyone off this year."

...yet the budget still increased OVER $2 MILLION? Dunkirk isn't the only district with out of control spending, it's happening throughout NYS and beyond. Brilliant plan to address declining enrollments.

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Truthteller

Apr-24-13 8:10 PM

And yet again--How can you expect costs to stay the same or go down? Nowhere does that happen. It's not as simple as fewer kids=lower costs. Implementing the new standards and testing is a huge expense that didn't used to exist. That's one example.

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Captain

Apr-24-13 8:21 PM

TT: Good work costs money? Aren't student scores used to measure the district's performance, or are you using a self-evaluation system? At $41M, every student should be on the honor roll! The annual budget has gone beyond insane, and the BOE keeps agreeing to pay employees more.

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Captain

Apr-24-13 8:26 PM

"And yet again--How can you expect costs to stay the same or go down? Nowhere does that happen."

There are still quite a few guys at the steel plant who were hired back in the mid 70's, and are still working today. Ask them what they earn now vs what they made 30/35 yrs ago.

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Truthteller

Apr-25-13 7:05 AM

Captain, you're great at talking but not really good at listening. If you were, you wouldn't have raised your same old tired, outdated complaints based on outdated assumptions. I answered your objections, but no surprise--you weren't listening. Hmmm...steel plant...schools...steelworkers...teachers...apples...oranges. Sorry, Cap'n, but it doesn't hold water.

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Truthteller

Apr-25-13 7:09 AM

Captain--if teaching is such a great living, how come the steelworkers aren't teachers? How come you aren't?

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DarkStar

Apr-25-13 7:40 AM

Truthteller,

Well since Dunkirk scores so low I would assume you could provide us with a long list of Dunkirk teachers that have been fired due to student's test scores.

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PR24601

Apr-25-13 8:45 AM

Costs can't go down? Sure they can. Admin staff has to be cut. Buildings have to be consolidated. How can Olean, a larger town than Dunkirk, with slightly more people, consolidate to 2 elementary schools yet Dunkrik needs 4? Operating costs on two more buildings, plus the staff to run them.

Some teachers need to be cut, but that's the last staff position I would cut. With consolidation, you could increase the student:teacher ratio somewhat. I'm not suggesting 70's/80's 30:1 ratios, but is 20:1 too much to ask? Why is education worse now, with 15-18:1 ratio than it was 30 years ago?

Standardized testing never tells the whole story. I think it's completely misused in NYS. How can you be judged on the performance of children that don't go to school? Also, who says those tests are the best indicator of how a kid's doing? There's always been inherent bias in such tests.

Eliminate waste and consolidate. It's not difficult to comprehend.

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Truthteller

Apr-25-13 3:27 PM

Dark Star, it would take a time machine to the future to do that. This is the first year of a two-year cycle (remember, I commented below on the two-year portion of evaluations). So no, nobody has been fired--yet. And I don't think these tests, student opinions, and excessive APPR rubrics are remotely fair to teachers. Superman couldn't achieve what we're asking teachers to. There are students who race through the test in 90 seconds, answering B or A or C or D to everything. How is that fair to a teacher? The problems with education are society's. It isn't fair to expect teachers to fix every problem created by parents, kids themselves, and a culture of destruction.

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Truthteller

Apr-25-13 3:44 PM

The question is--why does Dunkirk score low? If you look at scores from here to Rochester, the wealthier districts' students score consistently higher. How come? It would be really strange if all the best teachers coincidentally were in the "nice" districts. But the data make that the only possible conclusion. You must be able to see the folly of such reasoning. Why should teachers lose their jobs when the testing system is so deeply flawed?

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