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McGrath Asks Is it right for the ATH leadership to back Spector and Hebert?

HUFSD BOE Trustee Rich McGrath

If people wonder why their average property taxes are now 12K, yesterday’s move by the SD #3 Associated Teacher’s of Huntington (ATH) union to endorse Adam Spector and Jen Herbert is a perfect example.

Here’s how it played out yesterday in the time honored tradition of the influence of the teacher unions. The leadership of the ATH calls the teachers to a meeting at the end of classes yesterday with no posted topic of discussion. There with no justification, nor ratification from the union, the rank and file teachers are instructed to vote for what the leadership perceives are the two pro union candidates, Adam Spector and Jen Hebert. Then last night the NYS union phone chain is put into action calling on all teachers living in the district (not just SD#3 teachers living in the district), active or retired, to vote Spector and Hebert.

Now everyone has the right to free speech, but something is fundamentally wrong when with no union vote from its dues paying members (who in fairness may not agree with their leadership), a small group of its leadership can exert their influence to try to sway an election.

Worse if successful, the Union will have helped elect two candidates who will then sit down as School Board members with the same leadership to negotiate a new contract that expires on June 30, 2011. With all due respect, to think Mr. Spector or Ms. Hebert are going to weigh the concerns of the taxpayers when sitting with their union friends is a tad too much to expect.

So when you get your 12K tax bill and you see programs like Kindergarten being cut and you scratch your head and ask why, this is how it happens.

Rich McGrath

Huntington School Board Member

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16 comments to McGrath Asks Is it right for the ATH leadership to back Spector and Hebert?

  • J.C.

    Any candidate backed by a union loses my vote. If elected, they will be “owned” by the union and do whatever the union wants them to. Thanks Rich.

  • anon

    These posts are so sad. I think you’ve all lost your way. Maybe your children could teach you a little about manners and being nice to your neighbors.
    Mr McGrath, if we are looking at questionable endorsements, your postcard sent ONLY to Huntington Bay residents in support of Mr Dwyer has also raised some eyebrows. Kind of disheartening to hear you–a sitting board member who represents an entire school district—only cares about trying to protect their tax dollars (your words, not mine). I guess the rest of us in other parts of Huntington don’t matter?

  • Bubba

    McGrath can send out a letter expressing his choices, but the “opposition”
    can’t…..Really, Mr. McGrath…quite hypocritical…the district/ town is in deep
    trouble…. What’s “reassuring is that the board leadership and the union leadership are, sadly, equally inept…the board doesn’t represent the town, and if the union leadership asked their members what they thought, well
    the union exists beyond HHS, but they won’t consider to venture out and ask, they won’t like the answer…How do I know??? I’ve NEVER been asked.

  • Tomorrow

    In the end none of this will mean anything come tomorrow once the new Board is in place on the School Board front.

    But the bigger picture is in the end the only way anyone will be left on Long Island is a Tax Cap. The inside advantage the unions and teachers have whether it’s by getting school board members elected or the Taylor Law giving automatic steps to teachers when contracts are open, will mean 25K taxes within ten years chasing all but the people in Huntington Bay out of here.

    Unions, can’t blame them, they know it works for them, so why not from their perspective.

  • HV Lax & McGrath Lost My Vote

    If the teachers union endorsement went the other way I’m sure Mr. McGrath would have found a way to put the positive spin for his candidates. JAI open or closed was not the driving factor for me personally. The dirty politics and mud slinging capped off with a letter from HV Lax combined with Mr. McGraths last ditch effort was the icing on the cake to drive this voter away. Mr McGrath’s attack on Jen Hebert is a low blow, disheartening and shows his desperation in the 11th hour. I understand Mr. Spector has been vocal in the past but you whiffed big time with your assessment of Jen Hebert.

    P.S. I guess the HV Lax parents aren’t as gullible to believe a 7th grade lax coach is reason to sway your decision on this important issue. Maybe now HV Lax will realize they have some fixing of their own to do as they have lost 60-80 kids under Mr. Dwyers leadership. The sooner HV Lax figures out that by 5th or 6th grade “A” players want to play with the other “A” players and be coached by someone other than a parent they will be able to build a strong Huntington feeder program. Until then the HV Lax Board will continue to lose the support of many HV Lax parents in this community.

    In the end the voters (and many HV Lax Parents)have spoken so now its time for the board to move forward to improve our district.

    Congratulations to the winners and all of the candidates for a competitive campaign.

  • WHY

    Who in their right mind would vote for an stay at home dad and a nursery school teacher over an MIT graduate and an attorney in a year when we know we will have to scrutinize our budget? Say goodbye to anything positive that could have happened. We are in trouble now. So lets see, with these two new board members we will incur a $1,000,000 expense to re-open JAI, we will stay out of town politics, which means more dense housing and more tax drain for our district, newsday will splatter us all over the news, meaning bad publicity for our district, which means lower house values. All I know is my kids are doing great in this district, I don’t think we need to refocus on education, most children are doing fine, even excelling in this district. What a sad day for us. Hey Adam and Jen, maybe take a class or two in finance and accounting over the next few months so you can actually understand a budget and how to be fiscally responsible.

  • I have known Jen Hebert for several years, she is a decent and fair person who is excellent at listening. Yes she teaches,for a private nursery school: not in the district, and not unionized. No conflict of interest there. Let’s keep it real! She has 3 children in the district. She has been a amazing PTA leader, even while her husband battled cancer. To question her integrity, makes me question yours. As someone who is an alumnus of HHS and has 3 children and a grandchild that have graduated, or are in HUFSD, I feel that we are privileged to have her service. I am ashamed of the implication that her intentions are other than honorable. Congratulations Jen! Thank you.

  • to mcgrath

    Too bad you didn’t think of doing something yourself. How many years have you been sitting on that board claiming you are working with the town to help our schools, how?, on what? Has the crime decreased in HS? NO! Has the town effectively enforced the housing laws so that all those illegal houses pay taxes to the school district? NO! What improvements have taken place thanks to your work on behalf of our schools? NONE!
    Perhaps you and Paci (whose kids don’t even attend our schools) can step down now and let people who are truly looking out for our children’s best interests and the benefit of our schools try some new, fresh ideas. You’re old and inefficient, step aside and stop blaming the ATH for your lack of success.

  • to mcgrath

    Hasn’t rich mcgrath’s issue been to be the link for the BOE with the town and to work on crime and enforcing housing laws? How many years has he sat on the board claiming he’s working with the town? What positive changes have taken place since he has been “working on our school’s behalf?” NONE. Mcgrath, you should step down and stop blaming the ATH for your total failure in creating any positive changes for our school district and your total lack of success.

  • tired of negativity

    They say all politics is local. I’d like to add all UGLY politics is local. Personally, I think an attack on Jen Hebert and Adam Spector are particularly low blows, especially from whom they came. Someone made a comment about losing programs like full day Kindergarten as if it were the fault of Jen or Adam. Hate to tell you, but that was the regretful decision of the previous board (which included McGrath and Paci). It was an unfortunate decision, but it was based on the limiting funds forced upon districts by the tax-cap. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against the tax cap necessarily, but Albany needs to review why Long Island school funding is not attached to a cost of living adjustment. Aside from taxes, I’d like to see Board members who care about the students as much as they care about the money. And on that score, Jen Hebert and Adam Spector get much better ranking than Paci or McGrath. And as for anyone being “owned” by the unions because of endorsement – this isn’t Washington. One thing you can count on – Jen Hebert and Adam Spector will do the right thing as best they are able for our students and our district.

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