Not Just a Taxpayer
I’m going to apologize for my lack of posts lately and in the next few weeks. I’m a Clarence resident and parent of two school-age kids, and last week’s school budget defeat has led me to become an active parent-taxpayer in the town.
For a decade, I had thought that the schools in Clarence were sacrosanct, and people would be willing to do whatever it took to keep the schools excellent. I was wrong. Losing that vote was like finding out your spouse was cheating on you the whole time – the town didn’t love the schools like that; it’s not the schools, it’s us.
Indeed, at a meeting last night in a packed high school auditorium, people did what people always do when there’s nickel-and-diming afoot; they begged for mercy.
Here you have one of the most cost-effective districts in WNY, and the number two school district. Instead of discussing what it would take to get to number one, we were talking about the teachers, staffers, and programs that would be cut. I don’t know how you cut your way to excellence, and I don’t know how eliminating teachers, raising class sizes, and getting rid of several modified sports and all freshman sports, firing three music teachers, a social worker, a guidance counselor, and several ELA, math, and science teachers is going to get Clarence to #1.
What we’re going to find out is how people and things cost money. We’re going to find out that cutting and austerity lead to poor quality and a stressed system.
But we also learned that there are some very passionate taxpayer-parents in town, and they are united and determined to prevent something like the past couple of weeks from ever happening again. Nothing will be taken for granted, and never again will we be caught unaware.
The budget revote is June 18th, so my posting here may be light as I concentrate on preserving the quality of my kids’ schools, and help to ensure the continued brightness of their future. Tea party austerity be damned.