Press-Republican

Opinion

February 28, 2013

Letters to the Editor: Feb. 28, 2013

Feeling shortchanged

TO THE EDITOR: Since 2007, Jake Short has managed Plattsburgh School District, a $40 million business that employs many and has a huge impact on our community, for which he receives salary/benefits of $200,000-plus with 2 percent annual raises.

His contract stipulates annual performance goals that should show transparency, accountability, efficiency and fiscal sustainability.

The superintendent handles all discussion, conflict and debate in “executive sessions,” which leaves the open sessions like watching paint dry.

Where is the annual and long-range plan to review efficiency and sustainability of programs/operations? All programs, especially new additions, should have clear objectives, results reviews and be cost-effective. Unproductive programs drain resources.

For years, ELA/Math achievement results have been unacceptable. Non-mandated pre-K was implemented to improve achievement but had little impact. It should be discontinued.

Using teachers for AIS tutoring has not been cost-effective. Using student tutors (Seton) would give them valuable experience and allow teachers to increase classroom time. This simple capitalization on workforce assets would raise achievement levels.

Enrollment is down 8 percent, yet staff/programs remain expansive, resulting in unaffordable low ratios. Music, language and a raft of other programs demand reorganization and technology options to improve efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

Reasonable contracts and/or concessions mitigating the cost of unsustainable benefits have not been negotiated. Switching from the unaffordable health-care Plan A to Plan B, which offers excellent care; ending step increases; and “buybacks” would save millions. Not even discussed.

These are just a few of the inefficiencies and achievement failures that have resulted in more state mandates, unnecessary taxation and fatigue. 

You be the judge: Are we being Short-changed? What is the board doing about this?

WALTER CHMURA

Plattsburgh

 

Restaurant fundraiser

TO THE EDITOR: The United Way of the Adirondack Region Inc. partnered with several restaurants from Clinton, Essex and Franklin Counties to hold the third Dine United event on Jan. 23.

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