The facts are that this year’s lay-offs are not due to a school closing, nor are the impending large number of next year’s staff / teacher reductions due to a school closing. These people are and will lose their jobs with the Clarkstown School district because of a decade of poor BOE performance. Among the most accountable of those failures as board members is Phil Degaetano. Degaetanos’ performance and conduct as a prior Board of Education member is a key factor in why teachers and other staff are losing their jobs now.
How can I say that there will be jobs lost with one candidate as oppose to another? That’s simple! History does not lie! Degaetano failed to plan for the future of our district even though he was continually advised that the district was on a dangerous long term path that led to a financial cliff. He only pursued his personal agendas and caused extreme diversity among the board by his dictator like leadership, arrogance and unwillingness to listen to the community. Degaetano is not the only cause of this but, the fact that he is part (a significant part) of the reason our district is in this situation, is more than sufficient reasoning to not want Degaetano back on the Board of Education.
Your worries that an unlikely off-lining of a school will result in a significant reduction in teaching positions is simply not what should be driving your decisions. First, in our situation the off-lining of a school does not make financial sense (see Mr. LaNave). Second, the children in that school will not evaporate (while some of us with girls hitting puberty on occasion are hopeful of such) thus, the teachers are still needed. Yes, there is a possibility that if this were to happen (however unlikely) it could result in a couple position reductions. BUT, if the concept of off-lining a school will not make financial or educational sense, then why is this it the forefront the union’s and teacher’s concern?
Yes I’m clearly and openly telling you that if Degaetano and McGee are elected, you can bet your job (well don’t do that because you may not have it) that there will be many more teaching position reductions because they are not qualified nor capable of addressing and resolving the greater issues that face the Clarkstown School District. Degaetano’s history on the board demonstrated that, and McGee has said that he is “110%” going to rent St. Augustine’s again and “fast track” the spending of the 6.5 million dollars of bond money (ignoring the fact that we will lose out on 3.25 million dollars in State Building Aid. Neither of the ‘missing duo’ have presented a solid or specific way to resolve any of the district’s financial issues.
Next year we will have another 8 million dollar shortfall and staff will be cut! And the year after that ANOTHER 8 million shortfall, and staff will again be cut! AND THE YEAR AFTER THAT ANOTHER 8 MILLION DOLLAR SHORT FALL, and staff will continue to be cut! Shortfalls and cuts until what???? If Degaetano and McGee are elected it will be Shortfalls and cuts until the school system is in utter collapse and the State comes in and takes the district over. Degaetano and McGee? SERIOUSLY! If the Clarkstown Teachers Union are backing them and the teachers are not going to speak out against them, then why don’t the teachers just walk off the job right now and not come back, let’s just shut the school district down now rather than suffer a multi-year drawn out and agonizing self destruction of our school district! I would rather just call up NYSED and say come take it, over before I would vote for Degaetano and McGee.
Degaetano and others have put us in this financial crisis, the building maintenance / repair crisis and in a position where we do not qualify for any State Building Aid to do the building repairs. Are you actually willing to allow the Clarkstown School District to become Mr. Degaetano’s anger management, social skills and business management learning center. Look! Face realities! When I walk into a fine crystal / china shop the store owner usually turns grossly pale white. Re-electing Mr. Degaetano is on par with blind folding me and putting me into that fine crystal / china shop. Putting Mr. Degaetano or Mr. McGee on the BOE is going to be a ‘china shop catastrophe!’ of epic proportions.
Why should teachers of Clarkstown not want Degaetano and McGee?
