Vote yes on the Onteora budget

by Brian Hollander
May 17, 2010 11:33 AM | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
What has turned into a stomach-churning budget season for the Onteora Central School District board of education and administration finally ends up with document that we can support. But make no mistake, it is critical that New York State’s government get its act together, even enough to allow school districts to have some indication of what kind of aid money might be coming in order to set tax levies and plan for the next school year. As it is, with no state budget in sight, the document could be a crapshoot. Let’s hope that levels of revenue will be at least the amount that is included in the governor’s proposed budget, which has been the guideline.

Thus has Onteora crafted its document, with the necessity of laying off teachers and staff, though some have been absorbed by retirements. The Indie program will likely die without district funding, though its connection to the district has been looser and more distant in the recent past. The belt gets cinched in a couple of notches everywhere.

In one sense, the district is OK going into the future, in that contracts have been secured for teachers and non-teachers, ones that are modest in nature of raises and require greater participation in health insurance by the union members.

But in another sense, the questions facing the future of the district are numerous — such as, can the district afford to continue on with three elementary schools?; should it continue to maintain a transportation presence or allow its entire bus needs to be contracted out?; what services should be in house and what should be at BOCES?; and what is left to cut, if revenue continues to be in short supply? The board must turn its attention to these, and other questions, as soon as the election is over.

So we do recommend that you vote yes on the Onteora budget, proposition No. 1 on the ballot, 2 p.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday, May 18, at your local elementary school (including West Hurley.) And we recommend passage of the resolution to replace a bus, proposition No. 2, as we must be safe on the road.

But we ask that you demand that board members plan a sustainable future for Onteora. It’s in your best interests — you must know that the taxes levied by the school district make up 60 percent of your tax bill, far more than the town and the county combined. It’s your money, and it’s our future.++
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