Letter to the editor: What’s vital at schools?After the major concern exhibited by the school board regarding the district’s “dire” financial situation earlier this year, and its supposed impact on the quality of education for our district’s children, I was taken aback when I saw what the four-day week savings were being spent on.
After the major concern exhibited by the school board regarding the district’s “dire” financial situation earlier this year, and its supposed impact on the quality of education for our district’s children, I was taken aback when I saw what the four-day week savings were being spent on.
Apparently, buying two new regular busses and one new activities bus were more important than stretching the older busses another year and shoring up the district’s reserve funds with the savings for later application to improved education programs for kids.
Then, the superintendent indicated a $300,000 share in new federal monies would be used to pay for the increased costs of benefit plans for the teachers and, I assume, also the administrative staff. This hardly seems like a prudent move when the current plans could use a dose of realistic market and benefit adjustments, and contracts are coming up for renegotiation in a tough economic environment.
Then the board discussed raising substitute teacher pay by a double-digit percentage. This in spite of the fact there are hundreds of unemployed teachers who would jump at the chance to work as many days as they could at the current rate.
In conjunction with all these school board moves, the state issues a report indicating the district has had trouble reaching and maintaining minimum state student performance expectations. The district barely performs to state averages in some categories.
It must be comforting to some that apparently there is now a lot of money to go around taking care of needs fundamentally unrelated to improving the quality of our students’ basic learning needs. At least it is comforting to those who are benefiting from this sudden availability of funds. And those folks seem to be the same group who never suffered the loss of a dime through this whole process.
But, as I recall, the district’s cries for additional funding in the referendum, and the reason for going to a four-day week, was so our students’ educations would not be short-changed. In fact, I recall one of the board members saying “I don’t know what we will do” if we don’t get the money or the shorter week.
I guess we all know now, don’t we?
From Mark Broin, Larsmont