Friday, May 6, 2011

Your Mom is NOT Your Dads Mom

Happy Friday to all. This weekend is Mother's Day and a time to celebrate that someone special who helped to make it all happen for you. I am definitely fortunate to have my mom a few streets away and since she reads this,  "Happy Mother's Day!". For any students reading this, remember that your mom is not your dad's mom so it is up to you and not your dad to take care of business this weekend. No excuses now!

A couple of months ago I directed our staff to lower our flags to half-staff at the direction of the Governor due to the death of yet another soldier from New York State. Governor Patterson started this observance when he took over office and I had wondered just how many times we have flown the flags at half staff due to fallen soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. I got the paperwork back from the state yesterday and the answer is that from the time Governor Paterson took office on March 17, 2008 to present (Governor Cuomo has continued this practice) the flags have flown at half staff 108 times. 108 too many. Unfortunately this number will increase and we are going to keep track and provide updates. I think it is always important to recognize why a flag is at half staff and exactly what that represents. Only the President and Governor can direct a school to fly a flag at half-staff.

We had two budget hearings this week and as you might imagine the meetings were filled with emotions, questions, comments, and concerns. We had people in attendance who wanted more things cut, fewer things cut, and everything in-between. No one in the audience can ever remember times worse than these. So you can imagine what fear of the unknown, home financial pressure, and desire to provide children with all of the opportunities they have had sounds like. I have lost three pounds since Monday, so what I have decided to do is create the "Budget Development and Presentation Diet Plan". All proceeds from the sale of this plan will be used to close the gap in the budget. Without giving away all of the secrets in the plan some of the major components include less sleep, upset stomach, lack of time to eat, and that constant sense that someone may push you down the stairs. We are going to start a revolutionary business!

All kidding aside, one thing that I have heard at meetings that needs to be clarified is the feeling that if the budget is voted down that the Board will increase the budget and add pieces back in and bring it back to the voters again. Education Law prohibits this. If the budget does not pass on May 17 the Board can adopt the failed budget (and have to charge ALL groups to use the facilities), place the same budget up for a second vote, or lower the budget and put it up for vote again. If you hear people discussing voting the budget down to have the Board increase the budget please clarify the options that the Board has. Thank you.

We received word yesterday that there are going to be some significant changes to transportation law. We will no longer be required to "save a seat" for each child along a bus route even if they never ride the bus. Because of this change we will be working to adjust our routes accordingly to make our buses filled to capacity as much as possible, and we will communicate these changes to parents as soon as we are able.

Have a great weekend and you can expect to hear from me again in a post next week.