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Bellmore-Merrick CHSD Teachers, Administrators Accept Pay Freeze

Both unions declined contractual pay raises for 2011-2012 school year.

The Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District board of education opened Wednesday’s budget meeting with the news that teachers and administrators voted to decline their contracted raises for the 2011-2012 school year.

According to Superintendent Dr. Henry Kiernan, this will save the district about $840,000.

“We are very proud of what [the teachers] are doing in order to help with this budget,” Kiernan said.

Nina Lanci, president of the board, echoed the superintendent's sentiment. “The board of education would like to thank everyone for their selflessness in these tough economic times,” she said.

Mike Dolber, president, BMUST, also stood up to acknowledge how meaningful it is to the community that board and the teachers were able to collaborate and come up with a plan to save jobs and money.

“We strongly felt that the sacrifice that needed to be made and we needed to do it to save the jobs of our colleagues. We hope that we will be able to continue this collaborative relationship with the board in years to come,” he said.

The board is proposing a 5.8 tax-levy increase for the 2011-2012 school year, which is mostly because of the cuts that the district has taken in state aid. The board discussed some of the recent adjustments to the budget, including increasing fuel costs, which have been affected by the crisis in Japan as well as the Middle Eastern uprisings. To make sure the district has enough to cover any added expenses, the board moved $200,000 into the category to cover any fuel costs or a change in transportation costs.

The board also announced that it plans to authorize the use of the remainder of the capital fund on necessary school repairs. The roof work at Mepham, Calhoun, Kennedy and Merrick Avenue will be completed, the tracks at both Grand Avenue and Merrick Avenue will be re-done and repairs will begin on the roof at Grand Avenue.

As for the issue of the installation of synthetic turf, the board rejected a petition to install the turf because of the wording that was put on the petition.

Although there were about 600 signatures on the petition according to audience member John Pinto, the board was advised to reject the petition by the council because the petition dictated that the money to install the turf would come from funds that cannot be used for capital improvements. Because there are several legalities at this point and pending legislation, it has yet to be seen if the board will motion for a public referendum regarding the turf field.

One of the concerns brought up by an audience member is that if the public is quick to vote down a referendum on the same ballot as the budget, the budget may suffer.

“I know that a lot of people are concerned that if someone goes into the voting booth, there is concern that if they put down no for a referendum, they may put down no on the budget too. Please think about not putting the referendum on the same ballot as the budget,” she added.

The board will adopt a budget at the next meeting, which will take place on April 6 at 8 p.m.

