Why the Eldred school budget should be voted down

Many in the Eldred Central School District (ECS) want to know why I would vote against the budget at the election on Tuesday, May 15. It is as follows:

Why would I pay $300K more in property taxes to get less staff, less programming and cuts to the most successful aspects of ECS—music and girls’ sports?

Why would I pay $300K more in property taxes when only three board members voted to support this budget, and one was not even given a chance to vote as he was out town when the vote was hastily added to the agenda? The two board members that did not vote for the budget are the two most recently elected, by large margins, to change ECS, and are the two that must deal with the mess left by their predecessors.

Why would I pay $300K more in property taxes when there is no plan? For years now, I and PTA presidents have been asking for some idea of where the district is going—nothing. So I suppose the $300K is to fund the status quo.

Why would I pay $300K more in property taxes to a board that is fraught with conflicts of interest?  

Why would I pay $300K more in property taxes to a board that cannot tolerate discussion of spending decisions in public and shuts up a young energetic board member whom the community has a lot of hope for?

Why would I pay $300k more in property taxes to a board that has no clue as to the consequences of ratifying a five-year teacher’s contract? (See video of June 9, 2016). 

I am a definitive “no” on this budget, and I hope the other voters will be too. On the same ballot, as board member candidate for the seat of Linda Bohs, is a good man with a positive track record of community service—Peter Carmeci Sr.—who will immediately settle in and help Allyson and Brian do what can be done to get this school district back on a firm financial and educational footing. ECS can go in a new direction, can save programming, save jobs and start becoming healthy again.

It will be an exhausting, agonizingly slow process that will require the knowledge, the experience and the input of the best this town has to offer. It is not only a problem of money but a problem of educational viability. With the election of Peter Carmeci Sr., I look forward to helping ECS once again thrive in whatever form that may take.

For now I am still voting no on the budget, and we can look at it again in June when it will be easier to see what the future may be. For now, throwing money at no plan will just be kicking the can down the road.

[Paul A Clark Jr. is a resident of Barryville, NY.]

For details about voting in the school district election, visit https://www.eldred.k12.ny.us/Page/91


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