1/13/2011

LSD Sports Complex

Posted by MJ

UPDATE 2/11/11: Comments "froze" and are not displaying except for in the RSS feed. Please feel free to comment in new post.

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The push is growing for a re-vote on the sports complex capital project that was defeated in 2008. The LUSJ reported that Lockport School Board meeting will be held at Charles Upson to handle the possibility of a large turnout over the Sports Complex debate.



LUSJ reported some of the details in the sports section a few days back.

Confident that they can convince a better-informed community and committed to a more vigorous campaign fund drive, proponents of a new sports complex behind Lockport High School also know they face many obstacles in the weeks and months ahead, especially time.

A crowd of about 75 people attended a special meeting at the LHS cafeteria on Monday night, where district athletics director Patrick Burke gave a 45-minute presentation on the proposed $6 million project, which would include a new, artificial turf stadium with lights for football, soccer and other events....

I have seen at least one e-mail going around the past week trying to drum up support. I personally see no issue with a re-vote especially if there are increased numbers initially showing they support it and our willing to work at it.

UPDATE 1/18/11:
Buffalo News Reported.  A section may explain the descrepency in distrcit costs:

In 2008, state aid would have covered 89 percent of such a project, but now the state offers to cover 93 percent. Since the district’s capital reserve fund holds $5 million, Burke argues that it could support up to a $68 million capital project without raising taxes.
The district might not need to touch the reserve fund, he said. “We are committed to holding fundraising campaigns to raise the local-share portion of the project’s total,” he said. “We would attempt to not use much or any of that fund. It doesn’t need to cost a thing.”
UPDATE 1/19/11:
LUSJ reported on pending meeting tonight.

UPDATE 1/20/11:
The Buffalo News and LUSJ reported on the meeting last night.

213 comments:

Rocketboy said...

I see an issue with a re-vote. Again it's a matter of the school board knowing that they are right, and everyone else is wrong. They are hoping to confuse people into voting for something that they don't want, or not voting against it because "Gee, didn't I already vote that down?". Also, if they wanted an full vote, they would do it during the summer when more people would go out to vote. But that's not, nor never has been the plan.

Anonymous said...

I think bringing students into the upcoming meeting wearing their sports attire in support of this complex is a low blow! Of course the students want a new facility, who wouldn't? We need to stop the mantra that it's for the children. NO is no. The taxpayers have voted. There are too many issues that are still in question and this is not the time to be making a decision of this magnitude!

Let's face it, the majority of students who will graduate and make something of their lives, will not even stay in Lockport, let alone New York State.

Anonymous said...

It's attitudes like this that keeps this community from competing with the surrounding area. The state money will be spent regardless, so why not here? If Pat Burk wants to fund raise money to reduce or eliminate any of our school taxes being used, then we should all be supporting the project. Why not make an improvement to the school and community? People who don't support this are no better then "Smart Growth".

MJ said...

A big reason to do it soon is that the State reinbursement is rumoured to drop significantly in the near future (93%~>70%)If we are ever to upgrade the facilites in the foreseable future now is the time to do it. We already have the funds in hand that can only be used for capitol projects (not for tax savngs etc).

To me the issue is long term upkeep costs. But if I can buy something for $0.07 on the dollar why wouldn't I? Especially when other localities have already used our tax money to do the same thing for themselves.

It is not a silver bullet for the area by a long shot. But I feel it can be another piece that would make Lockport attractive. The biggest piece is of coarse job opportunities.

Can the feilds be shared with places like the YMCA to share some costs? Could organizations like the Lockport Rage make more at the gate at a location like this and share some costs? What other events/organizations could do so?

Lockport is a "city" school district. They are hard sells to families. Anything that shows nice modern facilites for students are a plus in offsetting poor-urban-district stigmas. And of coarse, the most important thing is student performance.

Rocketboy said...

Yes Anon 4:23.. who cares about the money, it just grows on trees, right?

Yes, sometimes taking the moral high ground means that you don't get the same things that someone else gets. But do you really feel good about yourself at the end of the day knowing that you're one of the reasons taxes are out of control in New York? Who cares if the state doesn't have money to spend, because they can just take more from the taxpayers, amirite?

Me, I have the guts to say No More. The state should only take in what the state needs to run. Not collecting more money than they need so they can redistribute it as a way to buy votes. No More.

Jack Smith said...

The math seems off to me. 7% of $6 million is $420,000. So, is our share 14% or is the project really going to cost $12 million? What am I missing? Also, wouldn't it be easier to entice people to the Lockport School District if our graduation rate was higher than 75% and we weren't #2 in the Nation in taxes? BTW- I bet after the re-assessment we reclaim the #1 spot again.

Anonymous said...

"Of Course" the most important thing is student performance! Unfortunately our test scores have proven we're underperforming! Let's face it, academic scores usually dictate how people choose one district over another when making a move.

"Of Course" being the highest taxed city in one of the highest taxed counties in the nation doesn't help us either but that's ok atleast we have a nice sports facility.

With the state's economic future looking somewhat bleak, it'll be interesting to see if we'll have to cut back in some of these extra curricular areas down the road. It's somewhat ironic that we're currently renovating the school and adding a new music wing and can't even afford instruments.

Anonymous said...

"It's attitudes like this that keeps this community from competing with the surrounding area."

Pleae enlighten me on how this attitude stops us from competing with surrounding schools.

Needs and wants are two different issues. Will a new sports facility change the outcome of our students' SAT scores? No.

Let's not forget that the State Comptroller made it very clear to our School Board that we were overcharging the taxpayers to begin with and the money should have been returned. How about teaching our kids how to be fiscally responsible with tax payer money and just because someone else may have something doesn't necessarily mean that you are also entitled to the same!

Rocketboy said...

And a quick note to the Lockport School Board.. Money Spent does not equal Academic Performance.

Anonymous said...

jack - whats the difference here and your per project? Both will use tax dollars not directly from our pockets, so it must be good, right? You shouldn't throw stones, glass houses you know.

This should have went through the first time until Ulrich paid for his 2 page ad with all the lies about the district, since he was mad his girlfriend didn't get a principal job in Lockport.

MJ said...

Just some thoughts....

1)The "overcharging" was over stated. One bad cycle of state cut backs and the emergency funds are gone. They served their purpose. The state's over charging / over mandating us and is still always in the hole. I feel it was more of a diversion tatic than anything else. Look at your schools, not at us.

2)Our "highest" tax designation is per assessed house value. If our house assesments go up, we'll actually drop down the "highest" list. Would we feel better then? The city costs XX dollars to run. How does that compare to other cities our size? That is the more relevant comparison to me. If everyone's house jumped 3x in value the tax rate would drop 3x in value though we'd be paying the same overall to meet the budget. Plus much higher mortgage payments.

3)It is true money does not equal performance and usually shows diminishing returns. The biggest factor is usually the concentration of poverty in a district. Which requires fixes in the metro area itself, not just the schools. The schools are usually the "catch up" area and that will cost inordinate amount of money. When people are seeking a "good test score" area, they are usually seeking areas with the least poverty.

3b) Also the "standards" that are being pushed on kids now going down to the pre-k level. Reading comprehension was higer 50 years ago with out these requirements. Pull out natural problem solving/learning environments like play time,music, etc and we can see the results.

5) And I like the complex idea. At the same time we can turn the old one at the middle school into the Lockport Dog Park since the fence is already there ;)

Anonymous said...

From what I've heard the state has already allocated the $$$ to go to Lockport and if they don't use it it will go somewhere else, so yes it is STATE taxpayer $$$ so why not use it, god knows we don't get lots of handouts upstate. Upkeep is my only concern but if you can share the field with other orgnizations to offset the cost than why not.....All you "Not in my backyard people" just need to shut your pie holes this is a needed project for the school system and the area.

Jack Smith said...

anon 1:04pm- Not throwing stones, I was just trying to say that there are numbers that have been reported that don't make mathmatical sense. I'm curious as to what the School System's actual responsibility is, and what the actual cost of the project is. I prefer to have all the correct information so that I can make a well informed decision.
And to be quite honest, I find it interesting that you believe Mr. Ulrich and/or the Union Sun has such great influence on the community.

Rocketboy said...

Anon 1:04... So, where did the tax money come from? It somehow makes it better to take someone else's money for your own pet projects?

Anon 2:45... Again, this is money that the state doesn't have to give out. NOBODY should be getting handouts. Period. If the city wants to build it, the city should raise the money.

And how stupid is it that they are trying this again, when they they just "closed" two elementary schools due to enrollment and funds. Do they think that we don't remember this? The whole thing is just stupid, it's over building because right now, we can use other people's money to do it on the cheap.

Color me not impressed.

But I should just shut my pie hole right? Because that's how we have discourse, right?

Anonymous said...

OK here are some additional thoughts on this issue that need to answered...

what will be the cost of upkeep at this facility... no more lawn to mow... but who is footing the bill for the rest of the costs to maintain everything that will be built???

Is the school district going to put what ever monies they "earn" by renting this facility out for other non city school ditrict events into a budget line for this upkeep????

Can current district employees maintain these facilities and all of the other fields,tracks and grounds already provided by the district???

Or will the district have to hire more people to do this work???

Is the district going to set aside tax monies for replacement of damaged or worn out elements of this facility in the future???

Or is NYS going to pay for this also???

What(if any)is the cost of the difference in insurance for the district in adding this facility to the buildings/grounds the district currently owns???

Anonymous said...

Anon. 10:18- All excellent questions! Here are more questions? Why is the board even entertaining the possibility of such an absurd request? This sports complex is really not a necessity! Have they not heard or read the Governor's State of the State Address? We must abandon the mentality that we are entitled to this project and these funds! It's inevitable- this WILL BE an added burden to our already overtaxed region.

Why is the Superintendent allowing Mr. Burke and his sports supporters to go this far? The taxpayers have already said no. Why must we be made to feel as though we don't know any better?
Mr. Burke was able to use our school facilities to hold a public meeting. How was that possible during a contigency budget year? Did he have to pay the district for this use? Who ok'd it?

Also Mr. Burke has had fliers passed out to parents and sports participants during games urging them to go to Wednesday night's meeting. Did he use taxpayer funded supplies? Did he do this during his work day?

prblack said...

This urgent push to re-vote the sports complex concerns me. It appears to be the product of a state attempting to get its fiscal house in order. A rumor has it that NY intends to reduce its capital costs reimbursement rate from 93% to some value lower. This urgency we are observing has all the look of a "money grab", as little has changed in the proposal (US&J 1/11/11). Until the proposal is significantly changed, I believe the no vote of 2008 should stand. I might add that all the favorable arguments I've read or heard tend toward emotion and not fact. No $6M project should ever come to pass on stirred-up emotion. Thank you.

The Phantom said...

Ok, so here is my question. If all that is required to complete this project is 7% of the cost, and they knew this two years ago when it was defeated by vote, why didn't they try to raise the funds during the last two years and have something to show for all that time??

What I'm saying is, if they came to the meeting and said they raised the necessary funds to do this, there will be no taxpayer impact intially, lets vote again due to the change in circumstances, then maybe there would be more support. Also complete disclosure of ongoing costs of upkeep and maintenance would help their cause.

In the last year, my taxes have gone up. Class sizes grew, schools closed down, cuts were made, people were let go. Forgive me for not jumping on the bandwagon to spend more money.
Looming grim times ahead financially for the school makes this uncertain time, the wrong time to be making grandiose plans for athletics.
In my opinion, the present facilities will have to do for now.

The Phantom

Anonymous said...

Thru this whole debate we must keep in mind the fact that two schools have had to close and people were laid off in our district this past year due to state aid being cut. There is projected to be atleast 14,000 lay offs across the state by the NYS School Board this coming year.

There will definitely be increased costs in maintainance coming with this project. Not to mention the fact that when things get rougher, and they will, where will they have to make the cuts? Will it be in academics? No.

Also 48% of the district's children come from families who are participating in a free lunch or reduced lunch program. How will these families be able to afford more increases in taxes?

Don't get caught up in the idea that this will not cost the taxpayers any more money. It always does and most certainly will especially in the financial crisis New York State is in.

Anonymous said...

