Marching to the beat down holiday street

07/08/2010 12:00 AM |

Even the horses were smiling while walking down Main Street in Southold in the Fourth of July parade.

The tropical weather failed to melt the enthusiasm so obviously on display during the Fourth of July parade down Main Road in Southold. Firefighters, scout groups, horseback riders and even kilted bagpipers all received a very warm welcome.



21 Comment

  • The year they used another agent, the trip was screwed up. The kids flew out of Newark and paid more money.

  • How the district overpaying a travel agency turns into publicly calling out a good teacher by accusing them of “overcharging” is sloppy reporting on the part of the Sun. Basing this article on a shoddy report by a shady investigative firm- a report that has clear errors (even in spelling!) is also a poor choice of a primary resource. If a student had concerns over being overcharged, they should have raised the issue with the school district instead of turning this into a huge scandal where there is in fact none, save for a possible error in accounting on the part of the district. If both Kessler and the Sun had bothered to check into the accuracy of their information and contact the school district, the truth would have been evident. Did Kessler International even bother to check into how a travel agency is run in order to gain all the correct documentation? Instead somehow this accountant has chosen to promote his business by slandering people. Clearly he has nobody’s best interest in mind save his own. What a lovely day in age we live in.

    Shame on you, North Shore Sun. Please teach your reporters the importance of fact checking before they go about destroying people’s years of hard work and dedication to students.

  • I’m familiar with the Mt Sinai senior trips. This report is utter bunk. In my experience the agency gave a lot back to the kids on some years in the form of meal vouchers and more- which don’t come cheap! If the school asked for a quote on a trip, how is it the agency’s business who else the district asks? Ridiculous. If this is the same investigative firm that posts ads on craigslist, there’s reason enough to doubt how true some of these claims are.

    How many names is this going to destroy? I know so many good teachers at Mt Sinai. It’s sad to think that this article is going to hurt them.

  • How on earth did the Sun’s reporter get a price 40% cheaper? By staying at a campground in the parking lot of Disney and flying out of Newark? Try pricing 3 kids and an adult for 4 days in the spring at Disney, including passes to all the parks and meal vouchers. Maybe in 1980 it cost 40% cheaper. Not today!

  • Even good teachers can have bad judgment. It’s interesting how people are calling this slander and a lack of fact checking on anybody’s part. From what I can tell, the report this is all stemming from appears to have been based on a number of public records requests from the school district! Of course they contacted the school, where do you think public records requests would be sent? If students had things to say in interviews, maybe the school isn’t asking enough questions or listening carefully enough themselves? i wonder if those kids filled out any sort of reviews or evaluations after the trips for the school that nobody’s talking about. The report is there for anybody with eyes to see at

  • Instead of polling the 6 unhappy kids, maybe you should spend some time asking the hundreds of students who valued this trip as a the defining memory of the high school career at Mt. Sinai. Why ae we focusing all of our attention on the negatives? Not every resident of Mt Sinai has an axe to grind with the teachers. It’s unfortunate that a few unhappy students are speaking for those many who appreciate the realtionships that have been built between families and faculty. That would be too nice to report. Very sad.

  • It’s slander if the report contains inaccuracies and errors that are easily corrected by more than a cursory examination of the facts, and if it damages upstanding citizens who have taken every effort to help students and the community. A handful of public records does not tell a complete story.

  • What kind of story does it tell that the account is being reimbursed as a result of this? Numbers don’t lie. I don’t think anyone intends to damage here, only keep the best interest of the students and the funds intended to be for their benefit in mind.

  • I like turtles.

  • “That price is 40 percent higher than the package cost of the equivalent trip for a family of four, the report’s author found.”

  • I guess that’s the excuse for erroneous reporting? A poorly written article, taken form a more poorly written report. If anything, the only thing uncovered here, is there are people in this world that like to see friction rather than accept that not everyone is not out to “line their pockets”. Why don’t you write an article about the charitable efforts being undertaken at no cost during this holiday season. Again, that wouldn’t sell newspapers or fill egos.

  • While there will be attempts (on this message board and in the community) to defend the teacher / travel-agent, Superintendent and the School Board from any wrong-doing, there were some actions (or lack thereof) carried-out by each of those parties that makes it terribly difficult to shield them from valid criticism.

    According to the ‘Kessler Report’; the Executive Administrative Assistant of the District stated, “Student funds are not considered part of the District’s general fund and therefore do not follow bidding/purchasing requirements that are established for municipalities”.

