Friday, 16 April 2010 00:00
For the first time in years, I attended the April 8, BOE meeting to determine for myself if the criticism I was reading and hearing from my neighbors about the BOE’s cavalier attitude towards taxpaying residents was true. It couldn’t be that bad, or so I thought.
BOE president, Cindy Cardinal made the following opening comments: 1) Port Washington teachers agreed to take no salary increases this year (they were working without a contract for several months), 2) Roslyn teachers agreed to take no salary increases this year, 3) Manhasset teachers are under no legal obligation to renegotiate their contractual salary increases, and, oh by the way, 4) the BOE extended the Superintendent’s $250,000 per year contract another year. The superintendent’s existing three years contract was only one year old. He now has an additional three years on his renegotiated contract.
In a Wall Street Journal front-page article on April 1, titled “Cash-Poor Cities Take On Unions,” the mayor of Los Angeles wants to re-open contract talks with 45,000 union members. His deputy chief of staff puts it bluntly “Unions have priced themselves out of a job.” In a Manhasset Press Page 2 article on April 8, Senator Craig Johnson stated, “at this time of economic crisis, teachers at Port Washington and Roslyn …made a responsible and laudable decision to forgo raises this coming year.” Where are the Manhasset BOE, the Manhasset superintendent, and the Manhasset teachers during this economic crisis? It appears as if the status quo reigns.
During the question session, I repeated Cindy’s four comments and asked if she saw any contradiction between teachers in neighboring towns sharing the pain with the taxpaying residents while Manhasset teachers do nothing but collect bigger paychecks. To add insult to injury, the BOE quietly extended the Superintendent’s contract. Cindy saw nothing wrong with these decisions. I rolled my eyes in disbelief at Cindy’s illogical answer. She made a public comment about my facial expression. BOE member Patricia Aitken commented that it is commonplace to extend Superintendents’ contracts midterm to reward them for good behavior. If I was allowed to ask a follow-up question, I would have asked, “What color is the sky in your world?”
In the midst of the worst economic crisis in our lives, taxpaying residents have only one remaining recourse against the BOE’s weak and condescending attitude. Vote on Tuesday, May 18.