Yes it is true about school closings and tough times, and it will probably happen again this year. BUT the money is there already, it will reduce maint costs and perhaps the athletics it will produce might lead to more kids staying in school, keeping their grades ujp so they can participate and finally graduating.
The argument the state is in trouble is a good one, but unfortunately state politicians aren't smart enough to stop this spending and reclaim the money. Since the money has to be spent upgrading somebodys facilities, why not ours. If we could get the state to take back this money they are spending all over the state on facilities I wold be ecstatic, but we can't!
Look at Niagara Falls, they will be voting on using $130 million of state funds this year!

Rocketboy said...

So, anon 3:39... although the school is claiming hardship and reduced enrollment forced them to close schools, although the state has no money to give out, although the schools already rely on too much state money...

awww, who cares, it'll look nice...

Is that what I am to get out of your reasoning?

Oh, and besides, we (the voting public) already said no once... If this was a criminal proceeding, it would be declared unconstitutional.

Anonymous said...

RB, what if it's not Tucker's idea it's no good for you?
Your biggest misconception is the state doesn't have the money. Overall the state doesn't have money, but due to their own stupidity the money for this project (and Niagara Falls $130M project) is already put away and waiting to be spent by somebody. Why not us?
I agree, if everyone in the state wouldn't use this money we would be better off, but out state isn't smart enough to put this money away, so why not let us have it?
It's the same concept as the Housing Visions project, if the tax money is going to be spent spend it here.
And it's not a criminal proceeding, duhhh

Anonymous said...

I agree that the Housing Visions Project is similar in that way too and I'm not excited with all the use of state money for that project either, however their intent was to take deteriorated homes bring them back and fix up neighborhoods that were hopeless. They maintain the project afterwards. Let's see if in this climate they are even able to come here. I wouldn't necessarily bet on it.

Now let's focus on the sports complex issue: It's been voted on, approximately 500 voters said NO! and now things are financially much worse than before. All reports paint a bleak picture for the near future. So let's attempt this project and get in over our heads. That makes so much more sense!

Try reading today's Buffalo News article by Rick Timbs, Executive directore of the Satewide School Finance Consortium.

Rocketboy said...

Wow 10:28 anon... you must be new here. Although, as someone who has lived in Lockport for 30+ years, it's damn nice to see that we finally are on our way to having a rejuvenated downtown and some nice things for once, when he does something I don't agree with, I'll be more than happy to call someone out. Such as the HV project. He was for it, and I'm still dead sent against it.

The 'the money's there, so we should take it anyways' is a really short-sited way to think of these things. If Lockport wants to strive, we cannot do it by depending on state money. This years school budget should have been a wake-up call. If we can't afford to do it ourselves, there better be a damn good reason that we feel it's ok to make everyone else pay for it.

A "sports complex", one that the city already rejected, does not seem like a good reason to me.

Also, no kidding this is not a criminal proceeding. I was just drawing the analogy, that in a court of law, you are not allowed to keep trying someone in order to get a desired outcome. How is what the school board trying to pull much different? They don't like what we told them, but it must have been us that was wrong, so they want us to keep voting until we get it right.

Anon 11:04...
I'm not sure if this is what you are referring to (as a matter of fact, doubt it based on the day/time the article was "updated") but it's probably similar to what he said here:

http://www.buffalonews.com/editorial-page/from-our-readers/another-voice/article288273.ece

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting the thread anon. 12:ll. That was exactly what I was referring to.

The Phantom said...

While we're sporting analogies here, if I am down to my last dollar in my wallet, do I go buy a shiny new car not knowing if I can afford to pay for the gas, oil changes, maintenance etc???

Putting up a new athletic field will not make people want to move here. Especially when they see how much they will pay in taxes. Some schools are cutting their athletic programs making them rely on fundraising efforts. Let us not buy what we cannot afford.

Besides, the city voted no just 2 years ago. Issue done!

MJ said...

This is not a criminal trial though. Why apply double jeopardy? If something is voted down in congress/state legislature/city council etc is is then never to be voted on again?

There was a time when civic architecture and public places were a step above everything else. They provided a point of civic pride, facilities for the poor thru the rich and added to the quality of life and our built environment.

A well thought out sports complex with shared civic uses could be a wonderful thing. there seem to be some passionate people out there who could possibly make that happen. It should be a requirement if this were to pass in a future vote. Go knock on some doors to make it "Yahoo" or "Verizon" stadium. Create a volunteer panel to draw events.

People can knock sports, but like play (even call them a form of play)they are vital links to learning teamwork, conflict resolution, problem solving, physical health, self esteem, perseverence, planning, time management etc.

The system was (still is) set up where the state pays for the vast majority of capitol improvement projects. Could Buffalo of have afforded their $1 Billion dollar makeover? Could even districts like Clarence etc "afford" their projects without the massive state reimbursement? In the big scheme of things it goes a long way to facility equity when we live in a country where income segregation looms large and creates impoversed districts with exponential needs.

Anonymous said...

Build it! It is the area's main high school and yes it will be part of attracting younger families to our area. If the money is allocated already this should not be a debate. This is a positive step for our town.

Anonymous said...

People will not relocate or move to the Lockport School District because of their sports facilities. They move to schools that are ranked high in academic performance-something Lockport is not known for!!! Don't kid yourself...

Rocketboy said...

Anon 8:20.. hey, I'm not anon! I may be incognito, but I'm not anon :)

MJ... I use the Double Jepordy clause in reference to this because they want us to vote on the exact same thing, because they didn't like the answer they go, so they'll throw it against the wall again. If this was a different 'sports complex' proposal, they yes, by all means, have us vote on it. But this is the same thing as before. Also, it's not a matter if the state 'can' pay, (and by state, I mean every tax paying resident of NY), but 'should' the state pay?

Anon 5:30... Exactly.

Anonymous said...

Look, the state has already picked our pocket and every other state residence pockets for that money. If we don't take the money, some other district in Queens or Albany or any one of the hundreds of school districts in New York State will. It's not like the state will say "well if you don't want it we will give you all your money back", or "Ok, we will take that money and apply it to the state deficit to reduce future taxes". No, they will give it to someone else who will greatly appreciate our tax dollars who you and I have already paid into.

Why is it that Lockportians can never have anything nice, or anything to be proud of? Other then the canal, what do we have to brag about? I put four kids through the Lockport school district. One Valedictorian, three National Honor Society members and all were student athletes. My wife has worked at the High School for fourteen years, and the kids who want to learn get a great education and go on to collage and have wonderful careers. If kids don't want to learn (and unfortunately there are a lot of them) they drag the test scores down for the whole district. You can't force them to learn. The problem for the most part is an income problem. Students from single parent and lower income households do not have parents who take an interest in their education or the ability to help them. You can't blame the district when those parents don't care weather their kid goes to school or not, passes or fails becomes successful or not.

I traveled all over Western NY attending sporting events in school districts much smaller then ours, and I was embarrassed at our facilities compared to other districts (Medina to name one). I had to listen to parents who kids were competing against us who were surprised at how poor our athletic facilities are for a district as large as ours (we are one of the largest school districts in WNY). Lockport, take this opportunity to have something nice, something to be proud of. If we don't, someone else will be more then happy to take our tax dollars for their district.

The Phantom said...

Nobody is going to move here because we have nice bleachers to sit it. Come on, get serious. Do you think a couple in their 50's with no kids is going to move here because our field has lights? We have to draw the line on spending somewhere. This WILL cost us (the taxpayers) more money and with reassesment looming we simply can't afford the luxury.

Have you noticed the amount of For Sale signs popping up around Lockport in the dead of winter. I have. Higher taxes, and a poor performing academic school district will note help the situation, and a new field is not the save all.

What do we have to brag about?? Low crime rate, excellent police protection, excellent fire service, and a soon to come SuperWalmart (sorry, couldn't resist).

Anonymous said...

What are you thinking Phantom? No reasonable couple in their 50's would come to Lockport unless they had grandkids here. And yes, those grandkids would be going to Lockport High School. When you look at the people that move to Western NY, most have kids, do you think for a moment that they would choose Lockport if the school and facilities where not first class? It is definitly a drawing power for our area.

Rocketboy said...

I could not care less about the 'facilities', but I do care about the quality of the education. Does the school have heat, light, and a roof? Good. They have what they need. Now work on the quality of the education.

The Phantom said...

Yes, they MIGHT come to Lockport if the SCHOOL was first class. That means academics. That means smaller class sizes. That means not laying off teachers and closing schools. That means not threatening to close the school library as they did last year. Having adequate supplies and new technology for them to LEARN. A new stadium with shiny lights does not teach a child to read or write.

I agree that athletics has its part in life for the kids, but not at the expense of the community that must support it, now and in the future.

By the way, when you say that the people that move to WNY, most have kids, where do you get that from?? Is that just an observation, or substantiated fact??

The vote is already done a scant 2 years ago! What if anything has changed since then to justify yet another vote??

Anonymous said...

Whats changed is people did not have the facts then about the cost of this proposal.
Plus, Ulrich put his two page newspaper ad in the night before the vote with a lot of misinformation in it (i.e. graduation rate which he blamed on Carbone when he was using Frasiers numbers) which couldn't be refuted since it went in so late. He did this because his girl friend didn't get a promotion in Lockport.
We might as well use this money, it there and we have paid for it already through our state income taxes. I agree with a previous post, the smart move would be for the state to take back all this money, but if they don't then why not use it?
In todays paper it was reported KenTon schools are about to put fields in now too. It makes sense economically.

Anonymous said...

No meant no two years ago, and it means no today! One of the first thing any child learns is the word "no". Why can't the School Board seem to understand it? This whole thing should be a non-issue! It would be nice to have, but we can't afford it. We couldn't afford it then, we can't afford it now!

Rocketboy said...

We did have the facts. We said no. That is also a fact.

Anonymous said...

The facts were not presented correctly last time. What do you mean we can't afford it, it should lower costs!
This is always going to be a ghetto city unless we start thinking a little more progressively. We spent all the money on main st, king tuck wants $10M for the old locks in the hopes 100 people show up to see it, why not spend $400k on nthis to put us in the 21'st century?

Rocketboy said...

How were the facts not presented properly? The BoE spent quite a bit of my money sending me mailings on how good of an idea it was.

Also, if you don't understand how many people that the locks actually bring into Lockport, then I'm not sure how you are qualified to make a decision. I'd rather have a nice downtown for everyone, than a 'sports complex' for the few.

Anonymous said...

The problem is that the proponents of this project do not counter in the hard facts when discussing the sports complex.

What has changed from two years ago? In fact I would certainly say the figures reported by Albany now appear to be quite grim, more so than in 2008. We have an $11 Billion tax deficit this year alone, 14,000+ statewide teacher layoffs projected this year by the NYS School Board Association, our tax burden in Lockport is so high that we are the highest taxed city in the second highest taxed county in our nation. Let's not forget that the lion's portion is our School Tax! The Mayor and Supervisor do not even support this program because they know we'll be facing more & more cuts from NYS. I could go on and on with FACTS about why this isn't the time....

Figures have not been given regarding maintainance- Except for the fact that astro turf's maintance is less than grass. Parking? A 3000 seat stadium will need atleast 1000 parking spots. No one has even truly addressed that. The community share of $886,000 must be in hand to start this project. That's nearly $1 Million dollars! Even though Mr. Burke has claimed his commitment to raising this money, let's be realistic, our community is struggling to raise money for a hockey arena and YMCA project.

This loud and clear message at the BOE meeting was very tainted. I found out teachers were requested to be at the meeting, students were rounded up and encouraged to come, people from other towns were there cheering it on, coaches, teachers, and relatives of those were the majority who spoke up..... Wow, imagine that? Just something to think about!

Everyone seems to think this money is piled up waiting for someone to claim it and we "deserve" it. That's a dangerous attitude that will perpetuate the financial mess we're in or even worse, ruin us!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 9:53 AM Said
This loud and clear message at the BOE meeting was very tainted. I found out teachers were requested to be at the meeting, students were rounded up and encouraged to come, people from other towns were there cheering it on, coaches, teachers, and relatives of those were the majority who spoke up..... Wow, imagine that? Just something to think about!

So the supporters of this project recruited people who support their position, whats wrong with that? Shame on the opponents for not doing the same thing. If this goes to a re-vote it's because the school board sees more support then opposition.

Anonymous said...

Well let's see... Burke is allowed to hold two informational meetings on the school premises,(is he paying for the use of the school?) he has had fliers past out at sporting events for the last few weeks(did he use paper/copiers funded by the taxpayers? not to mention the time he put in!) The support at the BOE meeting was ralleyed up and stacked intentionally. You can believe what you want but, in my book that's just a little unethical.