REALLY-FED-UP-Realist-2 March 30, 2011 at 09:08 PM
No, we are not - we happened to be tax payers - involved in our Community - we do not sit by and let others do the work - we work 14 hour days and find time to be active in the Community that we live in. You were discussing special interest groups before - I looked up a Turf Project for one football field - it came in at $700,000 for install; $10,000 to $35,000 for a machine to fluff the turf; and yearly maint fees; As well as need some replacement after 10 years. As one taxpayer - and with all the Albany Budget Cuts that are in the Newspaper the turf special interest project is all but dead. Lets look to keep the teaching happening and save the sports programs. Just one taxpayers comment on an open board that the whole community reads at one time or another.
PitBull March 31, 2011 at 02:49 AM
Since you know so much about the cost Turf, the rack comes with carpet and we would go from spenting $90,000 a year to maintain dirt & weeds for three fields to 15,000 for the maintance on the turf. You have not answered why we spent over 3 million dollars on tracks and tennis courts that have to be resurfaced every 9 years? at a cost of $150,000 X 5. It could only be that your kids play Tennis or run Track there is your special interest. And at the next board meeting, ask for the names of the teachers that are getting caned. I can tell you the answer it's O no one is lossing therem jobs. The smoke and mirrors that they do so well, is get everybody crazy and then tell everyone it all worked out. Ask youself a ? when 11million dollars was stolen from the Roslyn School District many years ago. Did that school district skip a beat, hell no because there is more money in the schools then they want you to know.
Dawn March 31, 2011 at 06:15 PM
@Tom Baxter- Finally! Thank you for recognizing the real problem. Bellmore/Merrick has 5 separate Districts paying 5 Superintendent Salaries and at least another 10 assistant superintendent salaries. Thats wasted spending. Consolidatation of all of the administrative costs would save a lot.
Captain Kirk March 31, 2011 at 09:22 PM
Gee how can you have a high school tennis match with holes in the court? The answer is you can't. Can you run a successful track meet with holes in the track? Nope! Can you play lacrosse on dirt? Yup! That was necessary; this is not. If times were better than go for turf. Times are not. Let's stop picking on the poor kids who enjoy tennis and track as those repairs were needed and for the life of me I still can't find the lobbying group for the seed industry that's spending big bucks lobbying Merrick to stick to grass for their fields. I'll go look again!
PitBull April 01, 2011 at 01:12 AM
Kirk if that is your real name, there were no holes on the tennis courts and and for a hundred years running on cinder tracks was fine for everyone, but when board members kids were on these teams they got the state of the art surfaces. Having read some of your past posts it is clear, that you dont see the big picture that the fields are not for you and me they are for the student athletes. And trust me the tennis and track athletes they are not poor. Tell me in the last 6 years what year was the best to do it, when we had an over funded reserve of 3.3 million or now when there is 6.8 million dollars sitting in the same reserve helping no taxpayer or student you tell me kirk.
Lala April 01, 2011 at 03:04 AM
I'm not going to address Charlie or Scott because, frankly, I just ate, and their ignorance turns my stomach. However, I will say this: Anyone here of course has the right to be angry about what teachers earn. That's the beauty of democracy. Some, however, are out of line in lumping us all together into a generic category as if we were mindless, emotionless robots. We have our share of jerks--as every job does. However, they are far-outnumbered by good teachers who genuinely care about their students and about the impact their job has on the world. We work hard at being creative, at staying current, at getting a feel for each year's wave of children and what will spark their interest. We listen, we counsel, we encourage, we seek help when we see signs that a child is in trouble, and we castigate ourselves when we miss those signs. Investing yourself in 100+ children all day is mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausting. Worthwhile? Absolutely! I wouldn't trade what I do for the world. (If it were about money, I'd have gone into finance like my brother who makes 10x my salary.) But anyone who has never walked in a teacher's shoes has no business pretending that he or she knows what we do all day. If I didn't care about my kids, they wouldn't continue to call and text me for job advice, life advice, encouragement, and sometimes just a cup of coffee, through their college years and into adulthood.
Lala April 01, 2011 at 03:15 AM
I'd like to add the reminder that most of us are tax-paying homeowners on Long Island. Our incomes get recycled right back into Long Island, in the form of taxes, shopping, eating out, donations, etc. We often patronize local businesses. In addition, not only are the Bellmores and the Merricks home to a large population of teachers, but they are home to a number of teachers in the five Bellmore-Merrick districts. And lastly, Mr. and Mrs. Clare, I have taught inclusion classes with wonderful Special-Ed teachers for the past ten years. I know how important your time, effort, and dedication is, and I thank you for it.
