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Monday, March 28, 2011

How to fix the Nassau Education Budget mess in 52 easy steps

I know that this is a fairly local issue but since my wife is a Teacher in one of these districts I feel compelled to attack one more sacred cow.

First and foremost why in God's name do we need 52 separate school districts in 1 county? That means that there are 52 Superintendents, at least 156 assistant Superintendents for a total payroll over $40M and maybe a lot more but when I tried to research this article only the top 11 Superintendent's salaries are listed and none of their assistants. That is just criminal. Hell where I grew up in Ohio we only had 8 districts in the county. So here is my proposal:
  • Consolidate the 52 separate districts into 6 regional districts plus the 2 cities of Glen Cove and Long Beach.
  • This consolidation will not affect students and teachers since the school enrollment will not change.
  • The 6 regional districts and 2 City districts will consist of a Superintendent and a maximum of 6 assistants. All positions will be salary capped and will be overseen by the Nassau County BOCES Superintendent and the regional school boards. (Note: Technically the BOCES Super is in charge now and of course that explains why he is the lowest paid superintendent in Nassau county)
  • Establish the regional districts roughly around the existing Nassau county Police Precincts.
  • Make each regional district re-negotiate with NYSUT (the NEA in NY) for teacher's base compensation and benefits only.
  • Institute merit pay increases to replace the existing "Step" increases. If you are a good teacher you will be rewarded accordingly. This also removes the "disincentive" for older teachers that have come off step and are just marking time until retirement. Regardless, cap teacher pay increases at 6% combined (Merit plus Union base).
  • Merit increases are to be based on teacher performance not on student performance on tests. Test performance can be included but allowances must be made for Special Education and ESL teachers. I mean what's fair is fair.
  • End Tenure at all levels. Have a voter referendum which would supersede the tenure and job guarantees created by labor contractual agreements if it passes.
  • Keep the existing school board structure to accommodate local schools with a local board appointed representative to sit on the regional district board.
  • The regional representative must be an elected local board member.
  • The regional board will be responsible for regional district administrative oversight. This includes hiring and firing of the Superintendents and their assistants.
Let's see if common sense can prevail or are we going to continue to waste millions of dollars and our children end up getting crap educations.

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