The fact that our district had no capital improvement budget until this year is unacceptable. The board must ensure that a capital improvement program is established through the yearly budget to maintain our buildings and alleviate the need for an additional bond of this size in the future.
Unfunded state and federal mandates strangle the district. Which would you like to see repealed and why?
O’Shea: Unfunded mandates are a burden for our school district and its taxpayers. Some mandates have merit, so the struggle to pay for them seems worthwhile. Far too many mandates create more bureaucracy and red tape without addressing the issue in front of them. I would like to see the New York State Assessment testing procedures, as they are currently administered, repealed and modified. School accountability is an important issue, but the current testing process still leaves us with too many unanswered questions and a staggering price tag. Rockville Centre already has a process that evaluates the progress of our students and it is the tool we use to help our students. Another unfunded mandate that I would like to see repealed and modified is APPR. This mandate seeks to evaluate our teachers, and again the overall premise is a very important one, but this particular program has too many flaws. It has a significant financial burden to our district and the process will be ineffective at evaluating our teachers properly. These are just two of the many questionable unfunded mandates. They have huge price tags, and they don’t supply adequate answers to the issues they seek to address.
Rubino: Salaries and benefits make up over 80 percent of our operating budget. There are many unfunded mandates which affect this cost and must be addressed if we are to control this portion of our budget. One unfunded mandate I would repeal is the Triborough Amendment of the Taylor Law. The Triborough Amendment requires that all terms of an expired contract remain in place, including continued salary increases, and must be paid despite expiration of the contract. This creates little or no incentive for re-negotiation of an expired contract.