Shortening the story about the Middle School

It’s becoming all too clear that not only is the “choice” being presented by the New Paltz school board for the Middle School a false choice, but that one of the two choices should have been off the table early in the process.

As Mayor Terry Dungan, appearing before the New Paltz town board last night, pointed out, the option of building a new middle school building out by the High School is so much more expensive than a complete renovation of the current Middle School that a new building should not even be considered. I won’t try to repeat his argument here, but it was more than persuasive.

I would go a step further than Dungan and point out that the option of aggressive maintenance and repair and moderate renovation of the Middle School, as opposed to complete renovation vs. a new building, should have been on the table all along, and should now be front and center as the most serious option because it is the one that will be the least costly to taxpayers already heavily overtaxed.

I note that the Times Herald-Record reports that the state will be reducing aid to the New Paltz school district in the next fiscal year, so residents are already looking at a big bump up in taxes on their property.

As I noted in the previous post, this school board is institutionally and psychologically committed to the destruction of the New Paltz community. The public should become active now to force the entire board to resign, along with the superintendant. It would be much less expensive to buy her contract out than to let her grow another budget. What voters need to do is find a board that will commit to reducing the school budget gradually over five years. Start with a reduction matched to the coming reduction in state aid and achieve a five percent reduction from this year’s budget five years out. That will first of all stop what would otherwise be at least 30%, probably closer to 50%, growth over those years, and bring serious fiscal discipline, and maybe let a lot of homeowners on the edge keep their homes and remain in the community.

If you are not struggling, think of your neighbors who are, because that could just as easily be you in fairly short order.

If my solution that the community demand the resignation of the entire board and the superintendant sounds radical, you’ve got that right. It needs to be radical because none of these people will ever be convinced to stop spending your money the way they do. They are locked into and committed to a process that they believe is “normal,” even though they know that people are already groaning under the weight of these taxes. “The power to tax is the power to destroy.”

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