Niagara Gazette

Opinion

May 19, 2013

GUEST VIEW: Niagara-Wheatfield school board doing best it can

Niagara Gazette — In a recent reader view, a resident brought up numerous points that paint a picture of government deception, bullying and a lack of compassion to those on fixed income by the Niagara-Wheatfield Board of Education. I can without equivocation say that his views are the furthest from reality.

The first point he made is an inaccuracy about the old adage that “it is for the children.” Truth be told, it is not for the children, but the community. The growth in Wheatfield’s population can be contributed to its greatest growth factor; its high quality schools. The growth in new-built homes in the N-W school district is directly tied to the high-quality education for which people move into the district. This growth of the tax base has kept taxes very low for N-W. If the school district fails, this community will crumble.

The writer next called the school board bullies. Well if the writer would have attended more than the meeting in which the board clarified that it was not cutting kindergarten, he would have known that the previous meeting the board stated that it was a possibility, and not a sure cut. The board also did not decide this in executive session. The letter read at the beginning of the board meeting was again to clarify that it was a possibility. Imagine the even worse outrage if the board would have had to cut kindergarten without warning the public that it was a possibility. He is correct though; it still could be a possibility.

Should the board have to adopt a contingency budget, one in which the tax levy increase is 0 percent, there is no way to avoid touching kindergarten. The question is, would it be totally cut or be transitioned to half day. This is not a threat. This is reality. Let’s not forget the reason why this even has to be considered. There already has been over 100 staff members cut the past three years. With the loss of programming, the only things left are nonmandated areas at a 0 percent budget increase.

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