BEDFORD, N.Y. -- The Bedford Daily Voice accepts signed and original letters to the editor up to 350 words. To submit your letter, email email@example.com .
As a public school supporter, I am voting for change. To be told that one must choose between supporting the schools and seeking change is a false choice.
In the last decade, our property taxes/school budget has skyrocketed while the quality of education is threatened by cuts to staff and program budgets. While some factors are not in our control, we need courageous leadership to affect innovative change.
We cannot hope that the same leaders repeating the same strategy will yield a different outcome. For eight years, our district has faced $3 to $5 million deficits annually. A combination of reserves (taxes collected previously), tax increases, and staff/program cost cuts, were used to close gaps.
Year after year, (former Schools Superintendent Jere) Hochmann reported that the budget was balanced and “preserved all programs.” This claim was plausible at first. Years later, those of us with students know that “preservation of programs” did not mean that the quality of education was intact.
Recommendations from board member Michael Solomon for long term structural changes to expenditures and cuts away from the classroom met with indifference and indignation from the Board of Education.
During these years, parents with concerns, especially in the area of special education, but for mainstream learners as well, were disappointed and ultimately disaffected as pleas for assistance to Dr. Hochmann fell on deaf ears. Board trustees are elected by the community and should be to whom we turn when needed.
Unfortunately, our Board of Education regards protecting their relationship with administration to be at conflict with their actual mandate, which is oversight, and is routinely unhelpful in these matters.
Board candidates Pam Harney and Michelle Brooks have, combined, eight children in BCSD; Michael Solomon has 23 years of experience in public finance. To assume these candidates want anything other than the best for our schools is beyond the pale. They will be innovative to improve education and regain fiscal solvency. A failed budget this year means losing sports, music and some academics.
As a public school supporter, I am voting YES for the budget and urge you to vote for Harney, Brooks and Solomon.