Brian April 01, 2011 at 03:48 AM
Lala: "Our incomes get recycled right back into Long Island..." As I said, I am not taking sides on this issue. However, I will comment on illogical or poor arguments and yours above is especially so. I could argue that any money I save in taxes from a reduction in your salary gets recycled, goes into the Long Island economy ultimately improving the prospects of teachers. In fact a thief could make the same claim.
Charlie Allnut April 01, 2011 at 01:04 PM
Lala, how do you know that the jerks are “far-outnumbered by good teachers who genuinely care about their students?” Perhaps you truly “work hard at being creative, at staying current, at getting a feel for each year's wave of children and what will spark their interest.” But how can you say what other teachers do? In a system that grants tenure (something no other job gets) teachers are exempted from any performance requirements and just continue to get raises as they accumulate seniority. Some may have 20 years’ experience and some may have one year’s experience repeated twenty times. As previously documented, we don’t really know how many hours teachers actually put in because under the contract: “Teachers shall not be required to indicate the time they sign in or out but shall sign their initials only to indicate that they have arrived for work or left for the day.” Why is that in your contract? Why would you dedicated teachers not want anyone to know how many hours you work?
Charlie Allnut April 01, 2011 at 01:08 PM
Lala, under your reasoning the answer to our economic difficulties could be solved by tripling the salaries of teachers so you could all shop and eat out more.
Scott Clarke April 01, 2011 at 01:24 PM
Lala, your comment regarding how you could have gone into finance instead, you are assuming you would have been qualified to do so and that you would have been successful in that field. That's quite an assumption on your part. The real world isn't about which classes you are going to sign up for next semester. You actually have to successfully produce in the field; not until tenure is granted, but every day of your career.
REALLY-FED-UP-Realist-2 April 01, 2011 at 10:43 PM
Lala, Thank you for the kind reference. Jerry Clare
REALLY-FED-UP-Realist-2 April 01, 2011 at 10:50 PM
As taxpayers we all need to agree to disagree - some of the non-teachers on this board travel to NYC and make alot more than teachers and they problably have the exact same problems in their work environments. Luckily each of us has one vote. Make sure you use it when you have the opportunity. As Americans and as Bellmore-Merrick residents, we vote at every opportunity. Also interesting in Charlie Allnut comment "The teachers will never volunteer for the salary and benefit cuts needed to save Long Islanders." Clearly he did not read the article he comment on above WHICH SAYS "with the news that teachers and administrators voted to decline their contracted raises" saving $840,000. Congratulations to the Teachers and Administratiors who have stepped up to LEAD Long Island in combating BUDGET Cuts.
Charlie Allnut April 01, 2011 at 11:36 PM
I am sorry to inform you that declining raises is not the same as “salary and benefit cuts.” These teachers received a15% salary increase over the last 4 years, while inflation was up 8% over the same period, and Long Island wages went down 3%. The result, in 2009, there were 15% fewer 25-to-34-year-olds on Long Island than there were in 2000, a larger decline than in any other part of the New York metropolitan region and in contrast to a 5% gain for the nation.
Teee April 02, 2011 at 01:08 AM
I think a 3 year salary freeze would be much better, Long island teachers overpaid and under worked for the part time work they do.Between over paid Nassau Police who only work 3 days a week, the over the top fire houses (Volleys 25% tax breaks, and pensions, plus free college) and teachers salaries , taxes have sky rocketed out of control.
PitBull April 02, 2011 at 02:14 AM
Before we cheer about what the teachers have done did they give up there step increases? Jerry when are you going answer my questions about the fields.
Frank April 02, 2011 at 02:25 AM
What happened to you Tee did You fail in school blame teachers, get arrested blame police, and a volunteer fireman stole your girlfriend so you hate them too...Why are you worried about taxes your only 10 years old or at least thats how it looks by reading your posts..You bash Volunteer Fireman all the time more than anything. There is something more here than just you worried about taxes
REALLY-FED-UP-Realist-2 April 02, 2011 at 11:20 AM
Mr. Pinto - I thought we agreed to disagree. Fields are a dead issue. On my property when I change over a six foot by six foot area to artifical turf - I still have the REST of the GRASS property to maintain - I am not SAVING anything since I have the REST of the GRASS property to maintain. Matter of fact I have a NEW incremental to maintain the TURF - I have to fluff and inspect etc.... LOL On March 29th at 2:49 pm my better half asked you "Mr. Pinto has not really addressed his connection to the purchase of artificial turf. " and you did not say. And still quiet on the special interest group on turf? I see by your posting history their is a connection. This has been a degree of interesting posts - but we really have lives to continue to work on - more important responsibilities to perform. Again, thank the teachers and administration for the job they do - I am glad 15 years ago I settled in the Bellmore-Merrick School District. I have lived my life all over NYS. There is no finer district in this great state. Mr Pinto as a Calhoun Grad - you should know this? eh? And if you disagree - that is ok. Vote or run for office - I look foward to seeing your names in the local paper running for the public positions on the Board of Education.
