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?




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.

The event was a success and helped raise funds to be distributed to 41 health- and human-service agencies in the tri-county area.

The United Way would like to send a heartfelt thank you to the participating patrons and restaurants: Arnie’s Restaurant ,Guma’s Restaurant, Baxter Mountain Tavern, Mainely Lobster & Seafood, Big Mountain Deli & Creperil, Moose Lodge 2390, Butcher Block, My Cup of Tea, Charlie’s Inn, Pizza Palace, Cobble Hill Inn, Rustique, Deer’s Head Restaurant, Sandy Deli Inc., Donavan’s, Simply Gourmet, Duke’s Diner, Smooth Moves, Ground Round, Starbucks, the Pepper and Uno Bar and Grill.

We will also like to thank the following for donating prizes for the free raffle: New York Giants, New York Jets, New York Buffalo Bills, Anthony’s Restaurant & Bistro, Mickey’s Restaurant, ORDA, NinePlatt (Ground Round/Best Western Inn at Smithfield).

The support from participating restaurants will touch all walks of life from southern Essex County to northern Clinton County to western Franklin County and all points in between.

Again thank you for your generosity.


Dine United chairperson

United Way of the Adirondack Region Inc.