Niagara Gazette

Columns

June 24, 2013

CITY DESK: A class all their own

Niagara Gazette — The dunce cap is coming. 

Some time in the corner may be warranted as well.

I can see myself standing at the chalkboard writing “I will not question the cost or quality of education in Niagara County” over and over and over again.

Although I feel a bit like a smart-aleck student who knows he’s about to be punished by a disapproving teacher, I’m going to go ahead and say it anyway: Voters in the Wilson School District deserve to be pushed to the head of the local, taxpaying class.

In the face of the now annual public relations campaign to drive the need for more money to fix what ails education, voters in Wilson stood tall and pushed back not once, but twice.

No matter what the superintendents and the teachers and the teacher union reps say, they were right to do it. 

If only more of us were smart enough and bold enough to follow their lead.

It’s amazing to me that in Western New York — a place were annual tax increases are as common as disappointing Buffalo Bills games — so few people vote and those that do tend to, well, support more of the status quo. 

Contrary to what we hear from so many school officials and board members, money is not the driving force behind quality education. 

There’s plenty of money in education today. Just ask all the administrators who are collecting six-figure salaries, and the ones who have already retired to Florida with six-figure pensions of their own.

Last year, the Citizens Budget Commission determined that New York spent $18,825 per pupil versus the U.S. average of $10,292 — a whopping 83 percent difference. 

Business First — the Buffalo publication that does a fine job each year of giving us the real, raw numbers concerning education and education spending — noted that more than 800 administrators and teachers drew six-figure salaries from WNY school districts last year. 

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