Scott Clarke April 02, 2011 at 12:32 PM
Frank without the last name...why don't you allow people to express their opinion, even if it differs from yours? You bash Teee's comments and make it personal. FYI, your comments make you sound extremely immature and ignorant. This isn't a schoolyard; grow up.
Sam Klib April 02, 2011 at 02:17 PM
The 3 biggest Tax problems Nassau County Has: 1St) teacher’s salaries, principle and superintendent have gotten out of control; we need a total 3 year salary freeze in schools. 2nd) The Nassau and Suffolk Police Departments salaries are way off base and they get paid way too much, plus they negotiated a 3 day work week and make $130,000 to $150,000 a year as a Police officer that’s not including the benefits and retirement we pay. 3rd) The Fire Department Volunteers, these over the top fire houses, members are volleys but they get Retirement pensions, Free College, and a 25% reduction in property tax. Other tax payers make up the $25% different they do not pay. Enough is enough on Long Island. Merge fire houses and stop the spending of unneeded fire equipment that never gets used and the building of these over the top fire districts. Most towns have 4 or 5 fire houses in a 5 mile radius, merge them.
PitBull April 02, 2011 at 09:06 PM
Jer C You and your wife are real mouth pieces for the school district. either you are connected to the schools or you have family working for them. Read the post about my connection to field turf. You and your wife are really out of touch with the student Athletes of Bellmore/Merrick. We will get Turf one day, and you will pay for in a bond, because the school board has there head in the clouds. As for me I served on the North Merrick school board for 12 years and three on the High School. You are what I call, the what's in it for me group. I will help but I need a favor for my kids, I see hundreds of people like you come and go. We will never agree,I am here for the kids.
Morton Downey Jr April 02, 2011 at 09:18 PM
It's John Pinto's world and welcome to it
Teee April 03, 2011 at 02:23 PM
. The teachers, principle and superintendent salaries are killing us. We have Toni Cincotti she was fired as principle at Saw Mill Road kept her salary and now is a $190,000 secretary in Martin Ave Bellmore schools. Bad performance they still get rewarded. We need a 3 year salary freeze to catch up. Teachers right now are overpaid and considered having a part time job if you divide up the numbers for 12 months
Charlie Allnut April 03, 2011 at 03:28 PM
Many Long Islanders have become convinced that only if they pay teachers $80K to $115K will they get good schools. This simply flies in the face of the facts from around the nation. While Forbes reports that Nassau County residents pay average property taxes over 600% above the national average, only 3 Long Island High Schools were rated in the top 100 by a U. S. News and World Report study; only 2 in Nassau County. U. S. News and World Report looked at more than 21,000 public high schools in 48 states and the District of Columbia. Only 3 Long Island High Schools were in the 100 schools that performed the best in their three-step America’s Best High Schools ranking analysis, and the highest was only ranked 48th. These were Jericho High School ranked 48th , Great Neck South High School ranked 61st and Cold Spring Harbor Junior/Senior High School (Suffolk County) ranked 85th. If after paying the highest property taxes in the nation, your High School can’t even make it into the top 100, what does that say about the prevailing teacher union argument that these disproportionate teacher salaries are “for the children.”
Hollingsworth April 03, 2011 at 03:30 PM
Is Toni Cincotti related to Thomas Cincotti who was one of the nine fat cats who is vice-presient of the Wantagh Republican Club and just retired from the Animal Shelter, making over $100,000?
Teee April 03, 2011 at 04:58 PM
Thomas Cincotti is politically connected with TOH and Kate M, Toni Cincotti is his wife. I guess she got fire as principle of Saw Mill Road school is Bellmore years ago in a hush hush scandal and demoted but she kept her salary as principle, she now make a few $ less then Mr. Arnold Goldstein the superintendent of schools and Toni is his sectary, her salary is about $190,000 that’s last year maybe over $200K by now. How about a Long Island wide freeze for all Superintendents salaries for 5 years and a give back by them? Time for a teacher salary freeze for 3 years min!
PitBull April 05, 2011 at 09:44 PM
Morton Read the posts, its about the kids
mary April 10, 2011 at 05:15 PM
OMG that is outrageous You cannot make his stuff up
Scott Clarke April 10, 2011 at 09:18 PM
outrageous?? I'd say more like business as usual. It's for the children, you know.
boscomom June 08, 2011 at 07:00 PM
This is the 1st time I am reading this garbage-and probably near the last time- but how dare Teee act as though you have knowledge of Toni Cincotta. You are wrong, she is not married to Thomas Cincotta and I doubt you have any of your other remarks correct regarding her!

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