I have no doubt that the opponents are now getting together.

MJ said...

1) Any meeting can be seen as tainted. The interesting part here is the "pro" tainting when it's usually the negatives that more eagerly show up disproportionally to civic meetings. It takes effort to get people to show up, even if they are on "your side".

2) Once again we are one of the "higest taxed" per assessed value. Would we feel better paying higher mortgage payments in addition to our taxes? The only true measure is to compare operating cost to similar sized cities or maybe even budget dollars/resident. The per assessed value figure feels like little more than skewed rhetoric.

3) We build too much parking which promotes mostly empty vehicles which also promotes the "need" for more parking. This is a city, people can walk on sidewalks. For the spots themselves charge a fee to offset facility costs or require minimum occupancy to get people to car pool. And since we are not allowed to park overnight on our streets, on-street parking is plentiful 98% of the time.

4) No does mean no but is not an end. Kids also learn this and it should be percieved by anyone in the business world etc. People who believe in a project/idea will fight for it. Their resolve should be commended even if we do not agree with their ideas. And we are welcoem to always shoot them down.

5) This money comes from dedicated capitol sources. It can not be used to offset school closures etc. Nor is it part of our state aid calculations. Our portion is already in hand in our capitol reserve funds, which would be offset by any fundraising.

6)The schools will not be first class until we attract jobs here that the poor can get to with out the need to sink a disproportionate amount of thier paycheck into private automobile travel. Then we will see scores start to rise as children see positive role models and live strucutred lives. Pumping more money into the school does not change that nor does the sports complex. But all three can be powerful tools.

7) I attended a grammer school with zero athletic facilites (not even a real gym) and less than 100 pupils in total. Did I get through and succeed? Yes. Do I feel I missed out on a number of opportunities? Yes. We have the ability to provide something nice for the whole community here. Many life paths emit from sports be it from interest in sports themselves, health medical, psychology, business, etc.

8) How would people feel if a second vote required 55 or 60% to pass?

9) The local print media (LUSJ, Buffalo News) could do a lot better job of laying out the "facts" on these types of projects so that the rumors and heresay could be left as just that.

4LP said...

Personally I see this as a wonderful opportunity for our district to reap the benefits of the thousands of dollars we pay each year in taxes to both local and state governments.

Truth be told, if we choose not to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity someone else will. Has anyone in this forum started harassing the tax payers in Niagara Falls or Kenmore? Because guess what folks, they are using YOUR tax money to pay for THEIR capital projects. This includes state of the art athletics complexes in both school districts.

I realize some people in our humble city want to save the state. Perhaps it would be best if you moved on an started addressing the people who can make those changes. But until then, try and support the community you live in and read your facts before you start making attacks.

By the way, you do have the facts right? Or are you just blowing smoke because you hate to see good things happen here?

Anonymous said...

M J our capitol reserve funds cannot be touched right now until they reach $10M. I don't even think they're at $6M right now. They know this and that is why the $886,000 has to be raised by the community. It's a reach!

People don't want to move here because the overall academic rating is not competitive, and the tax levy already is ridiculous! Not to mention the crime rate, etc, etc. Why is that? It all goes back to politics...

I've already spoken to many parents who are disgusted about this project and I will tell you they will have their turn to speak.

I sat on the School District PTA Council for a couple years hearing first hand Carbone saying that a Sports Facility was a priority to her and also stating that she didn't believe in homework for students.... We were aghast that a school superintendent would even admit that in public. Don't kid yourself it has to do with the legacy she wants to leave behind here.

The only good that can come of this re-vote is that we may see 4 new school board members elected who might be independent thinkers without any connections to the district.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 11:29 AM Said

"Well let's see... Burke is allowed to hold two informational meetings on the school premises,(is he paying for the use of the school?)"

I'm pretty sure it was school related business so why should he have to pay for the use of the school?

"The support at the BOE meeting was ralleyed up and stacked intentionally. You can believe what you want but, in my book that's just a little unethical."

A little unethical? the BOE meeting was for everybody, for and against. If they had people at the doors asking you if you if you were for or against then that would be unethical.

4LP said...

If you attended the BOE meeting in January you would be aware that there was no BOE action that required the district to raise that fund to 10 million. This question was brought up and discussed and as a matter of fact, the state forced them to cap the capital fund reserves at 10 million. Once again, your facts are incorrect. Please get them straight before posting inaccurate information. Your are a plague and cancer to this discussion.

Also, please be aware that our state aid ratio has changed and instead of receiving 89% back in grants, we are now receiving 93%. That is a savings to the district of nearly $250,000.00 on a project of this size.

The BOE also indicated that they have the money to cover the local share. However, the fundraising effort was being offered in good will to show support for the project.

Rocketboy said...

4LP...
"Has anyone in this forum started harassing the tax payers in Niagara Falls or Kenmore? Because guess what folks, they are using YOUR tax money to pay for THEIR capital projects." Although nobody is "harassing" anyone here (except maybe the BoE who does not think that no means no), if this was a general WNY blog, I would be saying the same thing.

"Perhaps it would be best if you moved on an started addressing the people who can make those changes."
You are making the assumption that I have not.

"try and support the community you live in"
...as I do...

"and read your facts"
...as I have...

"before you start making attacks"
...and you must use a rather liberal view of the word "attack".

"By the way, you do have the facts right?"
Yep, I received my first round of filtered facts when the BoE spent my money to tell me what a good idea it was.

"Or are you just blowing smoke because you hate to see good things happen here?"
Ok. You got me. I've lived in Lockport all of my life, and when I went to buy a house I was only interested in the City of Lockport, you caught me. I really just hate to see the community that I live in, and the community I bought property in, and the community that I specifically chose to live in, have good things happen to it.

Or maybe, just maybe, I don't see it as a "good thing".

___________

I'm wondering what the press was when the parking ramp was built? Something which now, has decayed to the point that it needs to be removed. We know that nobody ever fully planned to spend enough money to maintain it (besides of course, the engineering problems that it had). How much will the BoE need to spend on the 'complex' in 10 years... 20 years... If we don't have the money to build it now (as in, our money), who's to say that we'll have the money to maintain it. Isn't spending too much money that people didn't have on things what almost caused a global financial meltdown? How can we teach our kids to be fiscally responsible when we refuse to be ourselves?

4LP said...

We teach our kids to be financially responsible by making good fiscal decisions. We can afford this project, as stated previously because we have enough money in the capital reserve funds. As far as long terms costs, this was once again discussed at the January BOE meeting.

The cost to replace the turf (a carpet in a sense) is around $650,000. The state rate for reimbursement for this goes up the longer you keep the turf. If we were to have this turf for 10 years, you are looking at a local share cost of around $250,000.

Please also remember, the LCSD and the City are separate. The fact that a parking ramp is decaying has nothing to do with how this facility would be maintained. And if I remember correctly from the meeting, Pat Burke indicated to the BOE that he spoke with seven other WNY schools with turf and they said it was either a wash for maintaining the complex or they saw a savings.

Bottom line is if we want our kids to learn fiscal responsibility, we must teach them that it is okay to take a small load and repay it. After all, not all of us have millions in the bank and the ability to spend spend spend.

Anonymous said...

4LP it's apparent that you are a firm supporter and probably directly involved in the sports program thru your children or as a coach or teacher and I can appreciate that and your opinion.
As a parent we do want to teach our kids fiscal reposibility. Irregardless of how great the presentation may be and the argument that it's now or never just doesn't cut it in these tough times. We are not Clarence, not Williamsville, Lewiston, or even Kenmore for that matter. We just don't have that kind of tax base. There will be future repercussions on our community and risks that many people are just not willing to take.
I find the argument that this will save our city or trigger more people to now consider moving here because of the school sports facility invalid. We should concentrate on what will benefit all of our students right now and how we can increase their academic scores by providing the best education possible.

Anonymous said...

If the money is there and "needs" to be spent, then lets find a better way to spend it. We just made significant improvements to the High School but guess what, there are 8 other schools that probably could stand for some improvements. How about we make our buildings more energy efficient so that all the money spent will come back in savings in our utility costs.

We just closed 2 schools, yet did not have enough room for kindergarteners when school started. We have music classes being taught on stages which are in the cafeteria during lunch hours, I'll bet that gets pretty noisey in there and difficult to learn an instrument. We specialty teachers and aides working out of closets or in hallways because there is not enough rooms. When its too cold to go outside, recess becomes playing mum ball or watching tv in the classroom because the gym is already double booked due to class sizes.
Next Mrs. Carbone (who by the way received $20k in pay increases over the last 2 years) is threatening to cut all non-mandated programs this year. That means library, music, art and preschool might get cut. It should also means sports gets cut too, but its obvious she wont go near that.
So for all of you that are in favor of the Sports Complex (which is not the wrost thing in the world), please, please make sure that you speak out just as loudly when Mrs Carbone decides to make all those cuts this year while still giving her self another 5% raise.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:22- You hit the nail on the head! These old elementary schools have some serious issues. I would definitely be in favor of an addition to both Roy B Kelley and Anna Merrit to accomodate the cramped quarters these kids are exposed to. I definitely think that Roy B Kelley's hallway library is a joke too. It's tough when gyms have to double as cafeteria's.

4PL said...

I think we are starting to find some common ground. I don't think you would find a single person who supports this project who wouldn't support other updates to the buildings in the LCSD. Many of us agree that the elementary buildings need updating. When it comes time to push for those projects, all you need to do is ask us to come out and support it and we will.

As far as, why the sports complex now? The design work has already been done for the project, state aid has increased, people are willing to fundraise and that is why it is back on the table.

I urge you to please not use the closing of buildings as a reason for trying to vote down this project. I realize it might seem hard to build something so nice when people have lost their jobs, but if you look at history, isn't it building that helped get us out of hard times?

It is obvious their is strong hatred towards Mrs. Carbone by many. However, that shouldn't be passed on to the generations of students, athletes, and community members who will benefit from a project like this.

Rocketboy said...

Ok. Let me try a different approach.

I voted no the first time.

What has changed that would convince me to vote yes?

Anonymous said...

Obviously as we have seen from this board nothing will change your mind!

Anonymous said...

I'm still not buying any of this. Guarantee me that we're not going to see more cutbacks from the state over the next few years and I'll think about it. Otherwise this whole project is meaningless. Build this now because of the 93% but then cut half the sports programs in the next few years because we can't sustain them.

Anonymous said...

anon 9:16- did you ever think that maybe we're dealing with someone from the board??? LOL

4LP said...

You are not dealing with someone from the board. Just another educated citizen who thinks it is necessary to exercise their right to debate and democracy. After all, isn't that what this country is all about? For as much as I hate to hear people be against this, I am glad that we have the opportunity to have two sides.

Good point about the future cut backs. Something to consider. And Rocketboy, this is not just about convincing you to change your mind. It is about allowing the people to speak once again. I think part of what the no votes worry about is the chance that the yes votes may win this time should it go up for another prop.

It may be worth taking a moment to examine your own life and try and think if you always made the rights choice on the first attempt. I am sure you have had times where you did something the second time and said, man why didn't I do this the first time around.

Democracy is about chances, not a one shot deal. I can understand their are people against the complex. You should understand there are people who support it and they have a right too.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:31-Let's just say that this goes to a re-vote and it passes, would it be okay if we delayed the project for two years and then have another vote?

Anonymous said...

Thank you 4LP for being a reasonable thinker, but lets really look at this sports complex in detail before we decide if its a good idea. And lets also think of alternative plans. Why can't they retro-fit the Emmett, put in the turf, some more or improved stands, a bathroom and concession stand or something along those lines. But definitely NO LIGHTS. There is a reason why we got rid of the lights in the first place. TOO MANY FIGHTS and other problems at Friday night games. Did anyone think about the added cost for security at these night games?
The real reason why Carbon is pushing for this now is because she knows that Gov Coumo will be making some changes as to what can be done with these Capital Reserve Funds, he doesn't want schools to be hoarding tax payers dollars anymore, so he will change it so the funds don't have to be used for these capital projects, and we will be able to use it to keep taxes down and save jobs and fund the budget when needed.
Also to the point about fundraising. They have had 3 years to do fundraising, why didn't they start then and where are the pledges now. As Jerry McGuwier said SHOW ME THE MONEY!!!!!

