Friday, 04 May 2012 00:00
For the first time ever, the Manhasset Proponents of School Accountability (MPSA) and the Port Washington Educational Assembly (PWEA) are supporting the proposed school budgets in our communities, as both budgets are meeting the new tax cap limits. While both of our groups favored a budget with no tax increase in these difficult times, in the interest of unifying our communities, we agreed to support any budget that met the new tax limit even though the budget increases ($1.5 million in Manhasset and $2.7 million in Port Washington) are, for the most part, increases in employee salaries and benefits.
However, in regard to salary and benefits, many Long Island teachers are agreeing to salary concessions, as they realize there are literally thousands of qualified teacher applicants for teaching jobs, and that LI teachers now have the highest salaries of all teachers in the nation. Manhasset teachers should be commended for agreeing to defer their STEP increases for half a year in each of the next two years, and taking a zero COLA increase for this coming school year and only a 1 percent increase the following year. Unfortunately, Port Washington teachers failed to make similar concessions and will continue to receive salary increases of 12 percent over the next two years.
It should be noted, for the first time, there is recourse for residents who consider their school taxes burdensome and object to any increase in the budget. The new law offers them real relief and real power. If any budget is defeated twice, the allowable tax increase is zero.
Finally, we advocate key reforms in Albany if we are going to avoid having to choose between unreasonable tax increases or program cuts down the road. The Triborough Amendment must be changed to eliminate the continuation of STEP increases after a union contract expires, so as to put the union under the same pressure as school boards during contract negotiations. Today all the pressure is on school boards. Second, we need tenure reform to improve educational quality and not be forced to layoff well performing young teachers to the detriment of educational excellence. Third, we need more pension reform as current pensions are still far too generous with the bulk of the costs borne by the taxpayers. Finally, Wicks Law must be changed to reduce the waste in large construction projects. Unfortunately, many politicians are intimidated by teacher unions and refuse to deal with these needed reforms. That is a battle for another day.
Laurann Pandelakis, MPSA
Frank J. Russo, Jr., PWEA
Friday, 17 January 2014 00:00
Negotiations are currently underway between the Village of Farmingdale and members of the local CSEA labor union. After a closed door executive session meeting, on Jan. 6, village trustees met with members of the labor counsel to iron out terms of a new contract proposal, which they said will hopefully meet the fancy of union leaders.
“We have sent our proposals out there,” said Farmingdale Mayor Ralph Ekstrand, “we are just waiting for the CSEA membership to approve it.”
Thursday, 12 December 2013 00:00
A new Child Care Centerfor children ages eight weeks through Pre-K—opened at Farmingdale State College this week, which will be open to the community and the college campus.
“The College owes a great deal of thanks to everyone involved in this project,” said Farmingdale State College President Hubert Keen. “This center provides a safe and nurturing environment for the children of our students, faculty and staff.
Especially for our students, the availability of quality child care can determine whether or not they are able to complete their education.”
Thursday, 28 November 2013 00:00
On Saturday, November 9, the MHS Girls Swim Team competed in the Nassau County Team Championships. After a strong preliminary performance on Friday, the girls had their sights set on swimming even faster on Saturday at the finals. On Friday, Manhasset qualified 14 individual swims in the top 10 and all three relays. The team also had an additional 7 swims in the consolation finals (places 11-20). On Saturday, the top 20 individuals and relays compete in each event, all finishers scoring points towards their team total.
In the championship’s opening event, the 200 yd. medley relay team from Manhasset set the tone for what turned out to be a historic day in Manhasset Girls Swimming. The relay team of Grace Kenlon, Allegra Sodi, Megan Smith and Meredith Johnson finished third and set a new school record time of 1:51.96, also qualifying for the New York State Championships.
Thursday, 28 November 2013 00:00
The Indians' regular season came to a close recently, but not before the boys locked up several more post-season honors to complete a highly successful campaign that brought an undefeated season as well as Division and Conference Championships. Manhasset headed into the post-season with high aspirations and battled it out with rival Wantagh High School for two weekends in a row—at both the Class Country Championships and the State Qualification race—coming up just short on both occasions, but achieving many milestones along the way.