Clarence: The War on Apathy Begins

On the one hand, we’ve got a well-funded conspiracy to destroy the Clarence schools.

On the other hand, we’ve got apathy.

It might be similar in your town, but then again not every  town has a bunch of businesses and developers working in concert to destroy the schools and depress property values. In some towns, businesses like to forge lasting and mutually beneficial relationships with local residents.

They say Clarence doesn’t “respect the taxpayer”. The data say otherwise:

Dashboard 1

The conspiracy involves the child-hating “Clarence Taxpayers” cabal, the Americans for Prosperity tea party astroturf types, and big developers in town, led by Paul Stephen and his henchman, Noel Dill. Lawn signs for the anti-school board candidate are popping up in front of properties owned by developers, who have no qualms about depressing property values so they can make a few more bucks off the brick garbage they put up – without question – around town. They’re all vultures, circling and waiting to pick at the carcass of a community they’re working to destroy.

Derelict Abandoned Motels for Worling

What they don’t understand is that they can’t win. The Triborough Amendment renders toothless any effort to strong-arm the teachers and their union. If the district and teachers don’t come to terms on a new contract, the existing contract remains in effect until they do, someday. These dummies think that they can force the district to hire a “professional contract negotiator” who will perform magic to bring the teachers to heel.

Also, the teachers aren’t the enemy. They deserve what they earn. These professionals deserve and earn their salaries and benefits. Stop blaming the teachers for non-existent problems.

Their hand-picked anti-school candidate has the nerve to ask parents to voluntarily pay more in taxes to fund things like clubs, extracurriculars, electives, AP classes, sports, and music, but we’re all supposed to pitch in to pay for a “negotiator”, even though we pay one – the superintendent – a lot of money to do that job.

I don’t use “child-hating” lightly. I won’t link to their abortion of a website, but the only things the “Clarence Taxpayers” group has gotten excited about are the schools, they’ve successfully blocked town efforts to help build an ice rink complex at Eastern Hills Mall, and an indoor soccer facility. That’s it: they’ve only ever opposed anything having to do with kids.

These people are monsters masquerading as taxpayer advocates.

Rock the War on Public Education

Parents are pissed off at this blatant war being waged against their kids. We’ve had it with these malicious efforts to pit seniors against middle-class families who just want their kids to have the same great schools that past generations enjoyed. The wealthy, like the anti-school candidate for the board, send their kids to private schools anyway.

That’s right. The anti-school guy who is running for the public school board sends his kids to Christian Central Academy. His family has no educational investment whatsoever in the schools. Meanwhile, I’ve delivered signs and palmcards to modest homes whose occupants rely on public education.

If you’re in Clarence, please vote yes for the school budget, vote yes for the modest bus proposition, and vote for Tricia Andrews, Matt Stock, and Maryellen Kloss.

We have two enemies – apathy, and the people who exploit it.


  • While I can understand your concern about the state of the Clarence schools, branding the “opposition” group as “anti-kids and child hating” is a bit over the top when it comes to rhetoric.

    • Noted, but if they’re saying one thing and actually doing another(i.e. sending their kids to private schools), it’s not patently false when one side points it out-is it?

      • IMO, at the very least, parents who choose to send their kids to private schools should not have to pay school taxes for public schools. Ideally, the portion of school taxes going to public schools per student should be redirected to the school of choice, private or parochial, per student.

        • That’s not the way it works and that’s not the way it should work.
          Generally the theory is that you are not paying school taxes to support education. You are paying school taxes to pay back the free education that was available to you…and your parents and grandparents.
          You see my friend you get the whole thing confused when you forget about the free part in free education. No, it is not free to the taxpayer and never has been. It is free and available to every single child in this country, no matter who they are or where they live.
          Free to every single child no matter who their parents, their parent’s economic situation or even if they have parents.
          The concept was built upon the idea that our national (and personal) best interest is served when education is free and available to all, not just those who can afford it.
          You want free? You are perfectly free to send your child to any private school what-so-ever with-in your means. You are not free to erect a system whereby you get out of this obligation by choosing private, non-public education.
          The key word you may focus on in that last sentence is “obligation”. Live up to it. Stop whining.