Rocketboy said...

"It is about allowing the people to speak once again. "

Why.. because we were wrong the first time because the voter's conclusion wasn't the BoE's?

"It may be worth taking a moment to examine your own life and try and think if you always made the rights choice on the first attempt. I am sure you have had times where you did something the second time and said, man why didn't I do this the first time around."

Again.. so I must have been wrong, right? Either way, that still does not explain how this 'new' proposal is different enough for me to change my mind.

"Democracy is about chances, not a one shot deal."

And when it becomes about "Keep voting until you vote right", there is something terribly wrong going on.

"You should understand there are people who support it and they have a right too."

Sure they do.. and they, shockingly enough, had their vote already heard. And the "no's" won out.

It's not a matter of me "worry"ing that the Yes's will win, but how the BoE is treating us like children, that we can't be trusted to make the correct decisions. We said no. Why is that so hard for the BoE to understand?

Instead, we get a BoE that crams budgets down our throats and threaten to practically kick kids out into the street to learn if we don't rubber stamp everything that they want. The rejection of the last budget should have been a wake-up call that more and more people are tired of they way things have ran.

Money =/= education. Having to pay off teachers because it's too expensive to fire them =/= education. Sports facilities that will only be used by a small subset of the school =/= education.

As a side note.. what's wrong with Emmet Belknap? Wouldn't improving existing facilities be more cost effective than building yet another?

Anonymous said...

"I don't think you would find a single person who supports this project who wouldn't support other updates to the buildings in the LCSD. Many of us agree that the elementary buildings need updating. When it comes time to push for those projects, all you need to do is ask us to come out and support it and we will."

Who is going to push for these projects and we are asking to you to come out and support it. Vote no for the sports complex, and tell the board members and administrators why. Because there are more pressing needs that need to be addressed first.

Jack Smith said...

Rocketboy- Been following along with great interest this debate. You have made some reasonably intelligent objections and arguments. What really bothers me is that we are in agreement on this issue. I may have to change my position and vote yes for the sports complex in Ken-Ton. LOL!

Rocketboy said...

Jack... Why you!!! :) (I actually lol'd)... At least that goes to show that I'm either for or against ideas, and not the specific people behind them. Of course, that won't stop anyone from thinking that I'm either always for what one person says, or always against what someone else says. :)

Anonymous said...

Hey Jack, are you related to Yoda?(just kidding)

4LP said...

Emmet cannot be used because the field is too narrow for soccer and lacrosse. There is currently no running water to the concessions and that also defeats the purpose of playing HS sports at the HS.

As far as the random complaints about teachers, have you heard the LCSD teachers union agreed on a new contract for next year? From my understanding they are taking a net loss from this year. Be careful bringing them into this when they have had nothing to do with it.

As far as the lights go, you should already know that it costs money to get into games at LHS. That money would be used to offset the cost of additional people on night games. Just because there was a problem years ago does not mean it shouldn't be given a second chance.

This seems to be a common thread in this forum. Let's not do anything we have tried and didn't like. Let's not attempt to make change for our community. Let's just stand still. Now what is that really going to do for Lockport? We are already in the dumps.

I would love to see the other buildings receive the help they need. When is the meeting at the Old Post Office to get that ball rolling?

Anonymous said...

"As far as the lights go, you should already know that it costs money to get into games at LHS. That money would be used to offset the cost of additional people on night games. Just because there was a problem years ago does not mean it shouldn't be given a second chance."
They already have problems at the High School when Basketball games are going on. They always have to have police there to make sure things don't get out of hand. I highly doubt Friday night games will be any different than in the past, and will probably only be worse.

"As far as the random complaints about teachers, have you heard the LCSD teachers union agreed on a new contract for next year? From my understanding they are taking a net loss from this year. Be careful bringing them into this when they have had nothing to do with it."
I didn't see any complaints about teachers and there shouldn't be either. I know they made concessions on this last 1 yr agreement and they shouldn't have but they were threaten by Carbon that if they didn't they would be cutting all non-mandataed programs. I just hope the Administrators are ask to make the same concessions.
"Emmet cannot be used because the field is too narrow for soccer and lacrosse. There is currently no running water to the concessions and that also defeats the purpose of playing HS sports at the HS."
I bet Lacross is the first sports program that will get cut. And as for the field, I'm sure it will be cheap to fix it up enough to make it work for all sports. And you can
add the running water and it will still be cheaper than building something brand new. Also you can keep the soccer and lacross at the high school fields. And lots of schools play there games away from their high school, pools and soccer fields are at middle schools all the time. It would be sad to have the games leave Emmett, its a tradition.

Anonymous said...

What are the random complaints about teachers? We respect the teachers, we have many awesome teachers here. Let's not kid ourselves though, this is their bread and butter and push comes to shove, they will defend this. The fault lies more with the people on the board who have been getting relatives and friends and their friend's kids employment in the school district and that's just not right and needs to stop! If anything the complaint here is with the board!

Rocketboy said...

"This seems to be a common thread in this forum. Let's not do anything we have tried and didn't like. Let's not attempt to make change for our community. Let's just stand still. Now what is that really going to do for Lockport? We are already in the dumps."

This really will be the final thing I have to say on the Sports Complex, (unless Jack pops in again.. :)).

If you honestly think that that this forum does not want to try to make Lockport better, and if you honestly think that nobody here wants change, I'm not sure how I can carry on any further discussions with you. The only way you could come to this conclusion is if you already had your mind set that we were all nay-sayers.

Heck, I'm probably one of the few here who support the Flight of Five (and yes, this is something I'm totally cool with spending state money on, because, well, the canal is something that the state is ultimately responsible for). I can't speak enough about how much better the city looks with Main Street redone, or how nice the City Center is. I wish nothing but good luck to the group trying to get an Ice Rink going (and if they do, and they offer Curling, I'll be first in line). I've also volunteered my time to help in the gardens in the city.

But yes, nobody here wants to improve Lockport, and I'm sure that I'm the number one bell ringer for driving Lockport into the ground.

Also, to clarify my previous statement, total money spent per student =/= better education. Having to pay off a teacher in general (but there's a recent example that I could point to) because it would cost too much to fire them =/= education.

Anonymous said...

I guess my opinion is you have to have it one way - do you approve of using tax dollars for civic improvements, i.e. sports, flight of 5 and housing visions - or do we recognize the gov't doesn't have unlimited funds?
My opinion is the state ed dept already has these dollars put away, they are going to be spent somewhere, why not here?
If the flight of 5 and HV dollars are already sitting there and will be spent somewhere, grab them. If they need a fresh appropriation - then the state shouldn't allocate those dollars.

4LP said...

I fully agree with the comment on the BOE getting jobs for locals/family/friends. There is a need for new blood in our schools. They should be hiring the best teachers they can find. Not just the ones who have an in.

Anonymous said...

Yes, we should always hire the best out of town talent we can. I think it's nuts that probably a total of 10% of our teachers live in Lockport, they should all be from out of town!
Obviously our schools aren't good enough to produce good teachers, I can't believe we would even interview Lockport people for jobs.
What are they thinking even looking at helping local people stay in the area????

4LP said...

You missed the point. If the best teachers live in the area then great. But should the daughter in law of a board member be hired because of who she knows? Or what about the son of a Niagara professor who has connections with adjunct teachers from Lockport?

Anonymous said...

my post from earlier today is gone, I asked a simple question is the field at Emmett being used for football? the reason I'm asking is that 4LP claims the field is too small for soccer. If you can play football on it then it should be fine for soccer so who's saying it's not big enough? a soccer field for high school needs to be between 100 - 120 yards by 60-85 yards I think.

Anonymous said...

Yes, local people should be hired over out of town people assuming they are equal (which in these cases could very well be true). And anyone hired should be forced to live in Lockport. I agree with the previous poster, there are very few Lockport BOE employees that actually live in Lockport nowadays.
Hometown people should have an advantage.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure what the dimension are of the field at Emmett but I don't think length is a problem. Both fields need to be 120 yards. But the soccer field is any where from 165 feet to 225 feet wide, whereas the football field is 160 feet. I would think that there is enough room before you get to the track to support that extra width for the soccer field. And the player benches for soccer could be moved to the track if needed.
But I would think even if you had to redo the track to accomodate a new mulitpurpose turf field that it would still be a lot cheaper to do it at the Emmett site rather than build something brand new.
What are the 3 R's of conservation: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. Lets do the same for this project.

4LP said...

Placing a turf field where soccer, football and lacrosse would practice inside of a track would cause a few other issues. First, have you ever walked by the Emmett track in the middle of the day, or when no practices are going on? Community members, especially the elder type, use the track for walking. This is a service provided to them with no charge. Many other schools lock up their track. We do not.

Also, having lacrosse practicing inside the field at Emmett would also be a problem for the track teams (high school and modified) because you would need to put protective screens up all around the field to keep them safe from 80mph shots. Not to mention the conflicts with track events.

Additionally, moving practices for all of those teams over to Emmett makes little sense. The athletic trainer, locker rooms, and other services are at LHS. The field would not just be for games. It would be for practices as well. Not to mention to over 1,000 students in the districts largest school building who will use it during PE.

In attending some of the meetings and reading the information it is clear why this has not been considered (and it has been considered). Also remember, this is not just making a turf field at LHS. It is giving TLC to all of the activity and physical education spaces behind LHS.

I agree, reduce, reuse, recycle. But also, keep in mind you need a build once in a while too!

Anonymous said...

So the sports complex would not have a track? That's stupid then. And what does the community using the track have to do with anything. Its our track, paid for with our dollars. Heck, down in Newfane there are times when anyone from the community can use their pool.
No one said both Track and Lacrosse need to practice at the same time or the same place for that matter. I would imagine scheduling practice for 4 soccer teams and 2 football teams at the new sports complex is going to be difficult as is.
If you just attend meetings with information presented by people trying the get the Sports Complex completed, I doubt you are hearing all the best options and both sides of the story.
But bottom line is the budget. Expenses will be going up. Revenues will be going down. Cuts will be needed once again. Its going to be Preschool, Library, Music and Art this year. If things keep up it will be Sports next year. Carbone only wants this for her legacy.
As for PE class, unless things have changed a lot in the last 15 years, we never really got outside much let alone needed a football field or soccer field or lacrosse. The gym, pool, tennis courts, soft ball field, where the most used. We tried lacrosse once but it was too dangerous when you play with non-athletes.

Anonymous said...

As much as I wanted to love this project. I feel the "Sales Pitch" from the High School Athletic Department had some serious issues to consider:

1. Figures given were based on 2008 costs.

2. Parking on School premises is estimated only at 400 plus availability on Lincoln and Locust Streets. Hardly enough for a 3000 seat stadium capacity.

3. Maintanance is figured as a wash, but realistically speaking, I find that to be difficult considering the fact that there will be many more things to tend to. ie: cleanup, bathrooms, concessions, locker rooms, press box, etc. plus lets not forget the regular maintanance of the other fields with their newer amenities.

4. Good possibility of having to utilize police or other paid personnel to direct traffict on busy sporting events.

5. Projected replacement fees are based on current prices of turf plus the anticipation of state grant money to cover the cost.

6. Upgraded security against vandalism not considered in cost.

Anonymous said...

Here's a link if you agree we can't afford this right now. http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/nomeansno/signatures

4LP said...

"1. Figures given were based on 2008 costs."

Yes and if the BOE puts this up for another vote the tax payers will have new numbers to look at.

"2. Parking on School premises is estimated only at 400 plus availability on Lincoln and Locust Streets. Hardly enough for a 3000 seat stadium capacity. "

True, but you also have parking over at Charles Upson and nearby Kenan Center. For large venues that may come once in a while a parking plan will need to be placed in action. Not to mention we are a walking city with sidewalks.

"3. Maintanance is figured as a wash, but realistically speaking, I find that to be difficult considering the fact that there will be many more things to tend to. ie: cleanup, bathrooms, concessions, locker rooms, press box, etc. plus lets not forget the regular maintanance of the other fields with their newer amenities. "

Call it more difficult, but 7 other school districts indicated it was a wash or savings. I am sure they are not lying about it to their tax payers.

"4. Good possibility of having to utilize police or other paid personnel to direct traffict on busy sporting events."

