- Stop waste and mismanagement
- Eliminate conflicts of interest
- Effective school budget spending
- Transparency of public information
- Holding the line on property taxes
- Evaluation and restoration of programs
- Implement a "pay as you go" technology vision
- Establish a District-wide multi year plan
"The problem is not that America doesn't spend enough money on education -- we spend enormous amounts, far more than any other nation. But we're not getting a sufficient return on our investment. The fact is, our education system looks a lot like the U.S. auto industry in the 1970s -- stuck in a flabby, inefficient, outdated production model driven by the needs of employees rather than consumers." -- Michael R. Bloomberg, Mayor NYC
"If you want to make enemies, try to change something." -- Woodrow Wilson
“Never interrupt your enemy when he's making a mistake” --
Napolean Bonaparte (1769 - 1821)
If you don't know where you are going, you'll end up someplace else. ~ Yogi Berra
"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same." -- Ronald Reagan
"The only thing you take with you when you're gone is what you leave behind." -John Allston
"IT’S TIME THE COMMUNITY HAD A VOICE ON THE B.O.E.!" -- Frank M. Gerace
SCHOOL BOARDS ARE BIASED ON SPENDING
James E. Stubenrauch
SchoolWatch Calls For Boycott of Law Firms Involved in Pension Scandal
DiNapoli suspends $106,700 lawyer pension
BY EDEN LAIKIN AND SANDRA PEDDIE
4:58 PM EDT, April 25, 2008
New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli has suspended the $106,700 a year pension of a Valley Stream attorney who had received 21 years of retroactive pension credits from Nassau County and Hempstead town, even though he had been paid as an independent contractor and not as an employee, officials said Friday.Albert D'Agostino, 64, would have to pay back most, if not all, of the roughly $791,359 he's collected since retiring in October 2000, if DiNapoli's office determines he was not a legitimate employee, officials said. In addition, he would have to pay back $83,015 in health benefits he has received."We suspended his pension while we look at all the entities that reported him as an employee, to see if any were eligible," said DiNapoli spokeswoman Emily DeSantis.
She added that the comptroller would recalculate D'Agostino's pension and "most likely reduce his benefit."Newsday, which wrote about D'Agostino's retroactive pension credits two weeks ago, has reported on a number of attorneys who, while working as independent contractors for school districts, also received state pension credits as if they were employees.Yesterday, DiNapoli said more pensions could be suspended. "We'll continue to dig until we're confident that state pensions are only going to those people that rightly earned them," he said.D'Agostino was also reported as an employee by three school districts – Lawrence, Valley Stream 30 and North Merrick – and the Village of Valley Stream, while being paid additional fees as a contractor. He accumulated a total of 28 years credit in the state retirement system.D'Agostino declined comment Friday.
Meanwhile, SchoolWatch, a Long Island advocacy group, posted a statement on its Web site urging a boycott of law firms "involved in the pension scandal.""We as taxpayers simply cannot sit back and continue to feed these 'fat cat' lawyers and their firms. . ." the group said. "Millions of dollars have been stuffed in the pockets of these firms and attorneys, and it must stop."
In deciding in 2000 to give D'Agostino the retroactive credits, the state relied on letters from two prominent people connected to the Nassau County Planning Commission, an advisory board where D'Agostino served as part-time counsel. The state also considered his 1099 payments – tax forms used to pay independent contractors, not employees.Nassau County Comptroller Howard Weitzman said D'Agostino was placed on the county payroll in 1999. When he retired in 2000 and secured the retroactive credits, he also got lifetime health benefits.Weitzman said the county has paid $83,015 so far for D'Agostino's family health coverage. If DiNapoli determines that D'Agostino is not entitled to the pension, the county would end his benefits and seek to recover the $83,015.Weitzman has asked the state to refund the $102,246 the county paid to fund D'Agostino's pension.
Last month, DiNapoli froze the pension of attorney Lawrence Reich, who Newsday found was reported as a full-time employee by five school districts simultaneously. DiNapoli determined that Reich was not an employee and said Reich would have to pay back money he wasn't entitled to. Reich, who retired in 2006 with a $61,459 pension, has about 10 years of eligible service with the state.
The FBI, the state Attorney General, the IRS and the Nassau District Attorney have launched investigations.Last week, DiNapoli revoked pension memberships of four Albany attorneys who were reported as employees by an upstate BOCES and reduced service credit for a fifth attorney. Earlier this month, he announced new regulations for local governments to determine who is an employee.
Copyright © 2008, Newsday Inc.
SCHOOLWATCH SAVES COMMUNITY OVER $4M BY POINTING OUT TECHNOLOGY FUND FARCE!
At the last BOE meeting, Tuesday, April 8, 2008 - The East Islip Board of Education voted to rescind a proposed proposition that would have allowed the formation of a $4M capital fund for technology upgrades. This about face was spearheaded and brought about by SchoolWatch officials, who, in one fell swoop, have just saved the community over $4M!
The outcry began with SchoolWatch President Frank Gerace, at the numerous Budget Advisory Committee meetings that have been held since October 2007. His doubts about the creation of the fund picked up momentum throughout the committee(the Budget Advisory Committee voted unanimously to not support the formation of the Capital Fund!) and in the community as more details were released and it became apparent that there had been an ulterior motive for setting up the fund. They wanted a place to funnel your hard earned money into! After all, how did we go from Austerity to having a $5M surplus!
Even Glenn Reed (a member of the Technology Committee), who had been a proponent of this fund, sent a last minute e-mail to the BOE indicating, he too now agreed, that the technology upgrade could be implemented on a "pay as you go" basis with funds that the district already had available!
Note: A Schoolwatch member wrote and distributed a document entitled, ‘The Truth About the Technology Vote in East Islip" which pointed out the faults with the proposition and the proper way to fund technology. It's readily apparent that the BOE read this document and adopted our suggestions! (See below - It is posted in its entirety)