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Cameras to Combat Vandalism Discussed at Budget Input Meeting

Helen Meittinis, who is the president of the Community Association of Stewart Avenue, brought an idea to the Board of Education.

Residents had the opportunity to bring any ideas, comments or concerns to the East Meadow Board of Education on March 1 at the , although just one topic was discussed — cameras to help stop vandalism.

Helen Meittinis, the president of the Community Association of Stewart Avenue, said that the people responsible for defacing buildings in the district should be held accountable for their actions.

"We have vandalism, and unfortunately, it’s our home grown who are doing these things to our school buildings and properties," Meittinis said. "In light of that, if there is any kind of room in the budget for cameras on the buildings that create the most problems, I think that would be money wisely spent."

According to Board of Education President Joseph Parisi, the board, together with DeAngelo’s office, is working to keep all of the programs, services and staff intact in East Meadow.

According to Newsday, East Meadow is slated to received $833,873 in state aid for the 2012-13 school year – a 2.53 percent increase from a year ago.

"In these times, things are very tight, so the board is under pressure to keep within our two percent budget cap, and to do that is not easy," Superintendent Louis DeAngelo said. "The purpose of this meeting is to give our community members a chance to give their thoughts on things we should consider."

How do you think the district should approach this year's budget? Tell us in the comments.

paul March 06, 2012 at 10:08 PM
Security cameras are an excellent idea. It would pay for itself over time. I hope their is some funding for it. Were police reports filed for the vandalism? Reports assist the police as to where the problem areas are. OOPS, we lost a police presence thanks to some legislators that voted on a plan without all the details... Silly me!!!!
Rebecca March 08, 2012 at 04:43 AM
Hmm. Don't get me wrong; vandalism is an important issue. But I'd have hoped that at a Board of Ed meeting, they would have discussed how the school district takes 70% of my property taxes. So here's my approach to their budget: * Get rid of all of the assistant superintendents, and don't pay them six figures for eight months' work * Don't consider after-school overtime, or unused sick days, in pension calculations. * Work with (and maybe, gasp! CONSOLIDATE) adjacent districts when it comes to contracting for insurance, busing, textbooks, supplies, etc. There are a LOT of ways to save money without hurting the quality of kids' education. Anyone else have other ideas??
Jon L. March 08, 2012 at 11:11 PM
Rebecca, I don't know what you mean by talking about working with other school districts. As many people on here know I'm the last person to give credit to the Superintendent or the trustees of the Board of Education. But they have done a nice job working with the Nassau BOCES to offset some savings and not working with them on projects that they can keep in the district. I remember Bob Gorman pointing out something like 40K in savings in the 2011-12 budget by not working with BOCES. As far as consolidation goes, I don't think that it is right for East Meadow. Maybe some of the other surrounding smaller districts like Island Trees with Bethpage but not East Meadow. I also agree that it is time to dump the Assistant Superintendent of this and of that but that is for another post.
Rebecca March 09, 2012 at 12:41 AM
Respectfully, the statement that "it's a good idea...for other people" is the kind of NIMBY attitude that doesn't let progress happen. Why wouldn't it help us, while it could help a smaller district? Consider this: If East Meadow worked with Bellmore and Merrick to bargain for insurance rates, school buses, and supplies, how could a larger group not have more bargaining power than three smaller ones? And who knows, maybe we could even close one or two schools if overall enrollment is down, like it is in East Meadow. Because one effect of the Brain Drain (where 20-35 year olds are leaving Long Island in droves!) is that they aren't here to have kids here, hence, declining enrollment in public schools. Our schools were built for the baby boom generation, and we just are not that populous at that age level anymore.
Jon L. March 09, 2012 at 03:25 AM
Rececca, If you are going to quote me, please do so correctly. I said, "I don't think that it is right for East Meadow" which has nothing to do with the merit of the idea. I don't think it would be right for East Meadow as we are already have a Conference 1 (Class A in the rest of the state) and a Conference 4 (Class D) High School serving just north of 7400 students. Compared to Plainedge with 3200 students and Bethpage with just over 3000 and operating just as many schools as the East Meadow District does. Where do you get your enrollment figures from? East Meadow has actually increased in the past 3 years. Now for the capital and liability expenses you talk about. Insurance is not as easy as you think for a school district. There are very few carriers for liability and child saftey insurance and many Districts do something called selected self insuring. While I agree with you that there might be room for School Bus contracts there is not that much revenue to be saved as each district wants different services in bussing. Many supplies are purchased under NYS OGS Procurement Services Contracts (smaller items like copy paper, pencils, pens etal.) Many large supply expenses are made as a one off and require separate contracts and approvals of expenditures by the Trustees or the Superintendent. Trust me I'm the last person to come out for the Trustees or the Superintendent but on this one they are doing the most they can to deliver value on your tax dollar.
Jon L. March 09, 2012 at 03:39 AM
The last thing that we need here on Long Island is a Countywide School System, the taxes are cheaper (like Florida) but the product they produce (student) is less than stellar. Consolidation of some smaller districts is a better place to start and there is incentive from New York State to do such. (http://www.dos.ny.gov/funding/rfa-11-creg/index.html) Consolidation is only part of the answer in select places. The greater problem is the layers of administration coupled with unfunded mandates passed on by Commissioner King and the Ivory Tower Dwelling Privately Educated Board of Regents as well as Secretary Duncan who only wants to help charter schools and not help the ones that are already functioning (sorry, end bad government rant) Point is this, I did not say you did not have a good idea and that it was not for "us", I was saying that there are better places to start.

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