This is already being done at regular football games in the fall. Lacrosse and soccer do not need police to get fans out. The LCPD already is willing to help direct traffic out at no additional cost because the LCSD pays to have officers on duty at football games and large events,

"5. Projected replacement fees are based on current prices of turf plus the anticipation of state grant money to cover the cost. "

Good question. We should see what the cost of turf has been over the past 10 years. Also, state aid will not be going away. It came into play many years ago and would bankrupt every school district in the state if they pulled it away. Not to mention the turf will last at least 10 years. Plenty of time to put away money to replace it without state aid if needed.

"6. Upgraded security against vandalism not considered in cost."

LHS already has those outside cameras in place. I cannot imagine it costing more than a few thousand dollars to extend them to the turf field. The field also has a fence around it that would need to be hopped. Do you have security to protect vandalism of your home? Or do you have a little faith in your neighbors to look out for you?

Anonymous said...

I just signed this petition a few days ago and thought it may be appropriate here for anyone interested, please tell your friends too:

www.ipetitions.com/petitions/nomeansno

Anonymous said...

Just checked it's actually:

www.ipetitions.com/petition/nomeansno

The Phantom said...

Why do we have to wait for another vote to see the updated 2011 numbers?? If the numbers are not so scary, present them NOW.

As for location, the intersection of Lincoln and Locust and cross streets is already stretched to capacity as it is, judging by the past traffic studies done. Adding more traffic to the equation cannot be done without street improvements.

The district is already bracing for a doomsday budget this year. They simply cannot afford ANY increases in costs wherever they may lie. And you cannot tell me with a straight face this project will be "FREE". I'm not buying it...

The Phantom

Jack Smith said...

Check today's Buffalo News story by Tom Precious. http://www.buffalonews.com/city/article328304.ece?order=F&page=1

Anonymous said...

"This is already being done at regular football games in the fall. Lacrosse and soccer do not need police to get fans out. The LCPD already is willing to help direct traffic out at no additional cost because the LCSD pays to have officers on duty at football games and large events"

Yes we are all morons. We believe everything you tell us. I recall Chief Eggert telling the City it wouldn't cost any more money to switch the dispatch over either.....

This whole revote comes down to the fact that our district could save $250,000 doing it now rather than when we said no in 2008. If Mr. Burke can get $886,000 thru fundraising now, than lets wait till things get better with New York State's economy and then he can raise the additional $250,000!

Quite frankly, we are sick and tired of being made to feel like fools and that we didn't know better before!

4LP said...

Phantom- no one in this forum has said this will be FREE. On the other hand, we could argue that this will not cause an increase in YOUR school taxes. Bottom line, the state IS taking money for schools to complete capital projects and other schools WILL use this money if we don't. Take it as you may, you are going to get screwed one way or another in the deal. Either let the state take your money and build something nice in Lockport. Or let the state take your money and build something nice somewhere else. Your choice.

The numbers for 2011 are not scary. As a matter of fact, the school district recently found out they are under budget for the capital improvements to LHS. By the way, you do realize the capital reserve fund cannot be used to help out in any other way but by making capital improvements to buildings? I wish people would stop insisting the money can be better spent elsewhere when by law it cannot be.

Jack, thanks for the link. It will be interesting to see what the Gov. comes up with. More importantly, to see how the elected officials make sure that it changes so they all get their pork projects in.

Anonymous 6:32, are you saying you are all set to vote yes should those who support the project can come up with another $250,000? If so, consider it done. No one is making you feel like fools. Democracy is about debating facts. Take the emotion out and realize part of this is that people have changed their mind and want another chance to vote.

Rocketboy said...

Nomeansno?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7gtK_4gyf0M&feature=related

The Phantom said...

I'm not saying the capital improvement funds can be spent elsewhere, we realize that and we're not as uneducated on the fact as you'd like to believe. And yes, the numbers for state aid for EDUCATION are going to be scary. This week, the Gov. releases his budget, and you will see the cuts to education. I just cannot justify building a non-academic luxury item, when our education system is suffering drastic cuts! Personally, I wouldn't feel good about myself if the libraries close, music programs are cut, and teachers are laid off, but I vote to give the football stadium lights and new turf.

So if this project isn't going to be free, then who will be paying the upkeep and administrative costs?? Where do you think that money will come from?? Yep, school taxes. You know, the taxes that I took an extra 7% hit on last year. You may be able to build it with other people's money, but I will be paying for upkeep and maintenance. Convince me otherwise.

And while we are talking capital improvements, why not use the funds to improve the educational aspects of the antiquated elementary schools we have left. Improve the classrooms, update the heating systems efficiency etc. I see that as a better way to spend the money.

You can't keep pushing for a vote until you get the results you want. What's done is done.

4LP said...

You can keep pushing for a vote until you get the results you want. We live in the USA, not China.

I am sorry your local school taxes went up and you have a right to be upset. However, we are taking about your state taxes here and no matter what you do on the local level, this will continue and you will watch school after school complete upgrades like this.

You are as uneducated as I thought. This is not a football field and lights. It is a multi-million dollar renovation to all of the athletics spaces behind LHS. This includes redoing the softball fields, climbing walls for PE and the other three fields in the back.

Anonymous said...

anon from 1-28-11 "I'm not sure what the dimension are of the field at Emmett but I don't think length is a problem. Both fields need to be 120 yards. But the soccer field is any where from 165 feet to 225 feet wide"

A high school soccer field need to be 100'-120' long and 60'-85' wide, almost the same size as the football field, therefore the field at Emmett is fine for soccer. I'd like to know who is saying they can't use Emmett for soccer? It's interesting all the "reasons" why this complex needs to be built!

The Phantom said...

Oh wow, my mistake. I failed to include the all important softball fields in my generalization of the project. So sorry to offend all the high school girls softball fans out there with my so obvious omission. Please.

And yes, you can rally for your cause to sway people to vote your way, that's fine. But the vote has ALREADY happened!!! We already voted once and it was only two years ago, so why re-visit something that had been decided??

Perhaps you're not paying enough state and local taxes, but guess what? I am! And we can't take it any more!! What you want to perpetuate is the tax and spend ideal and that's not the direction we need to continue. We must take a stand somewhere!!

Anonymous said...

"You are as uneducated as I thought. This is not a football field and lights. It is a multi-million dollar renovation to all of the athletics spaces behind LHS. This includes redoing the softball fields, climbing walls for PE and the other three fields in the back."

Yes we get it. We're not uneducated. We just try to look at this whole project realistically and how it will end up affecting us. We've already said no, and not because we didn't know better. You can spin it all you want

The "we deserve this" and "you're just letting every other town/city get our money" is starting to wear on us all. No meant no!

4LP said...

No does mean no if you are talking about certain things. However, in the political arena no means you need to make concessions and try again. The excuse that keeps being used in this blog is that the tax payers have already spoken. Yes, they have to the old proposition, but this one is new.

Perhaps they will speak no again. If that is the case then it is time the LCSD reviews the proposition again. Bottom line is no does not always mean no.

The Phantom said...

You cannot pick and choose when no means no and when to try and try again. If, in the political arena, you are to "try again" then we should be voting on all public offices every year, not as we do now.

And I still fail to see how the new proposition has changed except for the POTENTIAL lowering of reimbursement rates. Show me a comparison side by side of the old, and then the new proposition and highlight the changes for me, pro and con. Go on, educate us as you say. Show me what MAJOR changes have occurred since the last proposal, deadline aside.

I look forward to the "education" and enlightenment.

Anonymous said...

Too bad whiners, you are going to vote again!!!

4LP said...

It is not you that I seek to educate. It is those who seek the education.

There are plenty of people on both sides of the fence who are happy to discuss the propostion and it's potential.

I am not here discussing the proposition to convince anyone. Rather, countering the continued respose of we have already voted.

You are totally incorrect in saying that we should vote each year. Your comparision to this situation is totally incorrect. It has been two years since this proposition went down. The same number of years that member of the House get.

I would also beg to argue that $1,000,000 is a MAJOR change. You cannot deny the extra $250,000 in state aid and $750,000 from the supporters of the project.

Rocketboy said...

Really? The people who don't want to vote again for the same thing are the whiners? We've accepted what the vote was. We're not the ones holding our breath until we turn blue to try to get what we want.

Anonymous said...

"By the way, you do realize the capital reserve fund cannot be used to help out in any other way but by making capital improvements to buildings?"

So lets make Capital "Improvements" to our buildings. Lets not build a new unnecessary structure, lets IMPROVE our current buildings.

Like I said before we don't have the adequate space and resourses for education in the elementary buildings so lets fix them first. Lets SAVE money by making our buildings more energy effecient.

I just read an article about schools possibily having to cut full day kindergarten!!! Wouldn't that be great for our children and parents! No Preschool, No full day Kindergarten. Higher School taxes. But we will still have 4 Superindents making over $120K a year and a brand new state of the art Sports Complex. Bravo Lockport! Makes me really want to stay and keep my children in this school District. Starpoint or DeSales here I come!!!

Anonymous said...

"Really? The people who don't want to vote again for the same thing are the whiners? We've accepted what the vote was. We're not the ones holding our breath until we turn blue to try to get what we want."

The biggest problem with a re-vote, is not even that we already voted no and are afraid of the outcome this time. Its the fact that our Administrators and BOE are wasting time and MONEY trying to purpose this again, when there are MUCH BIGGER issues that need attention. If they had any foresite to begin with we wouldn't have had to close 2 schools last year so drastically. They could've fadded them out and not hire those 10 or more teachers over the last 4 years. They need to have some foresight with this project and the current situation and focus on improving our current Educational facilites and find ways to cut the budget and not just keep it the same or only small increase. We need to make CUTS not trim the budget.

The Phantom said...

You talk like the $750,000 (and I believe its actually more) is already in the bank and ready to spend. IT'S NOT!!! You assume that the money will be easy to raise, and I point to an imaginary ice rink in downtown and a YMCA sign behind Tops that's been there for as long as I can remember.

You cannot expect me to approve something with funds that aren't even there!!

Ok son, you can't play the trumpet this year, and you can't go to the school library, and there will be 10 more kids in your class this year, but you can go out back and play softball at night under the new lights. Can anyone else feel the disconnect here?? Leaves a bad taste in my mouth, and makes me feel like I'm letting the kids as a whole down...

4LP said...

I cannot agree more with doing more to the elementary schools. Push that and you have my support and that of many others. I understand the desire to spend less, and think making a few cuts here and there are a good thing.

Remember, this project is to renovate all of the spaces behind LHS for the entire student body. You only give credit to a few sports. You say you feel bad for kids, but what about the over 1,000 students at LHS who will use the turf field more than the grass during PE. Or the thousands of youth soccer players who will play in tournaments in Lockport each year. Or the music students who perform a concert under the stars (oh wait do not need to do that, they will have a "state of the art aud" in the fall, right?) The BOE should have never split the original prop because it was to be an entire makeover of the HS.

Oh and by the way, please stop using the ice arena and YMCA as examples. They cannot be used because they are not subject to the same monies that a school district is capable of getting through state aid.

The Phantom said...

The concept with the YMCA and the ice rink is the same. They both need to raise the necessary funds to complete their project, and thus far, have failed to do so. I don't see the citizens of Lockport beating down their doors check book in hand ready to contribute. What makes you think they will do so for the athletic complex?? Especially after last years school budget debacle and this year being no different. So yes, thank you, I will use those examples as I see fit. After all, I am entitled to my opinion, this isn't China right 4LP??

My question which has yet to be answered, is why haven't they attained the financial backing they needed over the last two years to bring to the equation. Over the last two years, NOTHING has been done to raise the money needed, or to show any commitment to the project. So why should I as a New York State taxpayer want my money to go to the project??

I love the reference to holding your breath until you get what you want. Its exactly what the proponents of this project are doing. Trying to rush this through under the guise of the money disappearing. I know the citizens of Lockport are smart enough to see through this field of B.S.

Anonymous said...

"I cannot agree more with doing more to the elementary schools. Push that and you have my support and that of many others."

I am pushing for it and asking you to do the same. I have emailed the BOE memebers. Have you? But voicing this concern or desire to the BOE is not going to get anything accomplished. It has be something one of the several Superintendents brings to the table and gets a survey done, hire a consultant or something. So now the only thing we can do is VOTE NO on the sports complex and tell them we want other capital improvements first.

