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Port Chester Voters Oust Lopez, OK $81.3M School Budget

Budget easily passes. Corbia wins school board seat.

UPDATE: Port Chester School Board President Blanca Lopez has been ousted in today's election.

Port Chester school district voters today easily appoved the $81.3 million budget plan for 2012-2013, but they ousted school board President Blanca Lopez in a race that was decided by less than 100 votes.

In the three-person race for two school board seats, which included incumbent Jim Dreves was re-elected. Challenger Tom Corbia, a retired Port Chester teacher ended as the winner in the race against Lopez.

With 101 absentee ballots to be counted, Corbia was head of Lopez by 82 votes. With all the votes counted, Corbia won with 910 votes. Lopez finished with 814 votes.

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The budget cuts 13.5 reading support positions to close a gap that came with the district's decision not to exceed the state's new 2 percent cap for tax increase. The school board initially decided to get rid of full-day kindergarten, but agreed to keep the full-day program as part of the budget presented to the public.

The budget was easily approved, 1,030 to 534.

In the board races, Dreves finished with 1,040 votes.

RRC66 May 22, 2012 at 03:18 AM
You can count on Klitzius asking for an extension and I guess they can use the reading teachers money to pay for it. BTW....George D. Linda O'Connor, outgoing union head will have a job even if the cuts are made. She is tenured as a classroom teacher so she will be left standing all the way to the bank while hiding the truth from her union. Truth is the SD offered to take all teachers back if the union switched to the same health insurance. An insurance that over 70% of all teachers already have. Insurance for all teachers and an agreement to keep negotiaiting. A deal that would have saved money and brought back all teachers for one year. Her team denies it and would not even present it the union members. Someone is lying. Imagine the union can save all the jobs by switching to an insurnce they all currently have. They won't do it! So next time you go to blame the School Board think again. How does the union allow this. Many people know this is the truth. Why won't the SD just come out and admit they made the offer and let the union explain their lack of action. I wonder which part of the union will be hung out next year?
George Datino May 22, 2012 at 10:41 AM
RRC66, I am not sure what you are talking about with "So next time you go to blame the School Board think again.". I think I have been quite clear in my comments that the Union (with I am sure heavy pressure from the state union) is being unrealistic in their negotiations, at this point. Sure, at first, I understood their position, with the Triborough Amendment in place and all the state aid figures not in yet, to hold off and wait. But with everything in, that they haven't agreed to something close to what I believe the offer to be (1 inusrance and modest pay raises for the next three years) is perplexing and that they would rather have all these teachers let go selfish. My criticism of the school board has always been with the way their insistence on blaming this situation on the Tax Cap and not the underlying factors that are the real cause. The Tax Cap has bought these factors to light and honestly is a good thing. We need change, not year after year blind payments into an education system that is hemorrhaging and slowly bankrupting the taxpayers of our community and state. I found the blaming of the problems on the Tax Cap to be a calculated way to turn the general publics attention away from the real problems. Now for my comment as to see how the board reacts, I am curious to see if the current board, as constituted now, will simply handle day to day type of issues and leave non-imperative longer term issues to the new board, which would be a usual practice.
John Na May 22, 2012 at 10:54 AM
if it is true the SD offered the opportunity to save the reading program for at least a year why would the union not be willing to accept that. It seems like a good faith offer to save an important program and positions for their union? I Ion't get it.
Robert Johnson May 22, 2012 at 05:16 PM
Thanks for your comments, George. If you listened to my statements, I never used the Tax Cap as the sole excuse for PC budget problems. The fundamental cause of our school budget woes is that a Tax Cap- WITHOUT MANDATE RELIEF- is unfair to districts like Port Chester. Our schools rely on a large percentage of state and federal funds. These extra funds subsidize our property owners which enable us to provide a sound education for the children of PC. As you may know our school district has one of the lowest property tax levies and per student costs in our area. Obviously, Triborough is in the mix as an unfunded mandate and it needs to be reformed. Many of our wealthier districts are able to keep many programs in place this year because their budgets have smaller state and federal assistance programs, so a modest 2% increase in taxes produces a greater revenue stream. Even still, many of those well-to-do districts are positioned to layoff teachers next school year. The Tax Cap, without mandate relief, can only be cured by Albany. Most reasonable people agree that the job loses in education will continue unless something is done at the state level. I think I speak for the entire board, that when we criticize the Tax Cap, we are also criticizing the full spectrum of unfunded mandates that remain unchanged while the restrictions under the Tax Cap provision became law.
George Datino May 22, 2012 at 05:39 PM
I have read your comments and other board members and it for the most part, it always seems that the Tax Cap was always the primary reason stated for the budget woes. Compare this upcoming budget with last year's. The school district is getting increased revenue in both State Aid and property taxes, yet that isn't enough to compensate for the increase in expenses. Did the Tax Cap cause the increase in Expenses? No. Did the Tax Cap bring about the Unfunded Mandates? No. Did the Tax Cap bring about the Triborough Amendment? No. Did the Tax Cap overcrowed the district with way too many students that should be here? No. By blaming the Tax Cap, you are lumping all the expenses into it. When, in fact, all these issues have existed before the Tax Cap and what the Tax Cap has done is shine a light on them. Now that the light is shinning, can we solve them all? You are right, the answer for the most part lies within Albany. However, we all need to keep pressure on our State representatives and also keep pressure on both Village Board of Trustee's to fight illegal housing even harder and any other additional housing projects that will overcrowed our schools even more.

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