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Letter to the Editor: What is wrong with Onteora?
By Julia Reischel
5/9/12 - 3:48 pm
5/9/12 - 3:48 pm
What is wrong with Onteora?
The Onteora budget is unnecessarily wasteful and caused by many bad decisions made by the current Board of Education. Although the budget is reduced 1.7%, enrollment is down 2.3 %. In other words, Onteora’s per pupil cost continues to rise. Remember that our per pupil cost is already THE HIGHEST of our 16-neighbor districts because of years of inflated budgets approved by these same Board members. Although your school taxes may not rise this year, they should have
fallen. Adopting another plan would have saved the District millions now and going forward - they could have done a lot better for the taxpayers of this district and they chose not to.
The budget reflects the termination of roughly 30 teachers and other staff, most of which could have occurred by simply continually adjusting for lower enrollment. Did we really need to move literally half the elementary students and not realize a penny of
savings from closing a building? Re-configuration is an attempt to create the appearance of a solution, when nothing worthwhile is being accomplished and Olive lost its community school.
The Board voted itself a three-fold increase in its budget for conferences. This money comes from areas that directly benefit our students—High School equipment, Middle School supplies, library and reading instruction—all reduced to pay for Board conferences and half-empty buildings. It reflects the Board’s actual uncontrolled spending and its intention to continue it at the expense of taxpayers and students. The proportion of every taxpayer dollar going to administration and overhead gets larger, while the percentage of each dollar going to instruction is shrinking. New expenses are being incurred, including $100,000 for “curriculum development”.
What is wrong with Onteora? The current Board of Education…it’s time to vote “No” to them—by voting “NO” to the incumbents. While the Board attempts to rationalize why they have hurt so many children and back-pedals about transportation and music, their history of bad decisions and flip-flops tells the real tale of chaos and lack of vision. Everything that is wrong with the budget and wrong with the recent direction our District has taken - including the premature extension of the Superintendent’s contract without adequate public input - is their direct responsibility.
An incumbent does not make a better trustee - we need trustees who are transparent, trustworthy and have the entire district in mind. We need trustees who are willing to create a long-term goal rather than juggle year to year.
On May 15, vote for CYBELE NIELSEN and REBECCA BALZAC instead. Onteora needs a change.
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