Also to the point about PE classes using the field, its not going to happen and will not be that significant either. Plus you say 1000 students at the HS, well what about the majority of this districts students who are going to use a Sports Complex or the new Aud and fitness center, etc, because they are not in HS yet! Lets spread the wealth around to all the buildings and all the students or the kids and their parent wont stick around for HS in LKPT.

Concerned Lockport Parent said...

Believe it or not there are so many people who are against this sports complex right now and suprisingly enough they are parents, senior citizens and even teachers. Just because they weren't at the BOE meeting means nothing. Everyone knew in advance what that was going to be all about.

Bottom line is we're heading for more and more cuts and there's a good chance it will have an affect on our sports programs.

Let's do what is right for the taxpayers in these difficult times and we can teach our kids about being responsible and living within our means too. I have to agree that we voted no 2 years ago and that should be enough!

Concerned Parent taxpayer & city booster said...

Supporters - you should give up on this forum as no one is listening, they are just stating their opinions. It has been mentioned the reimbursement rate is higher now, the supporters are going to raise most of the rest, it will lower maint costs, it will give the city something to be proud of, and if we don't build it someone else (probably on Long Island) will use the dollars as the dollars are already allocated - the state won't just not spend it. Also activities such as graduations couldbe held there saving the district thousands of dollars over Artpark. And again, this is just like the locks of 5 and the HV project, it's state money and shouldn't effect the city taxpayers.
The dissenters want the money used to improve the other schools (which it can't be, due to the arcane state rules it must be used as part of another capital project like the current high school one), want it used to save half day kindergarten, or other stuff which it can't be used for. They are saying cuts are coming this year (which might very well be true) so why add stuff, but this project and cuts are not related one bit. They also don't want it voted on again even though the financial situation has changed, it is now less expensive to do.
Anyway, neither group here is going to change anyones opinion - why add fuel to it?

MJ said...

As a side note: I think if the YMCA and Ice Rink had 87-93% state reimbursement, they would have been done by now. Though building the YMCA behind a soon to be vacated Walmart is a missed opportunity so I'm glad no earth as been moved there.

The funds are "in the bank" and out of our pockets. Hence having reserve funds.

I'm actually surprised by the number of people vocally speaking out against it. I see the "higher" motive although in the end we will most likely not notice much different here, besides the lack of an upgraded complex.

I feel our biggest loss was the neighborhood schools last year. Unfortunately these funds or the state capitol reimbursment have nothing to do with their closing.

Some interesting statistics:
-------------------------------
"New York public schools spend more per pupil overall ($15,546) than nearly any other state and 61 percent above the national average. New York ranks first in per pupil spending for school district employee salaries ($7,328, or 71 percent above the national average) and benefits ($2,901, which is 109 percent above the national average). This reflects both strong local tax effort and significant State spending on education.

In recent years, during the Wall Street boom, School Aid increased at a rapid and unsustainable rate. Even after the year-to-year reduction to School Aid proposed in this Executive Budget, State support for education would still have increased by $6.1 billion or 42 percent compared to 2003-04 � twice the rate of inflation (19 percent) during that period."
---------------------

This highlites the main issues. Most of the hurt comes from structural costs and throwing unsustainable money at educational problems. We can hold a symbolic refusal here to save the state 0.0002% of its 28 billion dollars of arts and education spending. I'd just hope that the rest of the state will do the same.

It's nice to see the participation on both sides. You never know where it may end up or what totally new ideas will emerge.

Anonymous said...

go ask them what it will cost to use the lights for 1 game,they don't have a clue they held a special meeting a few years back for people whos lots met up with the proposed fields,they had no clue on any of it

4LP said...

$75 per hour to run the lights. 3x as many spectators on Friday night games. Your cost is covered and then some.

The lights have come a long way in recent years. You are dating yourself by thinking that they will flood the area and surrounding houses. I suppose Transit Rd. already does that, since you can see the cloud of light from miles away.

Before you throw comments out that you cannot back up, please do the research. It is amazing what people do not know because they assume the know the answers.

I support this project for a number of reasons, but most importantly because I have asked the questions and asked for hard proof. I am not listening to the call in shows, or the blab that people have to say elsewhere.

Check the facts and you will realize you are wrong about the lights.

Anonymous said...

The facts were they didn't know the answers when I asked so the engineer actually called during the meeting & told me 80 per hour & I asked per light & he replied yes, I was there & did ask questions

4LP said...

I would insist you double check your answer or rephrase it to an engineer. I am pretty certain your are incorrect. It does not cost that much.

Anonymous said...

Yeah im just telling you what they told me,when I asked the question mrs carbons said i'd like to know what its going to cost too

Anonymous said...

Yeah im just telling you what they told me,when I asked the question mrs carbons said i'd like to know what its going to cost too

Anonymous said...

Here's what I found from another high school's lighting proposal - I'm sure ours will be similar - $25/hour

Due to significant improvements in technology and energy efficiency, the electrical consumption of the lights has been reduced significantly from previous field lighting systems. In fact, the “Light Structure Green” system that will be used for the proposed project will provide a 40% reduction in the average kW usage. This is a significant reduction in energy consumption from that of the older generation lighting systems. In addition, the “Smart Lamp” operating system for controlling the lights’ on/off schedule will result in a 66% increase in operating efficiency. Given the cost of energy and the increased focus on “going green”, these two features were an important consideration in the development of this proposed project. Due to this increased energy efficiency and operating efficiency, the electrical costs to operate the lights are approximately $25.00 per hour in total for all of the stadium lights. This totals approximately $100.00 per night football game and will easily be offset by gate receipts.

Anonymous said...

Well the engineering firm that was presenting the complex told me $80 an hour, that's $320 per game anyways I checked out a website that makes the lights & it said it costs. $.14 per kwh per light,what that equals I don't have any clue

Anonymous said...

Put the sports complex idea to bed, 16.1 decrease in state aid for 2011-2012,to even bring it to a vote would be idiotic!

Anonymous said...

Yes enough is enough! I like the fact that the proponents are convinced that everyone thinks the "momentum" for this project is buidling. That is just propaganda. Let's get real! THIS IS NOT THE TIME! Can't wait to see it get voted down again and maybe while this is up for a re-vote, we can see some new School Board members be replaced as well.

4LP said...

16.1 decrease in state aid does not change the 93% state aid ratio we have to capital projects voted on by the public. If it is brought to a vote, then let the voters speak their opinion with the changes that were made.

You can sit and say now is not the time, but remember, other schools statewide will renovate athletics fields, build sports complexes and spend the money guaranteed by the Constitution of the State of New York.

Oh and don't forget, the Lockport teachers took a pay cut in their contract for this year to save jobs. Those who teach the students are doing their part, yet the community wants to allow spending to occur in other places in the state and not in their hometown. Sure makes a lot of sense.

Anonymous said...

Did the teachers actually take a pay cut or did they not get their annual increase?

Anonymous said...

What the heck, where is the 16.1 decrease come from? There are some messed up people who scream the sky is falling with stupid facts.
This project is already budgeted for by the state, and if we don't so it someone else will - AND WE WILL STILL PAY FOR IT IF IT'S 'THERE' OR HERE!
It should lower costs, it's paid for already, the boosters are going to raise the extra money, it's a NO-BRAINER - BUT thats why the inteligent citizens of Lockport will probably vote no.............

The Phantom said...

Again, what changes were made from the last vote 4LP??? The only thing that has changed is that a small group of people has said they would TRY to raise the money through fundraising and donations. Other than that, what has changed??

What this really is, is an attempt at a money grab at the sacrifice of every taxpayer in New York State. We complain about our taxes being high, yet we do nothing to change the tax and spend attitude in NYS. We must draw the line somewhere!!

A board member predicted a $5 million shortfall for the budget. To build this now would be like buying a Ferrari and not being able to afford the gas. I don't care how much reimbursement is. Any cost is too much to bear.
Citywide reassessment. Rising gas prices. Rising food prices. Garbage user fee. We cannot afford ANY tax increase to maintain this project for the long run.

The vote is done. Get over it.

4LP said...

Or it would be a like first time homebuyers who are eager to buy and see that the federal government will give them an $8,000 credit to do so. I get that people in Lockport want to save the State, but it will never happen. So as the homeowner took advantage of the market, so shall we.

Or should the homeowner have continued to rent and said, "no, I shouldn't buy this nice home because the economy is bad." It is called playing the market and now is the time to do so.

And, from my understanding the teachers did not seek their annual raises to help the LCSD save money. They also are rumored to have made concessions in other areas as well.

Anonymous said...

Phantom what don't you get... if we don't use this money some other school district will - it's really simple.
I agree, if no one in the state would agree to these projects and the state would agree to put the money back in to school budgets, I'd be all for it. But they aren't!
So, are you against the homeowner credits, the HV project, the flight of 5 and Canal St - all subsidized projects??

Anonymous said...

Posters like 4LP are grasping. LCSD teachers did not take pay cuts, new hired teachers were reassigned to jobs they were not hired for rather than face layoff and now the soon to be news that Washington Hunt Elem. will be closing. Terry, the Board and the like can be assured that my family will be voting no.

Anonymous said...

Teachers salaries/pay scales are staying the same but they are losing their ability to earn and get paid for their Career Credits which is usually $1000 a year. These Career Credits are still required for most teachers in order to keep their certification but now they will not get paid for it and it will get harder to earn them. In lieu of this concession the teachers will get a $250 or $750 raise. So its a net loss overall. And they were told to accept this contract or face more lay offs as they would cut all non-mandated programs, ie preschool, library, music, art, full day K, SPORTS.

So the real question is will Terry take another 5% or $9K raise this year???

Anonymous said...

Andrew Cuomo took aim at superintendents in his budget address on Tuesday. He lamented that they make more money than the governor.

Cuomo earns $170,050, after cutting his pay 5 percent.

"Why they get paid more than the governor of the State of New York, I really don't understand. If it's about the students, then let's find savings within the bureaucracy,” Cuomo said.

The Buffalo News reports that 40 percent of the state’s superintendents earn more than $200,000

Carbone makes $180K. But the real problem I have is the other 3 superintendents that are making $120K+, do we really need that many administrators running this small of a district? If the vote for the sports complex included the elimination of some of these positions to help cover the Districts portion I might actually consider it!

Anonymous said...

uh no the complex isn't budgeted it needs to get submitted then they let you know

4LP said...

Perhaps we should pose the question, does the Gov. proposed budget and cuts directly impact how this capital improvement project would be funded? The answer is no.

In the face of the same cuts a few years ago, with more teacher lay offs, increases in taxes, and a failed school budget, the tax payers of Lockport approved a 23 million dollar renovation to be paid for with taxpayer dollars from across the State. In the face of similar circumstances, the tax payers could approve a similar project that was part of the original deal (too bad the BOE split it) this year, but why not?

If we were willing spend our tax dollars then, why not now? Nothing has changed, nor will it change, within the State and the way they allow schools to spend money. Unless of course they change the Constitution of the State. But that will never happen.

Anonymous said...

The school was dated needed improvement,windows are drafty it was NEEDED,we do not need a sports complex !

Anonymous said...

If u want the complex so bad raise all the money,shouldn't have any problems then

Anonymous said...

jack smith werent you elected to city council not the board of education? if you have such an intrest in schools maybe you should run.tell me also 300,000 per low income apt.we could get an awful nice stadium if the city cut back on what will become another 77 main st.that will pay no taxes, is vastola heating getting the heat/ac work on your pet project...

Concerned Lockport Parent said...

Personally I find this whole back and forth banter quite humorous and have been tuning in to see what will be said next. But let's face it, with the daily reports on how bad things are in our state government, most people who would even support this under normal circumstances are worried and digusted that we even are to consider such a project now and plan on voting no.

Anonymous said...

Funny how taking a pay cut means not getting your contracted annual increase... Taking a pay cut for me means, "Sorry, but we have to pay you $---- less per hour." My boss hasn't been able to give out raises over the last 2 years, does that mean I've been taking a pay cut? Also Social Security pay hasn't gone up for the last few years either, I guess that means people relying on SSI have had to take a pay cut too.

Anonymous said...

"Funny how taking a pay cut means not getting your contracted annual increase... Taking a pay cut for me means, "Sorry, but we have to pay you $---- less per hour." My boss hasn't been able to give out raises over the last 2 years, does that mean I've been taking a pay cut? Also Social Security pay hasn't gone up for the last few years either, I guess that means people relying on SSI have had to take a pay cut too."

