Gazette Ceases Publication: Donates Archives to LHS


In 2010, the Larchmont Gazette ceased publication. In 2011 the publishers donated all contents to the Larchmont Historical Society, which will continue to make the Gazette archives available online.



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School Board Dissects Details of Proposed Budget

In their  first all-day lreview of SuperintendentPaul Fried’s recommended budget for 2010-2011, members of the Mamaroneck School Board expressed concern over particular cuts, but no one suggested adding money back into the budget. This reticence to add spending comes even though Dr. Fried is proposing the lowest increase in district history:  a 1.47% budget hike, which results in a 2.81% tax increase.

A common theme at the March 20 session was the board’s desire to do more with less.

Unlike previous budget sessions which attracted crowds, only a handful of observers were at the Saturday hearing.

The board can make changes until April 20, when it must adopt the final budget to be presented to the community for vote on May 18.

Occupational Education Program:  Does It Work?

As in recent past years, board members requested more information about the BOCES occupational education program, which is budgeted at $268K for 2010-2011.  This program provides 14 to 15 students with a half-day of regular high school and a half-day of occupational education.

BOCES provides certified teachers for classes in areas such as culinary arts, automotive repair and carpentry.  Students receive both training and credit.

Noting the expensive nature of the program, board members wondered if the program could be done cheaper in house and questioned what results the program has yielded.

“These students need a great deal of structure,” explained Mamaroneck High School Principal Mark Orfinger.  Internships are not enough.  “We’ve tried it,” he said.

It would be more expensive to provide the programs in-house, said administrators..

Dr. Fried noted that in the past, the program was not always carefully monitored.  Now student attendance is watched closely, he said.   Board members requested data supporting the success of the program.

A member of the audience made a plea that $51K be restored to the budget to preserve the Constitution Works and Lincoln Center programs, noting that cutting three students from the BOCES occupational education program “would get it all back.”   Board member Janet Buchbinder rejected the suggestion, describing the BOCES program as a “basic need rather than enrichment.”

Some Funding for Elementary Trips?

The board questioned whether some of the Lincoln Center program could be preserved at some minimal expense, however, and wondered whether Constitution Works could be done more cheaply.

Currently, fifth grade students are bused into New York City for Constitution Works, where they participate in a simulated appellate court argument by serving as attorneys and judges.   The experience is the culmination of weeks of work learning and briefing constitutional law, and many parents say their students characterize it as the highlight of elementary school.

Board members suggested that perhaps the program could be implemented at a reduced cost by partnering with local town courts or law students rather than the more expensive program currently in use.

Board member Robin Nichinsky said she didn’t want the budget to increase, but thought these programs might be funded, at least in part, from other line items that had not yet been reduced.

Leadership Costs Questioned

Board members questioned the $15K for MHS student leadership training.  This figure does not include stipends for the faculty support for the Caprice Advisors who work with freshmen, or the Peer Leaders who work with Hommocks Middle School students, explained Assistant Superintendent Meryl Rubinstein.  Instead, it includes expenses like outside training costs and speakers for Senior Seminar Day.

Several board members requested that this area be examined more carefully.

Summer School Not Required

The board also requested data on the students who enroll in summer school.  This program is funded through the Continuing Education program.

Although not required, administrators feel that having a district summer school program is important to keep at-risk students from falling behind and dropping out.

The district cannot charge students for “recovery” classes where students are repeating courses, but can charge for classes students take for advancement.

Board Concerned About Cut of Instructional Coach

School board president Linnet Tse expressed “grave concerns” about the elimination of the instructional coach for technology.  Assistant Superintendent Annie Ward agreed: “it’s a significant and painful cut that we’ll feel the affects of.”

Ms. Ward noted that the technology coach had been instrumental in facilitating the increased posting of curriculum material on the district website for sharing among teachers.

Next Steps

Dr. Fried summed up by noting that he will follow up on questions raised by the board.

Ms. Tse said the board will continue its work at the April 6 board meeting and thereafter, until it adopts a final budget on April 20.  She invited the community to review the budget materials found on the district website, including the budget book itself, and invited comments and questions to be raised by contacting the school board at board@mamkschools.org.

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25 comments to School Board Dissects Budget; No Move To Add Spending

  • Russel

    One of the biggest barriers to technology implementation in education is the cost involved. But there are emerging
    technologies which will probably address that once they become mainstream… You can find out more about it in the upcoming webinar “Transforming Education through Disruptive Technologies” @ https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/740238105

  • Read between the lines

    While reading this article, there are clearly issues that were brought up that could reduce the budget further. It is “glaringly obvious” that there is more room for cuts. When my child went to a NYC Public School, parents paid for “enrichment classes” after school. If children couldn’t afford the enrichment, we had a special fund set up through the PTA to supplement that child. The PTA also did some “serious fund raising” for our school to supplement the curriculum.