          • Your version of “free” takes the “free” out of freedom. Parents should unquestionably have the right to opt out of a screwed up education system, without financial penalties, in the best interest of their children. Your paying back theory is nonsense. If the government gave your parents, and grandparents, free dog shit, should you have to pay for it? BTW, I didn’t say anything that would prevent educational opportunities for anyone, if anything, education would improve all around with some choice involved.

          • Opt out all you want brother. Opt out of education, opt out of national defense, opt of from using our roads and bridges. Opt out of the prison system and let the felons run your neighborhood.
            But don’t forget to opt out of America. And do hope there are not those significantly more wealthy than you who may choose to opt your children and grandchildren out of any education what-so-ever.
            As to you BTW you did indicate that those who choose should not have to pay for public education and those taxes be redirected to private institutions…in effect bankrupting the public schools. And in your final end everyone would end up paying anyway.

          • If parents are able to choose private schools, and receive equal funding, that would not bankrupt public schools since there would be less students to teach.

          • Competing schools are challenged to be the best. Monopolistic public school systems stifle innovation, performance and efficiency. School choice promotes parental involvement and local accountability rather than bureaucratic bungling and one size fits all solutions.

          • The one thing that would help the kids is the one thing we’re forbidden to do or even talk about; return to neighborhood schools.

            We waste money on buses, gas, bus aides, etc that could be used to hire teachers.

            Parents could attend local PTAs at their kids schools. (One of the complaints being that busing makes it difficult for parents to attend such meeting.)

            Kids waste hours every day they could be in school learning but we have to play the busing game.

            Imagine, two hours more of learning each day instead of two hours wasted on shuffling kids around to create some unobtainable, mythical balance that never seems to achieve anything other than incessant complaining and no one seems happy about.

          • I agree that neighborhood schools are a good thing. A true voucher program would encourage the growth of smaller neighborhood schools. Parents would likely become more involved and the sense of community would have a positive affect.

          • One thing no one pointed out is that the people Mr. Bedenko so adeptly pilloried are recommending taxpayers vote FOR the budget.

          • This is not true.

            1. The so-called “Clarence Tax Payers” group, headed up by Mrs. Wacek, has not recommended any such thing. They have not endorsed a “no” vote on the budget, either, but it is a lie to suggest that they are recommending a “yes” vote. I get the emails, I read their website.

            2. Mrs. Thrun has been working behind the scenes – I’ve heard she’s working with Mr. Stephen now. Good for her. “Citizens for Sustainable Schools” is a non-existent entity, funded by Mr. Stephen and operated by Mr. Dill and Mrs. Thrun. They have done exactly one thing this year, and that’s pay for two items in last week’s Bee. The infographic was an abortion of false talking points, and the “FAQ” was pretty dumb, too. Furthermore, I don’t think this non-entity deserves a cookie because they’re not advocating to, again, completely gut the school district of clubs, music, art, extracurriculars, and electives. I don’t think these people deserve a medal for the loss of almost 60 teaching professionals last year and putting added stress on students and the district. I don’t think they get a monument in their honor for the complete loss of all social workers to help troubled students. Your buddy Dill gets no thanks from me for anything, and especially not for systematically pitting seniors against the schools.

            3. All of these groups have recommended a “no” vote on the bus proposition, because evidently it’s too much to ask that kids have a safe ride to school. Ask the transportation department how many buses broke down how many times last year. It’s a grim statistic, but it’s even more grim if you permit yourself to imagine a bunch of kids stuck on a broken down bus, trying to get to school or home. If you choose $4/year over the safety of kids, you’re a monster. If you advocate for the district to buy the buses with “cash” at full price, instead of taking advantage of a program whereby they finance the purchase over 5 years with 65 cents of every dollar coming from state aid, and a subsidized interest rate, then you’re not any kind of taxpayer watchdog. You’re just an idiot.

            4. Mr. Worling cares so much about the district that he sends his kids to Christian Academy. His “creative solutions” amount to one thing – redrawing district boundaries to wrench some Transit Road properties away from Williamsville and into Clarence. Forget for a second that many families chose to live in that part of Clarence to get Williamsville schools, or that it’s completely unrealistic if not impossible a feat to accomplish. Hence, unicorns.

            But thanks for trying. Say hi to Noel!

          • Alan, I’m sorry I did not have a chance to get into this more deeply — I work and pay school taxes, but either you are disingenuous or they changed their Web site, which contains a big green box upper right which says “vote yes to the budget”. I understand your partisan agenda but to say they have not recommended any such thing only shows your limited grasp of reality.

