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Commack $171M School Budget Passes By Wide Margin

Despite bitter budget season, 2.6 percent tax levy approved.

Commack voters passed its $171 million budget for the 2012-13 school year on Tuesday by a vote of 2,977 to 1,723 despite a heated budget season leading up to the vote.

By passing the budget, the average homeowner within the Commack School District will pay a tax levy of 2.6 percent, which Commack school officials estimated as the average district taxpayer paying $239 to $258 more per year. 

Also decided in the election, incumbent trustee Deborah Guber beat challenger Daniel Fusco for a three-year term on the Board of Education starting July 1, 2012 by a vote of 2,453 to 2,012.

Under the adopted $171 million budget, Commack School District will lay off approximately 37 teachers, one administrator, two secretaries, six custodians and three teaching assistants. These numbers may change as the district is still in negotiations with several of its bargaining units.  

The budget will also cut 14 co-curricular clubs at Commack High School and five after-school clubs at Commack Middle School. The number of hours for Intramural sports will be reduced at the intermediate schools. 

The district will move forward with a $18 million Energy Performance Project that will bring a range of improved energy efficiency units to the school district from lighting to new roofs and energy management systems under Johnson Controls. The district will also enter a Computer Enhancement Project with BOCES to offer additional technology and more computers for students. 

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Commack Citizen May 17, 2012 at 01:03 AM
Mr. Fusco has been living in this district for 40 years. Why didn't nepotism get HIM in? BTW...for those of us who voted at CMS, he was NO WHERE to be found.
Louis Gucci May 17, 2012 at 01:13 AM
Mr. Fusco does not appear to be close friends with the members of the current board. That is why Nepotism did not get HIM in. Also, he could not be in more than one place at a time. He chose the High School.
Trisha May 17, 2012 at 01:18 AM
Really michael, you don't see any problems in our district? Do you know how many of our kids have turned to suicide? Do you know the pressure they are under? More & more teachers & programs are cut. I don't want to argue with you, we should use this site to make things better, together.
Commack Citizen May 17, 2012 at 01:18 AM
Since we live in a democracy and 4,465 of our neighbors voted, I'm not sure how being "close friends" with 5 people would help one get elected. In addition, we have numerous friends who saw Mrs. Guber at BOTH CMS and CHS.
Louis Gucci May 17, 2012 at 01:21 AM
Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion.
Trisha May 17, 2012 at 01:23 AM
True, but it's not enough. 1 suicide in a lifetime is too much. Several in one town is heart wrenching.. Times are changing, & sadly not all for the best. The kids need their clubs & sports. Commack needs to put kids 1st, not dr.james & his staff.
Sara May 17, 2012 at 01:53 AM
"staff drives by to check lock on gate and we hear about it at BOE meeting" must have been an erroneous comment by disgruntled resident.... it gets repeated here as if it is the truth. The grounds crew performs many tasks during working hours with no extra pay. The district has limited overtime for the custodial staff to save money. I thought that was a well know fact. The farm.... was a "gift" to the district which came with a life long maintenance cost. The district had an offer several years back which was put on hold because a group of people did not want it sold. They had no real plans to pay for the cost of maintaining it. The offer fell through while these people did their homework after the due date so to speak. Now Commack is left with the farm which is costly.
Sara May 17, 2012 at 01:56 AM
Yeah COmmack... I for one am happy to live in this beautiful community. Yes paying taxes is painful. We are a 2 income family and do work the extra hours to pay for the benefits we all enjoy.
Sara May 17, 2012 at 01:58 AM
The offer was from a developer who woud have preserved the main part of the farm.
Retired May 17, 2012 at 10:43 AM
Well Sara..got news for you...better start looking for a third income source..b/c that's what you'll need to stay living here when the tax increases that are surely coming.... they sure enough aren't going to go down..
susan r May 17, 2012 at 12:30 PM
Sara we are all working hard and paying taxes, thats not the point. The point is that we want our taxes to be applied to the right cause. Here is my point, we work hard and pay taxes to the government, when I find out that my hard earned money goes to some greedy bank in the form of tarp funds to bail them out because they were greedy and irresponsible that bothers me greatly, spending our tax dollars in that irresponsible way will effect us long term as we all know SS benefits are at a great risk. When I hear that my hard earned tax dollars were spent on protecting our young men in the military, I then will work harder to support them. The same concept applies to our bueatiful community. When my hard earned tax dollars are spent Irresponsibly and go to support pay increases year after year and ridiculous allowances (I.E car expenses) especially during the worst economy this country has ever seen that bothers me greatly, how ever when my tax dollar are applied to an after school program for the kids I again will work harder to support that. If the YES people do not understand that simple concept of responsible spending then they are the reason why this country and suffolk county is in this economic situation they are in.
susan r May 17, 2012 at 12:33 PM
By the way the comments above is what all board members and adminstrators should be all about
John Gruber May 17, 2012 at 01:05 PM
than why is Commack running a 5.2 million dollar deficit?
John Gruber May 17, 2012 at 01:07 PM
it's one more example of the districts financial and overall stupidity
Paul May 17, 2012 at 02:28 PM
Thank you Commack for voting to keep the same board. The ABC news story of Commack's achievements by this board says it all http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?section=news/education&id=7778676
Paul May 17, 2012 at 02:31 PM
Watch the video while your there!!
Rob May 17, 2012 at 02:42 PM
