Although increase is 2.53%, Mattituck school board hears calls for deeper cuts

03/29/2011 11:45 AM |

Cutchogue resident MaryAnn Fleischman is mad as hell about rising school taxes, and she’s betting she’s not alone.

Although the Mattituck-Cutchogue School District is proposing its smallest tax increase in 37 years, 2.53 percent, Ms. Fleischman and other community members don’t think those cuts are deep enough.

“People in this community are hurting with the taxes. They can’t afford the increases,” she told the school board during a March 24 budget hearing. “It really comes down to salaries for teachers. People in the community haven’t had raises in two, three or four years.”

The $37.5 million spending plan would add $126 to the average property tax bill, school officials said. It would also eliminate 13 full- and part-time positions.

Ms. Fleischman is forming a group called “Working Poor Taxpayers” to fight the budget increase. She added that 40 teachers in the district earn more than $110,000 as a base salary, with guaranteed pay increases until the next teacher contract is negotiated in 2014.

Marie Domenici of Mattituck shared Ms. Fleischman’s concern. “I want to live in my house until I die,” she said during the hearing, adding that rising taxes are making that unlikely.

“The way things are going I should be dead in three weeks,” she quipped.

Ms. Domenici requested that to cut costs, the school should no longer purchase student athletic uniforms and charge parents for driver education.

School board did not support the uniforms charge and added that the driver education program’s $37,000 costs is already covered by student fees.

The district’s next budget hearing will be held Tuesday, April 5, at 7:30 p.m. at the Mattituck High School library.
On another issue, school officials say there’s no truth to the rumor that the district plans to eliminate the varsity girls’ lacrosse team because only 33 students plan to play this spring.

School athletic director Greggory Wormuth said Monday that the district plans to retain the varsity team despite the low sign-up numbers.

“Lacrosse is a sport that takes a lot of kids for each game,” he said. “But we’re looking to build the program.”

Interest in lacrosse has been steadily increasing in Mattituck over the past decade, but last year was the first year the district fielded a varsity girls’ lacrosse team.

Ideally, the school would like to have at least 20 players on each of the junior varsity and varsity teams.

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77 Comment

  • I find it very interesting that Mr. McKenna is getting a raise this year and next year, but his budget calls for laying off 13 teachers and teacher assistants. Something doesn’t sound right about that!

  • Perhaps Mr. McKenna (and the other administrators for that matter) should take a salary freeze since he is asking all CSEA employees to take one!

  • Good luck with that. Remember a few weeks ago when he told us to “walk a day in his shoes” before we asked him to take a pay freeze. He is securing a big payday for his pension and laying local people off. Remember it in May with a big “NO” vote

  • he is the only East End Superintendent who is not taking a freeze this year. It was reported here last week that Mr. Gamberg has volunteered for a freeze for two of the three years he has been Superintendent. Greenport Sup. has done the same.

    Sounds like he is trying to run the bill up so he can retire with a bigger amount. I’d love to walk a day in his shoes, would make some big changes pretty quick. Hard to believe he will risk the budget passing for his own additional benefit.

  • It’s not too hard to believe. He is usually looking out for himself. He will tell you it’s all about the kids, but we all know the truth! I would say he should just retire, but even then he will be getting a huge pension, free health insurance for him and his wife, and who knows what else he managed to weasel into his new contract.

  • I don’t think voting the budget down will get Mr. McKenna to freeze his salary. I honestly cannot believe he isn’t going to take a freeze if he is asking the union to. I myself am about to become a teacher and here in PA we have a governor who is anti-public education. All of the schools around here have taken freezes, admin and teachers. I honestly think we should pass the budget because in the end… we are hurting the kids. I was there when we went on austerity and we just could not believe the community would do that to us. I say vote YES to the budget because honestly… its not our fault that the federal government and state government have pulled so much money away from public schools. Or is it?