          • I wrote “Clarence Tax Payers”, who are also aligned with Worling and Paul. I didn’t write that Thrun’s group didn’t support the budget. Learn to fucking read.

          • 10 years ago on the 50th anniversary of Brown vs. Board, Professor Derrick Bell lamented that things had not worked out as he and others had hoped.

            While honoring the efforts and sacrifices of the people whose
            struggles culminated in Brown v. Board of Education, the
            Supreme Court case that ended school segregation in this country,
            New York University Professor Derrick Bell provocatively suggested
            last week that generations of black children might have been better
            off if the case had failed.

            Google: “Black children might have been better off
            without Brown v. Board, Bell says”

            Of course since it doesn’t fit the ‘progressive’ liberal narrative, it got little press.

            When blacks got their integrated schools, it was the beginning of the end of their stable and safe neighborhoods. Instead of gaining control they lost control.

          • The one thing that would help the kids is the one thing we’re forbidden to do or even talk about; return to neighborhood schools.

            Forbidden by whom?

          • The voices in TBT’s head. That’s who.

          • I disagree. I think it’s a cornerstone of American democracy and the natural extension of our glorious bourgeois revolution in the late 18th century that all children are guaranteed a free public education from K-12. I think that vouchers should be used only as a last resort when the public system is palpably failing, and you need an emergency escape hatch. If the system is working well, there is no need for it – parents are always free to chose private education, and if these schools want to attract parents and kids, they should simply make tuition affordable, and raise money through other means.

          • Just because something is working doesn’t mean it can’t be done better. Choice is a win-win. Nobody would force parents to remove students from a public school.

          • If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

          • A well worn cliche? Really?

          • Yep.

            The people about whom I’m complaining are taking a thing that isn’t broken and trying deliberately to break it in order to further a privatization agenda.

            It just seemed quicker to write my well-worn cliche.

          • As long as you have a parent which cares. I assume the ones who don’t will suffer the losing end of choice? I am all for innovation and parental involement but not to the exclusion of those without and I still beleive in the idea of a public education where diversity is an attribute not a dissappearing trait of our schools.

          • Exactly. If there was only one student left in the Buffalo Public School System, it would only cost like $10,000 to run it.

          • Michael runs himself around in circles trying to justify unbridled individualism. E Pluribus Unum never enters his mind.

          • E pluribus unum is fine to denote the common currency shared by the several states. It doesn’t apply to everything.

          • Actually it does, dating back to 1776 representing the 13 colonies. The coin thing came later.

          • It only signified the unification, under the concept of federalism, for the 13 original states. The unification was only intended for a very limited set of circumstances, hence the narrowly defined power of the federal government by the constitution. The original seal from 1776 bearing that motto signifies the “thirteen independent States of America.”

          • Nitpick to death if you want. What it doesn’t mean is abject individualism which you seem to espouse.

          • You seem to be having a comprehension problem. First, you use a motto to make a point using a meaning that never existed. Then, you claim my position here is grounded in abject individualism. My position advocates parents having the freedom to act in concert with other parents for a better outcome. You are suffering from a classic case of favoring the seen over the unseen.

          • Kinda like what the gun nuts are doing with the second amendment…using a 200 year old meaning and applying it to the present……..

          • I was merely pointing out the inaccurate application of an argument, I wasn’t trying to make one using the motto. So, no, it’s not the same thing.

          • You know WHY it’s screwed up? Here’s why: People deliberately underfund education and when we get the results of test scores, etc. people like you scream “See? Our schools are failing! Vouchers and charter schools are the way to go!” Never mind, of course, that charter schools can be just as bad as the public schools the right demonizes. But the public schools just can’t close up shop in the middle of the night. Charter schools can and HAVE done this.

          • Charter schools are highly regulated and are very different from a voucher system. I don’t buy the argument that public schools are underfunded. The Buffalo school system spends more money per student than Nichols. The results speak for themselves. Vouchers would create a competitive educational voucher with schools trying to outdo each other in order to attract the most students. It’s really as simple as economics 101.

          • Well, why don’t you go talk to the people at Community Charter School in Buffalo? It’s closing thanks to…poor student performance and lousy test scores. As far as the BPS and Nichols comparison goes: apples to oranges. Nichols is a private school, BPS is public.