    1. Reduce the Boces Program. We also provide bus service for this program, as well as paying hefty fees to BOCES. We used to teach “Auto Shop” at MHS with Dr. Myron Tannenbaum (a wonderful teacher who cares). They eliminated this class. Bring it back. Why not add classes teaching “real world skills” for “all” students in MHS…like EMT Classes, Nursing, paralegal, QuickBooks software, etc. We should be preparing all students for the workforce, not only for college.

    2. Eliminate “Constitution Works and Lincoln Center Programs” and other programs that we have to bus our children out of district for. Nice day trip, but I don’t want to pay for it with increased taxes.

    3. Eliminate the $15K for MHS student leadership training. This figure does not include stipends for the faculty support for the Caprice Advisors who work with freshmen, or the Peer Leaders who work with Hommocks Middle School students. Get local volunteers to mentor students. I am sure there would be many.

    4. Eliminate expenses like outside training costs and speakers for Senior Seminar Day.

    5. Require that qualified teachers be “proficient in technology education” as part of their hire.

  • fine print

    I have been through the budget doc. In particular looking at aggregate staff numbers. Depressing. They have hardly moved the needle. A couple of premises-related eliminations (janitors) offset by one hire. Why ? Still dozens of clerical. No change in the army of paramedical staff (nurses, psychologists) and administrators. No significant changes in the buildings staff (11 custodians for MHS ? what do they do all day ?) The teachers’s aides have borne the brunt of this year’s cut. Hopefully next year, the admin, paramedics and other busybodies, starting with the Pdt of the TU, will go in turn.

  • Anon E Mous

    Its so simple a child could understand it, VOTE NO!

    Good watching: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aoaT8A6iEyLw ‘Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers union, Gary Smuts, superintendent of the ABC Unified School District in California, and Kate McLaughlin, an elementary school teacher in Lowell, Massachusetts, square off against former U.S. Education Secretary Rod Paige, Terry Moe, a professor at Stanford University, and Larry Sand, a teacher in Los Angeles, in a debate on whether teachers’ unions should be blamed for failing schools in the U.S. ABC News correspondent John Donvan moderates the debate sponsored by Intelligence Squared. The debate took place March 16 in New York.’ – Source: Bloomberg

  • Bob Jones

    It’s amazing. No one seems to want to make the tough decisions. The board wants to hang on to everything. I thought times were tough. Cut the tech coach and don’t even blink about it. They say the tech coach is intrumental in training new teachers–i thought we were cutting positions?

  • Jim Jones

    Bob – Are you suggesting a “Kool Aide” solution to these budgetary issues here??!!

  • larchmontlifer

    Technology is the way of the future. Do not cut the Tech Coach. Cut the other instructional coaches. Nobody thinks they are worth their top dollar.

    • Observer

      You seem to be informed. Can you tell us what the “Tech Coach” actually does, whom does he/she instruct, and what kind of instruction do they give. Why do you value this position? Would love to understand more. Thanks.

    • Anon E Mous

      Spare me!

      Expenses exceed income. Fact.
      That doesn’t work. Fact.

      The small cut won’t cut it, but for each someone cries out, don’t cut that.

      Technology is not only the future it is the present and the past. Ask a student to tweet or txt you the answer on their way to school. Our education staff and leadership must be expected to have learned this, as much as chalk on a chalkboard, not to be coached.

      The problems of our school system are structural and not ours alone. They won’t go away next year, or the year after and they can be resolved only when we confront the necessary major changes and major cuts in spending. We must measure our schools and pay for performance, not simply grade their students.

      Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us. – Bill Watterson

      • Help Desk

        Perhaps our staff should be given “technology competency tests.” You know, the kind of tests that our children go through to see if they are at “grade level.” Staff can go to summer or night school to bring their scores up if needed. Administrators should be required to test out as well.

        Teachers were given technology instruction when it was brought into our district around 1998/99. If they don’t know it by now, do what other industries would do… We don’t need a “Technology Coach.” At best they may need a 4 hour class for new software applications. There are always the “Help Desk,” instruction manuals, and training videos. I am sure that there are “student mentors” they could use.

  • wisdom

    Wisdom again from NJ, as reported by NYT http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/03/education/03njschools.html?ref=education . See how districts and employee unions react to the cuts in school aid. Nothing like this in our district, TU camping on their positions and DIstrict and uninterested Super playing for time.

