Sunday, May 15, 2011

Why I Am Voting No On The 2011 Candor School District Budget Vote

On Tuesday, May 17th, I intend to vote against the proposed Candor School budget. The proposed budget can be found here. I am not voting against the budget because it includes the highest tax increase in Tioga, Broome, and Chemung counties (though that is true). I am not voting against this budget because we spent money paying half time teachers, already collecting pensions, to read the newspaper on the taxpayer dime this year (though that is true, too). I am not voting against the budget because the performance of Candor has been lower than regional schools (though this, again, is true).

No, I am voting against the budget because on page four of the budget newsletter, you will find this:

However, with a reduction in State Aid, even a contingency budget was unattainable for the District. Therefore, with the 2011-2012 budget being over $325,000 below the 2010-2011 budget and over $625,000 below a contingency budget, if the budget is not approved by the voters, the Board of Education can adopt the proposed budget as presented.
This is not a vote. Voting implies that the decision of the majority of voters will determine the outcome. According to the newsletter, however, the outcome is already determined: this is the budget. Rather than being a vote, it is a fait accompli. While the school board would like public support, it is by no means necessary for their exercise of power.

If the people reject this budget, the reasonable thing to do would be to go back to the drawing board, address the concerns of the community as best they can, and propose another budget. Giving us an ultimatum of providing public support to this plan or have it imposed on us anyway with restrictions to use of facilities is hardly a choice.

I encourage everyone to vote "no" on this budget and to do so in the future should Candor Central School again offer such ultimatums to the public.

And as I've mentioned before, our educational system needs some serious reform. By reform, I mean less money pumped into forcing every student into the same curriculum, regardless of their abilities or goals for life. The educational system needs to exist for the sake of the students, not for the teachers, not for the administration, and not for the teacher unions.

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