Because beside the fact that Degaetano has already show he is incapable, currently they have NOT shown us anything which would indicate that they are thinkers (great back door / secret deal makers possibly!) but, not progressive thinkers! The ‘missing duo’ have stated that they are “going to” keep the kids at St. Augustine’s at a cost of $300,000 a year but, neither of them were able to make even the simplest logical connection to think; ‘is Augustine’s going to be available?’. Nor did either of them attempt the horrifically complicated move of picking up the phone and asking Father Bill if the school would be available next year. But, guess who did? Jay Papp called Father Bill! Neither Degaetano or McGee have attempted to learn the details of the excess classrooms, which is why the State denied building aid. Nor has either of them tried to see if the assessment of excess classrooms was done correctly by the State. Jay Papp did! Not only did I do that but, in my review I learned that the State application for building aid did NOT include a copy of Clarkstown’s Class Size Policy and so, NYSED used the State Commissioners default class size policy in its place. While there is no great difference between the two class size policies (NYSED at 23 /27 and Clarkstown at 23/26) the key difference is in how those numbers are applied in real life. NYSED determined based upon the building diagrams and enrollment that we have 77 excess multi use classrooms. However, our district policy on class size requires that the 23/26 policy be applied independently at each school. Thus, if there are three sections of 3rd grade with 17,17,18 the remaining available space of 20 students does NOT carry over to another school. But, NYSED does carry that available space. The fact is that even with our district class size policy we have about 20 excess multi use classrooms. So, regardless of either calculation process we do not qualifying for State Building Aid due to having excess multi use classrooms. However!!!! The good news is that our lower number of excess multi use classrooms can be easily be rectified without closing schools! YES! Jay Papp discussed this with the NYSED, and while the State will not go along with closing off sections of a school, they will permit us to open up adjoining classrooms to make one larger multi use classroom thus, eliminating a multi use classroom. So, we can very easily and with minimal investment and in a short period of time (this summer), have our entire district within State classroom limits without off-lining a school. This will then put us into the position of qualifying for building aid to fix our roofs, upgrade our auditoriums, fix windows, upgrade gyms, put on technology centers and get this! Get aid to buy that boiler for North! STOP! You know there is a catch! Yes, the caveat is that the district must have a serious and well developed facility utilization plan that evaluates existing space and which accounts for the future trends in education and to account for those trends in the facility utilization plan. So, let’s get Phil Degaetano on that right away. NOT! I think he will be too busy looking at where he wants to award the 6.5 million in bond money for Congers (I’m wondering if it is at all possible that such a list might already exists in the Republican Party HQ in New City? Who knows?) and will give no consideration to NOT spending the 6.5 million dollars until we qualify for State building aid (why do something that would save the tax payers 3.25 million dollars). I have already asked some parents to participate on a committee (should I be elected) to review all school room plans and to do onsite assessments to help resolve this excess multi class issue.
The FACTS are that I (Jay Papp) have to date presented a proposed plan to fix the critical issues at Congers so that the kids can get back into their school for September. I have also outlined a plan that could have our entire multi classroom issue resolved before September but, no later than before the December recess is over. Which would in the best case, enable us to apply for State Building Aid in September 2014 and the worst case in January 2015. Once the State authorizes the building aid, we can do some additional work at Congers with the approved bond money.
McGee showed for the PTA candidate forum and made it explicitly clear that he had a personal agenda and goal, and to hell with whatever was best for all the children of Clarkstown, he was going to take care of his own first, at any cost to the school district (Daffy Duck Americanism at its worst). Degaetano did not even show up for the PTA candidate forum, just as he did not show for debates in other years that he ran for the BOE in the past. After the ‘two most dangerous for the district candidates’ joined forces, neither will step up like a man and debate the issues with other candidates. The teachers union has endorse the only two candidates that are afraid to face the public and debate the issues, hence I have named them the ‘missing duo’ candidates. Degaetano and McGee only creep out of political shadows when they are surrounded by their fear mongering radical puppeteer supporters. I have challenged Degaetano and McGee to debate the serious issues facing our district no less than ten times and they are such political cowards that they won’t even respond to the debate challenge. It’s as if the rest of the candidates are campaigning against political troglodytes that fear the brightness of the truth and honesty. Frankly, I know of no person that could possibly have any respect for a candidate that is running for office but, will not accept a debate challenge. I am of the opinion as a candidate for the Board of Education, that Phil Degaetano and Sean McGee are candidates bereft of virtue and are unworthy of the trust and confidence of the Clarkstown community.
My GOD, I thought our teachers were supposed to be the smart ones! The writing is clearly on the chalkboard! Degaetano and McGee are not thinkers! They are not progressive! They are not innovatively searching for ways to improve our school district! Take off your ROSE COLORED glasses dear teachers and teacher’s union officials, and install seatbelts on your saddles, because you’re about to take a ride down the narrow and one way Degaetano Grand Canyon path on a jackass with poor footing! When you hit the bottom of Degaetano’s canyon of unemployment, remember that your banker will be waiting there to collect your mortgage payment, and he will not care about the short sightedness of your union officials, nor of your fear to stand up for yourselves, he is going to want the mortgage payment!
So will there be more lost jobs with one candidate than another, you can bet your job there is (no you can’t !) Protect our school district, protect our students, protect your own families and children by NOT backing and NOT voting for either Phil Degaetano or Sean McGee.