Press-Republican

May 17, 2013

Letters to the Editor: May 17, 2013

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Press-Republican

---- — Intelligent,

thoughtful

TO THE EDITOR: Andrew Brockway and I attended Beekmantown Central School at around the same time.

I know Andrew to be a compassionate, thoughtful and intelligent individual. I support Brockway for the BCS School Board because he understands how important sports are to children and won’t favor eliminating the program because it is only a small fraction of the general budget.

He also understands how the quality of education goes down when classes are too large and favors keeping them at the same level or smaller than they are currently.

Brockway also understands that a large number of residents are on fixed incomes and wants to stabilize property taxes.

I support Andrew Brockway for School Board, and I hope you will, too, on May 21.

KATIE MUNSON DUPREY

Plattsburgh

Accountability,

communication

TO THE EDITOR: At an early age, our parents taught us the value of labor and savings.

My brothers and I had many “start-up” enterprises: night-crawler sales, mowing,  raking, etc. We had our own bank accounts, and when we entered our small-town bank, the manager greeted us like we were “somebody.” We are forever grateful for that parental guidance.

I paid for three years of college but did not want to take out a loan to continue my education, so I enlisted. It wasn’t more than a year later I was participating in a free educational seminar in Vietnam, one I will never forget.

The GI Bill allowed me the opportunity to finish college all the way to the doctoral level, ABD. What had begun with soul-searching sociology ended with a master’s in education. I secured permanent certification as a social studies teacher, guidance counselor and school administrator (principal and district).

My work in the private and public sectors gave me great perspective on the advantages and disadvantages of both. Many of those years were spent in the field of education.

Soon after I moved to Plattsburgh I began attending School Board meetings, which were disappointing. Any suggestions were rebuffed in a way that implied I was not well informed.

I did my homework and found the board members were not doing theirs. Budgets were always in “crisis” mode, which was upsetting to the students, employees, parents and taxpayers.

Based on my information, the turmoil could be minimized, but seemingly the board enjoyed this drama.

If elected to the School Board, I will definitely work at enabling the programs to prosper by bringing more predictability in the budget process with open communication, transparency, accountability and sustainability.

WALTER PETER CHMURA

Plattsburgh

Health

insurance

TO THE EDITOR: Ashleigh Livingston’s May 12 article summarized a public forum where health-insurance options for school employees were compared (Plan A versus Plan B).

The forum was informative and well attended. Most comments by employees and retirees shared the same sentiment: How can we survive without Plan A?

Plattsburgh Teachers Association President Mary Lou LaRocque-Megarr stated that switching plans is a complex decision and shouldn’t be made without research and discussion. Almost in the same breath, she continued: “No board member, no negotiating team wants the responsibility of someone losing their home because we’ve switched to Plan B.” That’s not discussion. That’s a fallacious comment intended to scare employees and retirees. The fear is evident in others’ comments.

From the outside, it looks as if a certain group of employees have both hands in the cookie jar and are trying to grab as much for themselves as possible, leaving only crumbs for the rest (kids, taxpayers, young employees).

LaRocque-Megarr continued “but, retirees, we’re not going to sell you out.”

Retirees, those in charge will not sell you out until their perks are threatened. Then, you’ll be sold out faster than you can say “wheels on the bus go round and round.” Just look at the programs and young teachers that have already been thrown under the bus.

LaRocque-Megarr, pull your hands out of the cookie jar long enough to step back and see the damage you are causing. Plan B more than meets your contractual terms. A switch to plan B will save millions and is the right thing to do.

Community, read Plan A/B terms, available on unitedforthekids.org, and compare them to your plan. You will be shocked. Get informed. Vote May 21 for responsible board candidates.

JOHN SIMS

Plattsburgh