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To the editor:
Why do we continue down a status quo path in Bedford Central? The answer: we lack real leadership.
Real leadership takes ownership. When a crisis hits, leaders don’t point to Albany to shield themselves from their own record. Albany didn’t spend $19 million in reserves over the past six years, our board of education did.
Real leadership is transparent. A leader wouldn’t sit at a candidates’ forum arguing that we’ve made 84 staff cuts the past six years while omitting the fact that we hired over 50 new employees at the same time -- and we outsourced busing.
So, our “massive cuts” were anything but. It’s been a wash.
Real leaders would have come clean with the community long ago and showed them what the compounding effect of previous budgets would lead to. If the $2.6 million in cuts we’re making this year had been made in 2010, we’d be projecting a $6.8 million budget surplus for next year.
Assuming this budget passes, we currently have projections showing that if nothing changes with our employee contracts, our accumulated deficits will total $23.4 million by 2022 –even with tax increases over this span of 1.32% (this year’s cap).
Real leaders play by the rules. They don’t inform the public that they are not permitted to advocate one way or another on the budget-- and then just 10 days later tell people to vote ‘yes’ for it on their campaign Facebook page and in emails.
Real leadership wants a leading role. Ask your school board members, one by one, which of them wants to be active participants during employee contract negotiations and which of them prefers to leave that to senior administrators. How has that strategy worked out for us?
Real leadership is the only thing that will ensure we avert a crisis like this in the future and have us proud of the BCSD again. On Tuesday, May 17, real leadership will appear on your ballot as: Michelle Brooks, Pam Harney and Mike Solomon. Our kids and neighbors deserve nothing less.
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