I guess you can't do the math. Most teachers are taking a $750 a year pay cut in addition to other concessions. Under the old contract teachers could earn an additional $1000 over the summer. Now they cannot. Instead their pay got increased $250.

Yes its only a small cut but its only a 1 year contract, where usually its 3 years and it would include a inflation increase to their salaries.

It sucks that you have not received an increase in pay over the last 2 years and at the same time Med Ins and Schools taxes for you probably have gone up. That is why this is a perfect time to vote no on this project as its a waste of tax payers dollars.

Anonymous said...

I keep reading comments from the supports of the Sports Complex stating that if we don't spend the money some other district will and I have a serious issue with this statement.

Who knows what other Districts are planning on doing with the money if they will be doing anything at all. Is it set in stone that another District will build a Sports Complex with the Capital Fund money? NO! Another District might be smarter or more conservative with this money and spend on their buildings to make them more engery efficent, improve the facilities to improve EDUCATION! If that is what another District is doing with the money I say GOD BLESS them for doing the right thing and hopefully they are near by so I can move there.

Secondly if we do pass this and use the State's money for this project does that really mean another District will not be able get approprations for their project too? Probably not, from what I hear its in the State's Constitution and that can't be changed.

So I don't really care about what other Districts are or aren't doing and what the State is going to do with the money if we don't build a Sports Complex. I just don't feel right pouring our tax dollars into a unneccessary project, especially when there are several other more deserving projects that need to be done.

Anonymous said...

I will repeat this phrase: "THIS IS A LUXURY NOT A NECESSITY!"

It would be much easier trying to sell me on the fact that we need to build an addition to an elementary school because students have to use a utility closet for classes or they have their library spilling out into the main hallway...

It's awfully funny that we must resort to personal attacks because people aren't buying what you have to say. Some people I guess have the guts to put their name out there, while others spew out absurdities.

4LP said...

For some reason you are forgetting the health, physical education, and athletics are a major part of EDUCATION. Don't forget that students are required to take PE. On the other hand, music, arts and technologies are non-mandated courses. How can you make such a claim that these items have no educational, and more over, community value?

Yes the elementary schools need change, and yes other schools need help too. Please remember this is not a stadium, or a sports complex, it is an entire renovation of all of the fields, athletic spaces, and PE spaces behind LHS.

Jack Smith said...

jack smith werent you elected to city council not the board of education? if you have such an intrest in schools maybe you should run.tell me also 300,000 per low income apt.we could get an awful nice stadium if the city cut back on what will become another 77 main st.that will pay no taxes, is vastola heating getting the heat/ac work on your pet project...

Yes, I was elected to the City Council, and every decision I make is from the view of a working class taxpayer who wants what is good for the "citizens" of Lockport and not for the administration. If I'm doing it wrong, then I apologize. When I weigh in on matters concerning the School District, I do so as a taxpayer whom I'm pretty sure has that right. Apparently, by your comments concerning the Canal Homes project, you either don't have all the facts or you simply wish to make a personal attack, which speaks volumes about your character. Whether the company I work for gets granted the bid for the project, or even submits a bid for the project, is totally out of my control. I do not bid on projects, estimate, or do sales of any kind, I strap on a tool belt everyday and follow the instructions of my superiors. I also am not part of the general contracting part of the Canal Homes project and have no say in that process either. So, if you wish to attact my character, please feel free to do so if it makes you feel better. I realize that as a public official this type of attack is to be expected and I accept it. Pleasenote that I am not afraid to state my opinions or positions and put my name on them.

Anonymous said...

Luckily from the ignorant tone of the name calling posters here chances are they are just here to make stupid comments and probably won't vote anyways.
And there are a lot of school districts intelligent enough to grab the 'free' money while it is there, for example Niagara Falls and Ken-Ton. Orchard Park, Clarence, Starpoint, Lew-Port and jamestown are just a few schools who have already improved their facilities.

Anonymous said...

"For some reason you are forgetting the health, physical education, and athletics are a major part of EDUCATION. Don't forget that students are required to take PE. On the other hand, music, arts and technologies are non-mandated courses. How can you make such a claim that these items have no educational, and more over, community value?

Yes the elementary schools need change, and yes other schools need help too. Please remember this is not a stadium, or a sports complex, it is an entire renovation of all of the fields, athletic spaces, and PE spaces behind LHS."

Sports are not mandated either and the biggest cost of this is for a Football/Soccer/Lacrosse Stadium with a turf field, lights and lockerroom. So eliminate those things and renovate just the things needed for PE and you have yourself a deal. Also instead of eliminating music, art and library why don't you cut all funding to sports. that would save the most money for the budget! in fact you probably could open Clinton or Pound again with the money you would be saving. Most of the highest salaries besides the Superintendents go to Burke and the Coaches.

And when I said EDUCATION I meant the foundation of education and the mandated cirriculum Reading, Writing, Math, Science, Geography. Lets get Lockports TEST scores up and not the Football scores up!

Anonymous said...

"And there are a lot of school districts intelligent enough to grab the 'free' money while it is there, for example Niagara Falls and Ken-Ton. Orchard Park, Clarence, Starpoint, Lew-Port and jamestown are just a few schools who have already improved their facilities."

That's great! I'm glad they did the same thing Lockport already did and improve their facilities. I hope they are planning on doing it again just to build a Sports Complex or renovate some baseball diamonds. I hope they use their money wisely on much needed updated to the school buildings.

4LP said...

Niagara fall is putting in multiple turf fields and renovations to their schools as one package. We should have done the same.

The athletics dept. is less than 1% of the districts overall budget. Be careful stating facts you do not know. And yes that is public knowledge, look it up. Coaches hardly make a dime with all the time and effort they put in to their programs, teams, and volunteer time.

Anonymous said...

wow jack smith mighty touchy about your pet project.how much is your new 77 main st. going to cost the city and school system in taxes.i was pointing out that you could have a personal stake in your 9 million dollar low income pet project.nothing more you sling mud pretty fast must have touch a nerve. thicken your skin

Anonymous said...

Food for thought:

Supt. Carbone salary through the last three years:

2008 $161,254
2009 $173,127
2010 $181,695

Ath. Dir. Burke salary through the last three years:

2008 $94,432
2009 $97,995
2010 $102,209

Reference: www.seethroughny.net

They can afford a tax increase. Can you??

Anonymous said...

4LP- "Coaches hardly make a dime with all the time and effort they put into their programs, teams, and volunteer time."

Thanks. That was the best laugh I've had in a while!

4LP said...

You are more than welcome. I am sure you cannot appreciate the hard work they put in. You obviously have your head stuck in the snowbank and are unaware of the time those coaches give up for our kids.

Anonymous said...

No, but I can tell you I've spent many, many, hours volunteering with no pay whatsoever, for the schools devoting my time and energy only for the satisfaction of helping out the kids and when I asked once if I could get the stipend and donate it back to the school's program so the kids could benefit, I was told that was not possible because the teacher's union's contract only allowed teachers to receive that pay and I would be taking away someone's money.

4LP said...

Then that is an argument to take up with the school district when they negotiate contacts. Not something that should be held against the coach. Plus, you are only looking at what they get paid during their season. You are forgetting the off season workouts, travel teams, youth leagues, and other things they do for these kids. They do not get paid, or ask to, for any of those things.

Anonymous said...

Look, no one holds anything against the school coaches. We as parents are appreciative of their dedication. Many of us also spend much of our free time volunteering in the community in different venues and get no compensation at all except for the hope of making our community a better place to live and being a good example to our children.

Anonymous said...

"The athletics dept. is less than 1% of the districts overall budget"

Does this include the coaching salaries or is that just lumped into the Teachers salaries in the Budget? And what about the maintenance costs for the sports, are those included in the Atheletic Dept budget or the general Building/Maintenance line. I'm an accountant and I know you can spin a budget to look anyway you want, so until I can see the full details behind the actual operating expenses for the Atheletic Dept I would seriously doubt its only 1% or $750K

Anonymous said...

http://niagara-gazette.com/local/x570483500/Official-Wrong-time-for-130M-Falls-school-project

NIAGARA FALLS — An Albany-based education reform group joined a former Board of Education member in suggesting that now is not the time for the Niagara Falls School District to bond $130 million for a districtwide capital projects plan.

While the district officials say the project will add no burden to local property taxes, Brian Backstrom, vice president of the Foundation for Education Reform & Accountability said taxpayers would ultimately foot the bill for a project the state cannot afford.

“There is little doubt that the state is not just in a financial crisis, but nearing economic ruin,” Backstrom said. “The school district is not just fool-hearty in thinking this money will magically materialize with no repercussion to John Q. Taxpayer, but is being irresponsible to residents from Montauk to Niagara Falls.”

MJ said...

Relevent quote.

If this is the case, the next state budgetshould put a freeze on the reinbursement or adjust it much lower. Or double tier it for more reinbursement for high poverty districts.

Until then, everyone plays by the same financial reimbursement rules.

The discussion here is very circular. Without detailed data presented by the "pro" side, the "anti" side has every reason to be skeptical.

Anonymous said...

MJ- That is why we don't want to vote yes! There are way too many unanswered questions and concerns.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with the quote, but the problem is the people in "Montauk" will build it if we don't!
The state program with the money is called Excel. Do an internet search for "excel capital projects NY" and you will see the amount of districts using this money.
Again, yes if the state was smart enough to grab all this money and put it towards schools budgets that would be ideal. They aren't smart enough to do it, so let's use the money since our taxes already filled the fund! let's not be stupid idealists who say, 'let's not use it and no one else will!'.

Anonymous said...

We should have a vote on this. Just make sure the proposal says if the money doesn't come through for some reason the project won't proceed.

4LP said...

I agree that we should be discussing the real pros/cons of the project with real numbers. The only way we can effectively do this is through the information provided by the LCSD BOE.

Unfortunately, many members of the community do not believe the district is providing them with reliable information. I think it is good practice for people to ask questions, however, the buck does stop with the BOE.

If they insist the project will not cause an increase in tax dollars, the members of the community should believe them. If the BOE lies to the tax payers, then they know who to complain to and hold accountable.

Thoughts?...

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with the quote, but the problem is the people in "Montauk" will build it if we don't!
The state program with the money is called Excel. Do an internet search for "excel capital projects NY" and you will see the amount of districts using this money.
Again, yes if the state was smart enough to grab all this money and put it towards schools budgets that would be ideal. They aren't smart enough to do it, so let's use the money since our taxes already filled the fund! let's not be stupid idealists who say, 'let's not use it and no one else will!'.

Unbelievable...This is the mentalilty we have to keep dealing with!

How about things seem shaky and unsure and we'd be better off holding off a few years. After all the people already said no.....

Anonymous said...

"If the BOE lies to the tax payers, then they know who to complain to and hold accountable.

Thoughts?..."

How do you hold them accountable? Send them our tax bills? Oh I know, remove them from office!!! I bet that will really scare them. Wait lets take away their salaries.

I'm sorry 4LP, some of your arguements made sense, but that last comment is idiotic! We don't wait to hold the BOE accountable after they screw up, we need to prevent them from screwing up!

4LP said...

Disagree with the idiotic comment there. I thought we were just debating the issues and expressing our thoughts. Obviously some of us aren't grown up enough to show some restraint.

I disagree with not allowing the BOE to do things. I think more importantly, people who are against the project should publicly voice their concerns and desire for more information to the BOE. Only then can they be held accountable to finding out information.

Anonymous said...

No you should show why we need to bring it to another vote

Jack Smith said...

Quite honestly I have no problem with the concept of the sports complex itself, and perhaps in the not too distant future it could become a reality. My primary concern is that this was already voted down and nothing significant has changed except for a small percentage of reimbursement which will be lost because of the increased cost of construction. That being said, I believe that if the BOE puts this up for another vote, it is a slap in the face of the District taxpayers. I also believe that if this does go for a vote, it will be soundly defeated again.

Anonymous said...

4LP another absurd comment. Why should people who voted no have to defend themselves and voice their concerns and desires to make the board accountable???? Trying to be reasonable with you will never work. I will again say if this does go to a re-vote, be prepared to see 4 new board members replacing those up for re-election. People have had enough!

MJ said...

Last warning on "name calling" etc. Keep it about the issues. I really don't feel like deleting whole comments but will if I have too.