          • Your apples and oranges argument applies to results, not the overall cost, which is the comparison I was making.

          • disqus_g6fqjyhj09

            Nichols also doesn’t have to deal with parents who have little to no interest in the education of their children and special education students (or at least not as many).

            And what would prevent someone from starting up a school just to pocket the cash and run, or at least running it as cheaply as possible with no regards to quality? Head Start is loosely based on a voucher system (they receive grants requiring them to have a certain number of students) yet people complain that it’s nothing but a free babysitting service.

            It’s bad enough that charter schools are closing due to poor results. I’d imagine under a voucher system you would see school closings every year, continually upending the flow of education which would make it even harder on the students.

          • Schools that are doing poorly should close, the system works. Unlike the half dozen or so failing public schools in Buffalo that remain open. If I was a parent of a child in one of those failing schools I would be pissed that I couldn’t move my child to a private school without a huge financial penalty.

          • Kids don’t have the time to wait around for the “market” to determine whether their school is shit or not.

          • Tell that to the thousands of kids trapped in failing Buffalo schools.

          • I’ve said elsewhere that vouchers are a reasonable last resort to help kids who are in failing schools.

            I have a massive problem, however, with people who are trying to destroy perfectly good schools.

          • Perfectly good schools wouldn’t be destroyed because parents would have no reason to move their child. Every parent should be able to make that decision, freely and without financial coercion.

    • It didn’t occur to me until I realized today that the opposition group has only ever opposed things that would enhance the lives of the town’s kids. Literally nothing else.

      • Perhaps you mistake the motive. Perhaps the motive is not anti-kid or child hating. Perhaps they never, ever think that deeply or get into it on any more than a surface level.
        Perhaps their motives is more simple. Perhaps their motive is retaining every nickel in their pocket that they possible can. So many never think beyond that one key concept, beyond that nickel in their pocket.
        Shallow isn’t it?

        • You sound like you are describing a Tea Partier……or John Behnor….

        • Could it be that parents would like to keep that nickel in their pocket so they can personally enhance their own children’s lives? Or perhaps you have families that would like to take that nickel and send their children off to different “educational businesses”?

          • Certainly “… parents would like to keep that nickel in their pocket so they can personally enhance their own children’s lives…”
            Parents and everyone else want to keep that nickel in their pocket to enhance their own personal lives. That’s the point.
            America, our founding fathers, set up public education and we were the first nation in history to do so. The concept that all men are created equal leads to certain conclusion. One conclusion was that individuals should have access to education irregardless of their

          • P.S. to wnyresident: That term you used, when I reread your post, “educational businesses” and after dwelling on it for a bit…is really, really a repugnant concept.
            At least I find it so. Business is in the business of profit. I don’t care to see the education of the nation be a subject of someone’s profit.
            To quote the wicked witch…”Oh what a world, what a world”.

          • You just gave Rebmann the heebiejeebies

  • He’s anti-school AND a Christian! OH MY!

    Maybe Clarence should ask the Buffalo school board for advice. They know something about destroying schools.

  • What makes a Clarence School Teacher more valuable than a Buffalo City School Teacher? They both meet the same State requirements? They both have the same desire to teach? The only difference is their paychecks? Why?
    Someone needs to ask the Teacher’s union reps. about this.

    • Not all teachers are created equal. The districts that can pay more will get the better teachers. Sounds like capitalism.

      • So if not all teachers are created equal why does one teacher that has 5 years service in a district get the same pay as another teacher with 5 years service in the same district? Are you saying that all the teachers in 1 district are better than all the teachers in another district?

      • Guess what I am getting at, and you reinforced, is that all teachers are Not the same. Some are better, some are worse. But because of Teacher’s Unions we have to take an average.

      • “The districts that can pay more will get the better teachers” This isn’t necessarily true. With many government departments raises are based on time served not on improved ability for the position.

      • Do you mean to say that a Clarence Gym Teacher, with 18 years of in district service is better than a Math Teacher with only 5 years of in district service? Should Gym Teachers be paid more than a Biology Teacher?

      • As a BPS teacher I invite you to come to my room any day, any time, and we can examine your capitalism in terms of my talent and pay. Your comment is offensive and incorrect. ~HipHughes

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