    Okay, perhaps it’d seem reasonable that the school system doesn’t wish to utilize its limited resources to field petitions from travel agencies, hotels, airlines etc. and perform follow-up meetings to organize such an event. However, one “could” argue that with monies at the $100 thousand threshold – ‘the school system’ has an interest in seeing that such an event is organized free from malice with the potential to cause an embarrassing financial event.

    Included within the district’s financial statement is a note that “the Board of Education exercised general oversight of these funds”, but let’s concede to the Administrative Assistant’s point; they’re not school district funds so best practices (in the form of bids) – required in other instances – do not have to be exercised here

    Then why – according to the North Shore Sun’s article via the Superintendent– were bids (solicited years ago) conducted in the first place? Why not remain consistent each year with a bidding process – that happened to have been initially rewarded to an employee of the school district – in an effort to further develop a semblance of independence and transparency?

    Stop for a second – a $100 thousand trip / service is being organized and ‘rewarded via no-bid’ to an entity owned by an employee of the school district. Even if there wasn’t a shred of intended malice – wouldn’t you think each party involved would desire transparency to be clearly exonerated from any accusations?

    As the poster onliner wrote within this thread; “sloppy on the part of the school district”.

    Further compounding the embarrassment is the recent communication to the retired employee / owner of Northfork Travel – from the school district – about a possible overpayment. Based on what? Has the district “now” performed some due diligence (in reaction to the ‘Kessler Report’) on costs of a Disney trip in ’05, ’06 and ’07 – something that probably should have been performed at that juncture? If so, what did they find? Will any amount requested from Northfork Travel include a detailed analysis itemizing the total amount due?

    Finally, the most basic aspect of this exercise that further perpetuates the charge(s) of sloppiness pertains to the bookkeeping portion.

    Most small private-businesses employing ‘part-time $10.00 per hour QuickBooks specialists’ are aware that a Form 1099 needs to be issued to any vendor – not incorporated – receiving more than $600.00 in any one year.

    Here we have a school district with revenues and expenditures exceeding $50 million – which paid out more than $700 thousand over a 5-year period to an entity owned by one of their employees – failing to compile and submit a basic tax form required by the Internal Revenue Service.

    That’s not sloppy – that’s egregious.

    Try if you must – but good luck defending the school district and the Superintendent on this one.

  • Not surprizing at all!….20+ years in the district and we’ve seen many things that just don’t sit right…How about the parking lots?..Took years to get them repaved and when the district adds hundreds of new homes (with hundreds of new families/children) they cut the parking lots by half and plant grass????..yeah, so they can raise the issue of not enough parking and re-do the job again..Wonder who the paver knows in the administration…How about the fantastic pc deal the district offered to the community 10+ years ago?…VOLUME purchase of computers and the “deal” they got was old equipment and top top dollar price! (you could have walked into a computer store and bought twice the machine for half the cost!!)…Not to forget Mr. Diaz who was contracted by the district for years (and obviously very tight with some teachers, eg. the braintrust who morgaged their homes to “invest” in his scheme, uh, I mean “business”)….

    Yeah…Not surprizing at all…

  • I’ve never liked Mrs. Rottner the 2 years I had her for a teacher, but that’s beside the fact. As a student in one of those classes that were overcharged, this is ridiculous!! Why wouldn’t the district accept bids to help us get a lower price! Some students couldn’t go on this trip because it was too expensive; this is just wrong!

  • It has nothing to do with whether the kids had fun or not. Its the fact that they could have had the same amount of fun…for far less money.

  • The former teacher does not now and did not ever own Northfork Travel.

  • My advice to the North Shore Sun (and the Suffolk DA’s office): Keep digging on this one. When you see people criticizing the messenger like many of the obviously connected posters here are doing, you can be sure that something is very rotten in Mt. Sinai.

  • Wake up people of Mount Sinai!!!!!! The kids are telling you the truth…..not only teachers drinking…..there were some pot head teachers on that trip also! Your kids know who the teachers are…some are not there anymore, interesting. Talk to your kids…they are telling the truth!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The school spends thousands on desks for the principle and saves on books for the kids…….look close people…they are ripping you all off!

  • I had 2 children attend the class trips in the years in question. Where’s our refund!!!
    A few extra hundred dollars around Christmas time—-PRICELESS !!!!!

  • Absolutely!
    Does this mean their handing out refunds? Count me in x2 :)

  • OMG, I have a teacher who is exactly like this and done the same thing. Woah.