Michael--How does Dan's loss prove Trisha wrong? Smokescreen? What are you talking about. Coward? That is pretty funny. Even if you do not agree with someone, you should respect if they put their time and effort for something that they believe in. I understand that not everyone agrees with what Dan had to say (the results speak for themselves.) Dan did not have the benefit of the PTA calling parents to tell them not to vote for his opponent. Nor did he have the benefit of having people being paid by the district campaign for him. However, this name calling has to stop already! I believe both people should be commended and thanked for trying to do what is best for the kids and the community. We live in the USA. In many parts of the world, one would not have this opportunity afforded to them. Let's be grateful and try to work together. Remember what is really important here!!! I find it hard to believe that anyone thinks there can not be improvements made in the district. Lets channel this negative energy to something positive. All parties need to work together (i.e. parents, students, residents,unions, admin.) to help make Commack schools the best it can be in a fiscally responsible manner.
Rob May 17, 2012 at 02:50 PM
ouch!
Friend of the Farm May 17, 2012 at 02:57 PM
Who would not be disgruntled for what this district has done with a property worth several million dollars "gifted" to them. This property is on THE NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORICAL PLACES. If someone gifts a brand new car to you you're going to complain that you have to pay to change the oil, buy new tires and make repairs periodically? What a Joke! Anyone thinking of making a donation to this school district should think about it twice and maybe donate to an organization that will appreciate it. Will this district have funds to maintain the proposed new 9/11 memorial or the newly donated sign piers? What are the "real plans to pay for the cost of maintaining" these new donations?
ron guidice May 17, 2012 at 02:59 PM
YES people you all should be ashamed of yourselves, your all selfish and un-educated people. Watch this diguisting video http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?section=news/education&id=7778676
John Gruber May 17, 2012 at 03:17 PM
the same board has run commack millions in debt and cut classes and jobs? yea, great job. THE MAJORITY OF THE CREDIT GOES TO THE KIDS
John Gruber May 17, 2012 at 03:21 PM
I guarantee if more people of the 3,000 that voted yes saw these blogs and the information the vote would've been much different
ron guidice May 17, 2012 at 05:05 PM
Sad Sad times in Commack ny
MJS May 17, 2012 at 05:09 PM
Those who voted yes can crow about your victory now....but they will all be chewing leather soon... It's very sad that they are all so blind to what's going on.. not just here but everywhere..the problem w/fiscal irresponsibility is systemic... So all of the shortsightedness is gonna come back around to bite them all in the butt... it's just a matter of time... New York State United Teachers Union (NYSUT) has a budget hole of more than $8.5 million. You know why? B/c they are losing members due to layoffs (which is due to school district's having to make budget cut backs b/c salaries have gotten too high)....so when the NYSUT lose members they lose union dues too.. http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/dailypolitics/2012/05/nysut-in-the-red. Isn't it better to keep salaries stable and keep teachers employed..so they can keep paying dues? At some point It all becomes counter-productive...
ron guidice May 17, 2012 at 05:14 PM
The only thing we can do now is build momentum for next year and keep a careful eye on those bumbleheads that consistently are leading us down this disasterous path year after year
Re May 18, 2012 at 01:43 AM
That group of people voted the secret sale down. That group of people -2500 of them signed their names to a petition to preserve the farm as a farm. If James did not add almost $100000 in salary benefits a few repairs could have been done. That farm could be part of the curriculum teaching agriculture and hosting many community meetings. . The district never went for grants although Boces got $500000 in NY state grants for renovation of the barns .By the way a school board member in the 1960s talked Marion Carll into giving it to the school district. IT was not meant to be sold for houses and he school district could have Given the farm to the county or the town of Huntington. They never did. The heirs will probably get it back. anyway.
GM May 18, 2012 at 02:11 AM
RealConcerns ( clipped from Newsday ) While your calling the board out for lacking the backbone to stand up to the teacher's union (whom I agree believe in last in first out) take a look at all of the administrative positions earning six figure salaries in this district. While you're at it, observe how many duplicative positions exist. One disturbing find was a very well paid position: "Director of Public Relations". What possible reason can be given to have this position in a public school system. Doesn't the board speak for the district? Given the current state of the economy and the reduction of state funding we should be eliminating positions such as this that we don't need (or ever needed). While you're mulling this over, think about why this position didn't make it to the chopping block while 36 actual teaching positions did. Not only does this board not perform well in collective bargaining, it casts a blind eye to the many non-essential administrative positions that could and should be cut to achieve budget savings.
Paul May 18, 2012 at 02:19 AM
When your school district gets so much bad press in the local newspapers, on local television news and in the national news for the highest salaries and pensions in the country, you bet your bottom dollar you need a public relations person to smooth things over in th community.
Friend of the Farm May 18, 2012 at 02:36 AM
Not to mention the amount of repairs or improvements that could have been made using the money the district spent paying attorneys for the secret sale ,RFP's and other wasteful nonsense.
Arthur Reilly Jr June 02, 2012 at 06:34 PM
It is unclear why one would resort to name calling and accusation without giving one example. Please feel free to list here what "Lies Mr. Fusco told". This type character assassination usually indicates an agenda by those casting stones. Mr. Fusco has brought up many good points and disclosed many budget items and practices unknown to most Commack tax payers. Name calling is beneath civilized public discourse. Has anyone dared address the pension (Which is the highest in the State system) of retired Superintendants? Let us argue facts and resist the childishness and demonization of name calling. You can do better.

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