As the Board of Education prepares the 2011-12 budget, I’d like to remind them and our community that the budget is not about our teachers. It is money appropriated and voted on to run our entire school district. This includes teachers, staff, administrators, maintenance, and special services for our students in need, to name a few costs.
Our teachers are not responsible for the current economic difficulties or the budget error that hurt us so much last year. Our teachers are responsible for working to the best of their ability to educate our children.
Here are a few things our Saugerties teachers do for my own children:
They work with my children daily to give them the academic skills they need to succeed and excel.
They, as professionals, work to keep up with the latest research and teaching methods to enrich their instruction so my children can develop those skills.
They look after the social and emotional needs of my children, which could be anything as trifle as a fight with a best friend to something as devastating as the loss of a family member.
They make sure my children are taken care of if they become sick during the school day.
They reassure my children and keep them calm during a school emergency.
They treat my children with respect and dignity.
They make my children smile. My children love going to school.
Teachers are the backbone of education. Textbooks and technology are used to supplement the work of teachers. Children learn best when they have a strong connection with other human beings - at home it is the family - at school it is the teachers.
I know the board has a tremendous task in trying to create a budget during such difficult times that fulfills all the educational needs of our students. Let us remember how powerful the role of the teacher is in education. And let us respect that and respect them.
TOWN SHOULD NOT BE INVOLVED IN OPUS 40 PURCHASE
As you may know Supervisor Helsmoortel and Councilman Costello had the pleasure of attending the inaugural for Governor Cuomo. We had the good fortune of having two prominent officials present to hear, first-hand, of the financial distress being experienced by New York state taxpayers. One might expect that the governor’s emphasis on the need for serious spending cuts would also apply to the town of Saugerties.
Not so, however. The town has been pursuing plans to purchase Opus 40. It appears that this transaction could approach a million dollar commitment involving state
grants, donations, in-kind taxpayer expenditures, etc. This is a non-essential commitment and does not reflect the goals set by the governor, nor the interests of Saugerties taxpayers. The need, for parks and/or recreational/cultural endeavors, is well satisfied by existing facilities and programs. There is no demonstrated public interest that would make Opus 40 a self-sustaining attraction. This project should remain totally within the private domain and not made a taxpayer responsibility.
Saugerties taxpayers have already spoken in a loud and clear voice as demonstrated by the vote to disband the village police department and the rejection of the school budget. Financial conditions will not be any better for 2011. The message is loud and clear that the Opus 40 proposal has no serious priority as an essential community need. The Town Board should distance itself from this scheme now. We do not need any further drain on our resources, financial or otherwise.
The governor has displayed a serious and responsible plan to cut spending and it must be supported at every level of the government. Since the message, has been brought home, we must demand that our Town Board adopt and support the governor’s initiative. The survival of the state and this town requires nothing less.
NEW FRACKING GROUP MEETS SUNDAY
Last Sunday a group of concerned citizens met at the Inquiring Mind Bookstore in Saugerties to take the first steps in starting a group to address the real and present danger which hydrofracking presents to the water and air of our state and our community. We left that meeting excited and ready to begin planning steps to take. We are meeting again this Sunday, Jan. 30 at 11 a.m. again at the Inquiring Mind in Saugerties. Though a moratorium is presently in place for horizontal hydrofracking in NYS, it is only until July and we know that the money and power of the gas industry is busy making its case. Small groups throughout the region have formed and are forming to address this issue. We feel it is time those of us in northern Ulster County, Greene County and the Catskills to come together to educate ourselves and our neighbors, to make our voices heard, to lobby and act to ban this form of extraction which puts at great risk the clean water and air which is surely the lifeblood of our communities.
Please join us on Sunday at the Inquiring Mind! As we reach out to friends and neighbors in Greene County and in the Catskills, we hope to rotate meeting places so that can be truly a regional group.
If you have any questions, please call.
See you on Sunday.
LIBRARY SNEAK PEAK
The Friends of the SPL held a special sneak preview and tour of the expanded Saugerties Public Library on Saturday, Jan. 22 from 2-4 p.m. The idea for this preview came from Friends John and Elizabeth Stegmayer. The planning committee included Jessica Gonzalez, Fred Backhaus, John Forsythe, Natalie Mortensen, Marion Vail and Joe Gavner. One hundred twenty-four Friends and guests attended. Friends also gained 40 memberships during the event. The success of this expanded library is due largely to the efforts of the director and trustees, current and former. The Friends contributed $62,500 which was used to update some of the furniture, the outside landscaping and the skylight.
The event was an outstanding success with resounding comments on the beauty and function of the building. Village and town officials were integral in the planning and implementation of this endeavor.
The formal dedication and program will take place on Saturday Jan. 29 at the library from 2-4 p.m. The library will be officially open on Monday, Jan. 31.
RIDE THE BUS
The League of Women Voters of Saugerties has been involved in a project to publicize and encourage the use of Ulster County Area Transit’s S Bus for Saugerties which was introduced in February, 2010. Use of the regularly scheduled bus, which has access for wheelchairs, strollers and bicycles, would reduce traffic congestion, parking difficulties and be a green alternative to automobile use.
The League would like to thank the Kiwanis Club of Saugerties for its generous donation of UCAT bus coupons to senior residents in the town and village of Saugerties as a way to encourage ridership. President Ellen Gleason, Vice President Beth Bechtold, and Treasurer Phil Tucker were instrumental in making arrangements with UCAT for the coupons. Kiwanis member Alice Tipp, also on the Board of the Office for the Aging, helped to distribute them.
We encourage all residents to make use of the S Bus which not only gives them access to the village of Saugerties but also to the Town of Ulster Mall areas and beyond.
For further information on schedules or special pick-ups, call UCAT at 340-3333 or on-line at www.co.ulster.ny.us/UCAT
Saugerties League of Women Voters