3/21/2010

J. Smith Budget Letter

Posted by MJ

Buffalo News has a Letter to the Editor from 2nd Ward Alderman Jack Smith in today's paper.

(Editor’s note: the letter above also was presented to Lockport School Board members)

As a representative of the people in the Lockport School District you have an obligation to listen to the people who elected each of you. It is at critical times like these when you will need to do what must be done, and should have been done a long time ago.

Cut the fat.
I would like to be perfectly clear, personnel must be cut out of the system, starting at the top with administrative positions, all the way down to teaching assistants.
Closing one school building and repurposing another is nowhere near enough. Labor is the largest percentage in any budget and it must be cut in yours.
You may also want to rethink your position in regards to who is to blame for the situation we are all in now. We are all to blame, the superintendent, you the board, the teachers’ union, and me the taxpayer, for letting these irresponsible budgets get passed year after year.
I can’t believe that any self-respecting elected board member, let alone the president of the School Board, would attempt to put the blame on Albany alone!

“If it wasn’t for the people in Albany, we wouldn’t have to do what we’re doing right now,” board President Marietta L. Schrader told parents during a meeting in Lockport last month. “We are at their mercy. It would behoove every single one of you to direct your passion toward contacting our elected officials,” as quoted in The Buffalo News.
Let us all be adults and admit to our failures, apologize for them and take the necessary corrective measures.
An 11-plus percent increase in the school tax rate is not a corrective measure, it is an insult and an injury to the taxpayers of this district.
If you really want to “do it for the kids,” be an example, take ownership of this fiscal mismanagement and do what needs to be done. Make the tough decisions, the right decisions.

Jack L. Smith Jr., 2nd Ward alderman

City of Lockport

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Right on the money (that has been confiscated from taxpayer pockets), Jack!

The latest update from 'Albany Today' includes a press release from Patterson's office bewildered by all the whining from school boards when all Albany cut was 2% from every district statewide. This sets us back to an aid level commeasurate with what we received approximate 3 years ago. Local districts need to take responsibility for aligning spending to taxpayers' means. Why did we need to add a director of pre-k education? Why has BOE oversight over transportation contracts caused us to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars annually due to overcharging and poor records keeping (see state comptroller audit at www.osc.state.ny.us/localgov/)

The president of the realtor's association recently discussed the fact that for every $80 taxes rise on a given property, property value declines by $1,000.

I totally agree that the blame lies with us, the taxpayers to whom the school board members are accountable. Don't forget KWL is coming to town to reassess our properties. If they raise values 100% like they recently did to some homeowners in Amherst, a 11.9% tax increase will turn into a 25% increase--we won't be able to give our homes away.

Anonymous said...

Wow, these are very devastating statistics! We really need to put the pressure on the School Board regardless of what was stated in today's Buffalo News:

And if voters think they can force changes, they’d better think again.

“We’ve been in lockstep with [Carbone] all the way — it’s not like anything she said [March 10] was a surprise to us,” board member Edward P. Sandell told The Buffalo News, referring to the meeting earlier this month in which Carbone announced planned cuts to an audience of several hundred residents.

Call or send out a letter to each board member and tell them this is wrong! They need to make deeper cuts- an 11+% increase is totally unacceptable! Make sure to attend the April 14th meeting.

Rocketboy said...

The school board is flat out saying that no matter what we vote, they will always get their way.

I think it's about time to bring out the pitchforks and torches.

MJ said...

an assessment increase does not automatically mean a tax increase. Especially overall. The tax levy is the tax levy. An $80 million dollar budget is an $80 million dollar budget.It just gets divided up according to the assessments. But that does not mean that the system itself is not a mess.

Its amazing how much spending has gone up in the last three years. The same time period almost every private sector entity has had spending freezes.

Anonymous said...

Why don't we get rid of that carpet bagger Carbone and send her back to Brockport where she belongs (and lives)!

Anonymous said...

Her contract is up this June--what are the chances it's not already extended? The least she could do is finally move into the district she's running into the ground. We've been calling board members and we'll be at the meeting April 14th.

MJ said...

What have you been calling the board members about?

wrightontime said...

I wonder if the School Board or Super can tell us how much money was spent on the latest math series or reading series? What impact would this have had on the school budget if this unneccessary expense had not occurred? Explain why this was the right time to make this change in program. How long were the previous programs in place. Explain this waste please.

Rocketboy said...

I wonder how much the new school board census is costing, and how needed it actually is.

(Also, why does race matter for schools? I actually find that insulting. Either race matters, or it does not. To me, it does not.)

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