TO THE EDITOR: School districts across New York State are set to hold their annual budget vote on Tuesday, May 18. All districts that are subject to public vote have submitted to the voters proposed budgets for the 2021-2022 school year, which voters must decide whether or not to adopt.
In most districts, school board elections are also being held, many of them non-partisan. According to the Empire Center for Public Policy, the collective budget plans would raise New York State’s average per-pupil expenditure, already the highest in the country at nearly $25,000, by more than 4 percent. These additional expenditures come despite declining public school enrollment, which are expected to fall more than 1.5 percent statewide this fall.
The Libertarian Party of New York chair, Cody Anderson, urged voters to remain vigilant as they head to the polls.
“It is outrageous that school districts and their union masters suggest increasing spending by over 4 percent for an underperforming system whose enrollment continues to decrease,” Anderson stated. “The drain of more than a million residents from New York during the past decade is in large part due to continued yearly increases in school taxes, resulting in the outrageous per-student expenditures, yet mediocre educational outcomes. Given the equally outsize increases in federal funding directly to school districts, and the past year of children learning at home, and not in the schools, it is irresponsible for local boards to continue raising taxes and driving residents away, and for teachers’ unions to engage in an opportunistic money grab.
"We urge taxpayers statewide to send a strong message to their school boards by voting no on their school budgets.”
Public Engagement Director, Libertarian Party of New York
TO THE EDITOR: I really have to laugh at the comments posted in the May 11 (Tuesday) edition of the Press-Republican newspaper by the candidates running to fill the four upcoming vacancies on the Plattsburgh City School Board of Education.
The comments are almost identical: ”to provide the best educational opportunities for children,” “bring a collaborative approach between teachers, parents and administrators,” “to address student concerns,” “to promote transparency,” “to have decisions made in the best interest of our educators, learners,” (and) “to support improvements in academics, arts and athletic programs.”
Gee, I’ve been paying school taxes for the past 50 years and these “goals” have been thrown out there by all the candidates who have run. These goals should all be reached by now. What hasn’t been achieved is a handle on the darn budget.
Only one candidate, Ron Marino, brings this taboo subject to the forefront. He talks about reducing the tax rate altogether. He states the school district has received a greater amount of government aid that could be used to reduce the tax rate (increase) maybe by a whole percentage point, from the current 2.3 percent down to 1.03 percent. This is my man.
I am appalled this school board has the nerve to even suggest their “slight rate increase” of 2.3 percent. How many working citizens of Plattsburgh received a boost in their salaries this year? Personally, it is time to focus attention on the school taxpayer, the one who foots these bills. Work within the budget you have, look for ways to save. You have how many buildings open and running within this district?
I am voting no on the budget. It’s time for the taxpayer to be considered in all of this.
TO THE EDITOR: Crossing guard: I'm 31 years old. As a child, I attended St. John's Academy. At that time Mr. Daniels was the crossing guard at Broad Street School. My mother worked at Seton as a part time accountant. After school, I would wait for the crossing guard to stop traffic, cross Broad Street, pass Thomson's orthodontics, head in to Seton and sit in my mother's office and do homework until she was finished with her day.
One day, walking over to Seton, I was crossing the street as usual. Mr. Daniels saw me coming, walked out into the middle of the road with the stop sign out, and waved me across. I casually sauntered out into the crosswalk, day dreaming as kids do. Out of nowhere, a car sped down the westbound lane of Broad.
It was going well over the 30 mph speed limit. The car showed a blatant disregard for the crossing guard in the middle of the street. I continued unaware from the Broad Street School side over to the express lane side of Broad, until unexpectedly, I felt tension on my backpack. The tension was followed by an aggressive yank. Mr. Daniels had pulled me out of the westbound lane, inches from the speeding car.
Maurice saved my life, and for that, I'm eternally grateful.
Thank you, Mr. Daniels, for protecting the youth of our community for 20 years.
PATRICK MURNANE II