The Jan. 29 issue of Port News reported Schreiber Asst. Principal Carmine Matina saying, "Student needs determine the schedule, and because of this some teachers do not teach a full 20 hours." Mr. Matina, who knows better, was implying most Schreiber teachers teach 20 hrs/week. This is inaccurate at best, and deceptive at worst. Very few, if any at all, teach 20 hours as allowed in the contract. The average is 17 hours. If we could get the full 20 hours, as per the contract, we could conduct the same number of classes with 25 fewer teachers, saving Port taxpayers over $2 million per year.
The General Council of Homeowner Associations posed this question, along with 35 others, to the school board many months ago. We had one meeting with the Board's Budget Committee, and identified this issue of getting 20 hours/week as the question to be addressed first. I was left with the impression our General Council Committee would soon get an answer to that key question, and others. We're still waiting.
We're now being asked to approve a $7 million bond issue, on top of the $68 million approved three years ago. Is the school board properly managing our tax money? Do we really have to spend $19,000 per pupil? Each teacher costs us $105,000 per year in salary and fringe benefits. We have 97 teachers for every 1000 students, while the typical Nassau district has 77 teachers per 1000 pupils. One reason we have so many teachers is because the school board has failed to properly get what we pay for - 20 hours per week of classroom teaching at Schreiber. I believe our new superintendent is trying to cut costs, but he can't do it without help from the board. Replacing our nurse teachers with nurses would save another $250,000. These savings alone would cover the full bond cost in three years.
Until the board acts responsibly, we shouldn't approve more bond issues.
Frank J. Russo, Jr.