Niagara Gazette


September 20, 2012

HAMILTON: Vote ‘Yes’ on school bonding issue

Column by Ken Hamilton — Here is one that you out there who gives a darn will have to hold your noses and vote “Yes.”

After losing a bonding issue that was worth twice as much as the first one, the Niagara Falls School Board is putting an up-to-$67-million bonding issue before the taxpayers, and it has to pass by more than 60 percent of the voters because it constitutes increasing their bonding limits.

I voted “no” last year for likely the same three reasons why so many others who overturned it voted no.

1. I didn’t trust the board of education and its superintendent

2. I didn’t want them to be rewarded or distracted from their primary goal of actually teaching kids, which thus far, they have done a terrible job doing

3. I didn’t fully understand it, though if I had, it would not have necessarily changed my mind.

The smoke and mirrors of education law and accounting is confusing enough for even regular lawyers and accountants to understand, so much so, that in order to be good at it, you have to really specialize at that and that only.

I believe that the same obstacles exist in the understanding of educating our kids and I have advocated in the past that, until the education levels of our children are significantly raised, and that the graduation rates, especially for African American males — the lowest performing group in the system, then every board member, administrator and staffer should, as it is with lawyers and accountants that specialize in education law and financing, should drop off all of the feel-good boards that they are one and focus totally upon the education of our children.

There will come a sense of satisfaction from the accomplishment by our board in getting this bond issue passed and seeing the manifestation of it coming into fruition. Some will feel that their many years in pretending to educate has been adjudicated by it; and they may bask in the afterglow of this single success while our children continue to fail.

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