I was frustrated by the comments and votes from the borough assembly members on school funding. At the regular meeting on May 17 they hid behind the excuse of fiscal conservatism, but from their comments at the work session and at the meeting it was obvious that they were upset and frustrated with the school board and administration.
I cannot defend the district’s past actions, but can echo the mayor’s comment that withholding these funds only hurts students. Mr. Stephens and Mr. Friend were vocal in their opposition to funding near the cap, using arguments like, “They will make do,” and “We need to offset the cost of the new school.”
Yes, the schools will “make do.” That does not mean students will get the same level of education.
I don’t want my daughter to “make do” in a kindergarten class of nearly 30 kids. Yes, I think saving for the future is a great investment, but with the district looking at around $800,000 in cuts, the education of our children is a better investment. Not to mention that we voted for the new school with the understanding that it would require more in taxes.
Comments like, “We can increase the amount later if we feel like it,” make it clear that the assembly members are not looking at a bleak budget and making decisions based on numbers. Instead, they seem to think they are teaching a petulant child a lesson.
I urge them to re-examine their motives and the consequences on education. As a community and as a state we need to let the people who hold the purse strings know that we value education. Lastly, I’d like to thank Mr. Kaplan and Mrs. Lynch for their support and end with Mr. Kaplan’s statement that the only reason not to fund the schools is if we do not have the funds, which is not the case today.