I’ve been saying for a few years that the New Paltz school district is over-funded by about one-third. It has been bloated up by overly-generous contracts with teachers and administrators negotiated by people sitting on the same side of the table, with help from the union lobbies in Albany.
The only thing that local taxpayers have is the annual vote, which usually presents a choice between more and more more. This year the board of education, trying to make up for cuts in state aid by passing the difference on to local property owners, overplayed its hand with an initial budget that exceeeded the tax cap, required a 60% majority to pass, and failed to get it.
This time the board presents a budget that sits right at the tax cap, such that it requires only a simple majority.
So here’s a chance for taxpayers to get themselves up and out, realizing that the school district has a solid voting bloc of employees and their spouses that gives them an instant advantage, and rally to put this budget down against the odds. Voters did that with the Middle School bond proposal and the recent proposal to purchase land next to the Lenape elementary school.
It would be a good thing, using the only tool that voters have at their disposal, to force this arrogant school district to cut its budget down to size. As usual, the first thing that they do is threaten the music and sports programs. There’s never any mention of holding the line at the next teacher contract. And it’s always positioned as “for the children” blah, blah.
Well, here’s a chance to pull it together and tell the school district to cut more and start rethinking things. That’s the only message worth sending, in my opinion. And it would be nice if school district employees and their spouses seized an opportunity to vote some small relief for their neighbors, instead of voting for higher taxes to benefit themselves.