  • Back bone

    Cut the Incoming Superintendent’s Salary by at least $75,000 or more. The Superintendent’s job in our district does not warrant $260,000 salary, plus benefits. Does the School Board have the back bone to get tough and do what is necessary? Watching carefully.

  • Academic Antennas

    There’s a sure fire way to get rid of a potential candidate or a nominee. Not that I don’t agree w/ the salary cut there but remember one thing, you get what you pay for in life.

    If you cut this salary, that drastically, you undoubtedly will get even lesser quality than you have today.

    And this is not sockpuppeteering – it’s the truth!!

    • Anon E Mous

      Your assignment: Back to school! Your equation omitted its proof.

      Does the Superintendent in our District do more or better than the current Chancellor of the school system in NYC?

      Have you measured the educational results achieved by the current Superintendent?

      Some argue that a current teacher in our District, denied tenure, is worth more than others with tenure and higher salaries. Perhaps you know the facts. Can you offer evidence of your basic premise?

      ‘Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.’ – Mohammed Ali

  • Academic Antennas

    I think you need to consider “inductive reasoning” or formal logic here for a moment. For example, your question as to whether or not The Superintendent of Mamaroneck Public Schools does “more” or “better” than the current Chancellor of the NYC School System cannot be formally deduced nor can the converse of this equation based on the limited statement I made.

    I said that “you get what you pay for in life” and that is a truism in the laws of economics. The less you pay, the lower the standards of quality received. Yet, the opposite does not hold true, nor did I state that it did. You can pay a lot for something and get very little. And you can pay very little for something and get what you pay for. But RARELY, can you pay a little and get a lot in this world. I can think of only one thing that really falls into the last category – and that is a life. You can pay very little or nothing for sex for example, but still get a lot….in that a beautiful child is created. This is the only example where I would say that holds true.

    But back to my original point; you get what you pay for in life….w/ a caveat here or there, most of the time.

    • Anon E Mous

      But alas the black swan isn’t white :-)

    • Observer

      Academic Antennas…I think you are “confused” and you are scattering off topic.

      Look at what we paid our Mamaroneck High School Principal and Superintendent, and evaluate what we got in return…we lost a wonderful teacher because Dr. Fried and Principal Orfinger denied her tenure. No more of the same ole stuff…We need revolutionary new leadership. Shame on us for allowing this to continue for so many years. Our children are up in arms and taking control of issues. Let us support them and show them that we can change with the times. In with the new and out with the old. Time for changes in this community.

      • Anon E Mous

        YES, YES, YES ‘Observer’ ! (April 7th, 2010 at 11:26 pm). LOGIC, LOGIC and THINKING ! ·

        I said yes, I said yes, I said yes,
        I prayed a thousand times yes.
        And the no that was hanging over faded.
        - Yoko Ono

        and …

        “Tenure needn’t be, ‘fish or cut bait’. A district and educator may enter a Juul agreement to extend the probationary period one year. The district waives its right to dismiss the teacher and the teacher waives his/her right to claim tenure by estoppel. The extra year offers a chance to improve performance. At the end of the fourth year, the district may grant or deny tenure just as it would after the third year. Juul agreements are creatures of case law, named after a Long Island court decision Juul v. Board of Educ. of Hempstead UFSD (76 A.D.2d 837 (2d Dep’t 1980), aff’d, 55 N.Y.2d 648 (1981)).”"
        - as quoted by J. Sacks

    • Anon E Mous

      :-) Eco-no, but Poli/Fi: When government’s involved, others may take what you pay for :-)

      • Observer

        I nominate Anon E. Mous for our new Superintendent… or if desired our new MHS Principal. The pay is great…much better than being our online “Mayor.” I bet you would even accept a $75,000 cut from the $260,000 annual salary.

        Take your time to consider the offer. :-)

        • Academic Antennaes

          Like I said, you get what you pay for….

          And I am not off topic – Observer (you and Eleanor always seem to pop up together. Is she attached at the ribs perhaps??) I simply responded to exactly what the request was from AnonEmous – perhaps you could not follow this???

          Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm………….

          • Observer

            Academic Antennaes I don’t see anyone named “Eleanor” as a commentator. This is another example of your “being off topic.”

            I also don’t agree with your logic, or previous comment. Stay on topic about the “cost of what we are spending in our budget,” not what your opinion is about “prostitution sex, its outcome, and your fantasy about someone named Eleanor.” You have been reading too much about Tiger Woods. :-)