Anonymous said...

Put the lights at emmet belknap along with the turf, nobody wants this in there backyard

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rocketboy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rocketboy said...

Anon 10:10.. Then don't live next to a school if you don't want school activities interfering with your life.

Anonymous said...

Sounds to me like the previous commenter had a beef with Mr. Smith. Unfortunately personal attacks will lessen one's credibility here.

Anonymous said...

Everything that goes on there now is fine, night games =fights,so sell my because I don't want bright lights in my backyard,most of the people who live on the street have lived there 30 years or more

Anonymous said...

The problem is if you look at all the schools that have "large sports complexes" the majority of them are not in residential neighborhoods such as ours. When LHS was originally built it was not an issue.

I think there potentially could be some serious issue with space. Ideally a high school with all these amenities should really have been put out towards the town with more land----just saying.

Rocketboy said...

Anon 3:21.. and in 20 years, if all goes well, people would be making the same complaint that the school is in a residential neighborhood.

MJ said...

One of my favorite facilities is in Binghamton right off of I-81 right in the city nestled on a hill side in a neighborhood. A wonderful facility that looks awesome driving past on a Friday night.

http://maps.google.com/maps?oe=UTF-8&q=binghamton+ny&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Binghamton,+Broome,+New+York&ll=42.113847,-75.885143&spn=0.003765,0.008497&t=h&z=17

Lockport is unique in that it is a hybrid school district (city-town). Still it should be dense. The high school and it's athletic fields should allow safe walking/biking. The current site allows that before sidewalks disappear across the town line. It should be accessible by all, not just those with private automobiles.

And in the long run, the best way to stop things from being built in your back yard is to buy it. Similar to new subdivisions that cry when another is built right next to them. The High school has been there for almost 60 years.

I'm pro-facility but admit the pro-group is severely lacking in the data/presentation to sell their idea to the masses. It's obvious the "great faciltiy with 93% reimbursement" is not enough to sell a majority of the voters. I'm curious to see if they put the additional effort in to lay everything out.

Anonymous said...

rocketboy so are you pro or con or are you just attacking people from both sides?

Anonymous said...

so if you dont want people jumping over your fence and walking through your yard when your in it then don;t buy a house near a school is what your saying?

Anonymous said...

I can tell you that having to drive around looking for parking and having to walk for blocks is a turnoff when you have to go to the high school. I've experienced this already during open house, concerts, and sports events, even when getting there 20 minutes early.

Rocketboy said...

Anon 4:49... I'm against it, but for real reasons, not the same nimby reasons that people who live near existing structures or busy streets do.

4:55... Yes. And if you don't want your house hit by golf balls, don't move next to a golf course either. You can quote me on that one if you'd like.

Anonymous said...

yeah that makes a lot of sense !

Anonymous said...

can you blame someone that is in their 80's who have lived in their homes for 60 years to be upset when they want to put up a stadium 20 foot from their property,super walmart was going to be triple that from badger dr & it was illegal & needed to get variances

Rocketboy said...

9:09... Yes, it does.

9:25... Can we stop trying to derail the discussion here again? How many people have lived in their houses for 60+years? And yes. I can blame someone who moves behind a mall, and complains about retail. Yes, I can blame someone who moves behind a school, and complains about school related things. It's like ordering chicken, and complaining that it's not steak. Also, I can blame someone who bangs some imaginary drum complaining that something is 'illegal' due to variances, when almost ANYTHING that is built requires a variance. Doubly so when the zoning laws are setup to give us wonderful seas of blacktop, driveways that go no-where, and, of course, cannot take in account special cases, of say, a mall property where one of the tenants actually owns the building and the land the building is on. Geesh...

There are much bigger issues that should cause the sports complex from being built other than "it's too close to my back yard". If "it's too close to my back yard" was a valid excuse not to do something, nothing would EVER get done. The world cannot stop because of your backyard.

Anonymous said...

Detail the conversation? Just because I don't want it for my reason doesn't make a wrong reason,where on the forum does it say don't talk about the sports complex if you don't want it because of the cost,it doesn't , & the ONLY time you need variances is when you DON'T have ENOUGH room!

Anonymous said...

By the way order chicken & complain its not steak, good job!

Rocketboy said...

6:19 deRail... yes. By talking about things (Walmart) that are not part of this post, there are already multiple posts about Walmart. Add to the discussion there. I'm not going to add to it here.

The mentality behind NIMBY makes it so nothing will ever change. Sure, don't like something because it's too close to your back yard, but expect people to call you out on it. Something is always near someone's back yard. We are talking about expanding existing facilities. Not bulldozing a neighborhood to build something.

Anonymous said...

Was typo deRail, regardless of what you say I have my reasons you can have yours on why it should not go up

Anonymous said...

was my previous post deleted because i called him jackie boy. or was it that i made mention of common council proceedings. or was it due to the fact that you cannot control what is brought up in a PUBLIC meeting.if the affore i suggest you remove the king tuck references in other threads.

Rocketboy said...

Either way, you are engaging in a personal attack. You are also derailing the thread for your own personal vendetta. And yes, I would have removed the "King Tuck" messages as well, but MJ is the only one with that power, I can only add articles.

Anonymous said...

vendetta no.pointing out that you cant have it both ways yes.the people come to meetings and speak. you have no control over what is said.so if burke comes to a meeting the school board supports him? hoffman came to a city council meeting does that mean the aldermen support him obviosly not.my point appeared to be lost on the administator.thats what i meant, you cant have it both ways.also pointed out that never saw a councilman so involved with school politics.i believe he has a right to voice his opinion but doesnt the petition drive from his home cross some line,real or imagined...just saying...i promise to be wondering in the future

MJ said...

I deleted your's because it came right after my warning, had direct name calling to another poster, and was rolling off topic. See the disclaimer above the comment box.

As all "King Tuck" references are not made in direct response to comments by him I let them slide. If calling the mayor(in this example) a name is needed in the comment, the argument is most likely weak and will probably be ignored on its own virtues. Besides I'm pretty sure he's confident enough to handle the job and the petty attacks that come with it or he would not be in office.

Jack probably is too, but I'm trying to hold civil discourse here. So all commenters are treated equal. Though with all the anonymous here, it kind of makes attacks almost impossible except to the few who wish to be known by a name. Jack is just as welcome as any anonymous person to express their opinions on the subject at hand. He is a resident.

Upwards and onwards...

MJ said...

Maybe I did miss your point. If I did sorry. I do not recall it now.

Rocketboy said...

This is why Nimby is not an excuse...

http://lockportjournal.com/local/x353714975/Rizzo-vs-Verizon-suit-could-take-time-to-settle

Sure, delay/block "the biggest project in Niagara County since the Niagara Power Project 50 years ago" because one person who has a lawyer on tap doesn't like it. Sure, nobody needs a job, because you have a plot of land you rent out.

Anonymous said...

Yeah he just wants more nonetheless

Anonymous said...

"No means NO!"
I am NOT name calling BUT Mr. Burke has had the opportunity to speak, at length, at the last three "working sessions" of the Board, while others (me) who requested permission (as is required, and I'm not the only one) to do this didn't even receive the courtesy of a reply. For this reason I did not attend last night's meeting because I didn't want to sit through another "pep rally" without having the opportunity to speak and/or respond. (So I really don't know what Mr. Burke did LAST night.) I will be at the meeting next week and I trust the B of E will not, again, allow Mr. Burke to speak for 45 minutes with his power point presentation then tell everyone who is against a "re-vote" is shut down after 3 minutes.
A re-vote is unnecessary and uncalled for. A vote was had and the Sports Palace lost. We can't afford it and the situation with the State of New York has gone from bad to worse. There are no more guarantees and we could be stuck with a hole in the ground (assuming they do a site survey first-they cost a bundle) and no way to pay for it.
I dispute that music, art, etc. are less important than sports. Is Phys. Ed. required? Yes. Does music greatly assist students in their mathematics? YES! What's the percentage of High School football players who get to the NFL? You can't use James Starkes to bolster the NEED for this thing.
Our City is dying and we do not NEED a fancy sports facility. We NEED to see that our kids are educated well - and fed. We NEED to know that they're not getting knocked around at home only to go to school where they knock around other students and teachers.
Cuomo has already laid out the cuts - -16.1% in The Buffalo News. Might be more. There isn't any money. Maybe if the entire nation, state, city and town have vastly improved economies we can do it in a few years.
The vote was NO. There is no mechanism for a re-vote unless the B of E makes one up. For all the cheerleaders at the meetings, there are 10 of us who are against it. Take a fraction of that money and us it to serve all the children. Not just the 5% who have something to do with football.

Anonymous said...

Wah-wah wah!
But anyways, why can't you understand, this money is already allocated and spent by the state for facilities. It can't go to food for our kids, nor can it go to the school budget for education.
We will say it again, you can't take a fraction of the money!!!!
And I guess I missed the law that said you can only vote on something once.....

Anonymous said...

MJ - why don't you close this thread, neither side is going to change their minds and I think every point has been brought up!

4LP said...

1. You are incorrect in stating this is for football players. it is for all of LHS, plus softball, lacrosse and soccer. Please get your facts correct.

2. Mr. Burke is an employee and administrator for LCSD. He has a right to speak and when asked to present he will do so. You are a citizen and will follow the guidelines for addressing the BOE just like everyone else.

3. Politics is a pep rally and re-votes are part of democracy. No does not mean no when it comes to voting and history proves that.

4. You are putting a lot of emotion into your rant and not addressing FACTS.

Rocketboy said...

I love how the Pro side thinks that the anti side has no idea what they are talking about.

Yes, there's no law (or at least that I know of) that says that there cannot be a revote. But really? Do we have to keep voting on something until we get it 'right'? It's sad really, it's like the BoE decided to hold their breath until they were blue in the face to get what they want. When does no start to actually mean no? It's really nothing but a huge insult to everyone who voted no before. That we didn't matter, that we were wrong, and unless we vote yes, our vote does not count.

It's really sad.

I had all the facts that the BoE wanted me to have, and I still came to the conclusion that it was a bad idea.

But I guess that doesn't mean anything. We'll just keep voting until everyone gives up and just votes yes. What ever the BoE wants, we'll just rubber stamp it, because they are right. They are always right. I should never question the BoE.

Jack Smith said...

$LP=1) While not just for football, by the very design, football is the primary focus.
2) I can see that you are either a Board member or an employee of the school system by your obvious reverence for Mr Burke and your obvious disdain for the taxpayer.
3) Please give me examples of some re-votes in history to which you refer.
4) This is an emotional subject, for both sides, and sometimes statements are made which the writer believes to be true without actual facts. I refer to #3.

I did attend the BOE meeting on Wednesday and was disappointed to learn that Mr. Burke's presentation was rescheduled, the Board decided that it should be shown when they were on TV. There was also a small presentation on the physical shape our schools are in, apparently it is good. So, the BOE will have to come to us with a proposition for building repairs, which I will vote yes on, unless they combine the repairs with the complex in one proposition, as they alluded to Wednesday. They also discussed going to a single polling place, the High School, and allowing voter registration during polling times. The Board Clerk (who seems not to be as neutral politically as the City's Clerk when disseminating information) stated that it would average 6 people every ten minutes voting so that there would not be any long lines to stand in. Well, averages are great, but guess what, people will not stagger their voting throughout the entire day, they vote before they go to work, at lunch time, when they get home from work, and after dinner. I wonder who they are targeting with these changes and I wonder why? You figure it out.

Rocketboy said...

Wow, thanks for the update Jack... if they are not trying to stack the vote, I'm not sure what they are doing. It was odd enough to have to go to the schools and not the regular voting locations last time, but this is again, insulting and a clear case of trying to stack the deck.

If this does go to vote, does anyonw know the procedure for an absentee ballot for a BoE vote?

Luisa Smith said...

Debbie Coder who is the Superintendent of Finance at the BOE is the person to call for absentee ballots.

Please be aware that in the past polling places for general elections and the school elections were not necessarily in the same place. This is the BOE's basis for trying to centralize to one place rather than six. Not a bad idea. However, I do think it will cause some congestion this year with the High School construction underway and the estimation of 6 voters every 10 minutes will be inaccurate. It just left me and others wondering why this year.

Rocketboy said...

Thanks for the info Luisa... if this goes to vote, someone I know would need an absentee ballot.

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