Monday, May 12, 2008

School District Vote... the annual ritual

With the blooming of the forsythias comes the annual event called the school budget and school board vote. Each year voters are presented with the chance to say “yea” or “nay” to the school district budget number put on the table by the school board for the following school year. Take this number and subtract the amount of state aid and other revenues, which are never known for sure, and the ending result is the amount of money that we taxpayers must pick up and pay through our property taxes.

If the budget doesn’t pass, the school board always comes back for another bite at the apple, even if local taxpayers have nothing more to give. This year, when a separate capital expenditure budget wasn’t approved, the school board took out its pencils and made a few changes and put it up again for another vote. Keep putting it up for a vote until it passes…because you know if you vote against the budget it only means you hate kids.

This year’s Rondout Valley Central School Budget is $59,062,343. It’s hard to say how this compares to prior years because the district doesn’t put the information on its website www.rondout.k12.ny.us/ in an easy place for people to see. But that’s part and parcel for the way our school district’s administration operates.

Along with the budget vote is the annual vote to put people on the board of education itself. Unlike elections for other offices, the candidates never really make an effort to campaign or let voters know what they stand for, so most voters have no idea who they’re voting for or what their qualifications are.

It’s time for a little more transparency from our school board and for the candidates who want our votes. Property owners in small districts like ours that don’t have a large tax base pay a lot more in school taxes that in other richer parts of the state. Every child deserves a good education, unfortunately property owners in some places like ours have to pay a lot more for a lot less. It’s time to re-think the way education is paid for and the way small districts are managed.

Polls are open from 6am to 9pm at the high school gymnasium. This year’s candidates are Kent Anderson (incumbent), James Ayers (incumbent), Imre Beke, Jr., Pamela Longley and Annette Ludwig, Vote for up to three or none of the above.

3 comments:

Bess H. said...

Interesting that the one candidate who DID do some expensive campaigning -- via a colorful jumbo postcard in my mailbox -- received the lowest number of votes of the five choices. Perhaps silence is golden.

Bess H.

Anonymous said...

Expensive marketing, the Rondout School District tops all the charts. More money, less students, lower scores, low grad rates, but they do GREAT JOB!

Rob Case said...

Well, Bess H had a point for sure. I just don't trust the Education of my kids to a person having that kind of funding. I don't know the person, or anything about them. However ... I'm willing to bet that he or she doesn't have kids in the system and so, just another what-ever looking to cut their taxes by cutting into our children’s education needs. I vote for the ones that have kids in the system, and are concerned with taxes. Now ... as far as ummm, “Anonymous” ... boy! Are you misinformed! Everything costs more! Did you think that the education of children shouldn't be "keeping with"? Do you think that a Teacher, who has a MASTERS, should be under paid? And how many Honor Society members do you know of that didn't have sports, band, or any of the "extras" under their belt? Or should we here at Rondout not bother with such things. Who gives a crap about our kids, right? By the way, Rondout has very high grades, graduated more than 200 this year, has one of the highest grade point averages in the state, and awarded a ton of scholarships this year. ....just so you know. As far as The School District "annual ritual" thing ... It is. We who pay our taxes, and have kids in school, and care of the education we provide them every year have to rally-up year-after-year to over power the folks who have no children, don't want children, and would rather see no school here at all so they can save a few bucks. It's a shame, SHAME, that our school has lost the community drive behind it. Rondout used to have one of the top marching bands in the state! Now ... the kids are embarrassed to march and don't even have uniforms. The sports at Rondout were top in the state! Go look in the gym and see the wall hangings ... now ... look at the dates on them. Was it worth it? How do you think it looks to the rest of the country? What does it say about us?
... Think about it....

Rob Case
Accord, NY