Or, for any given individual’s moral vanity?
I went and did it again and watched a big chunk of the replay of last week’s New Paltz school board meeting with members of the community on the question of what to do about the Middle School. I’ve posted twice in recent days on that issue, and those posts are back thataways just a bit.
At one point in the meeting an apparently very sincere woman wanted to make it clear that physically handicapped children needed to have more accessibility in the Middle School and that it ought to be a consideration, and of course it should be. I don’t know if there’s an elevator in the Middle School, for instance, but that would certainly go a long way to alleviate difficulty getting from one floor to the other.
But here’s a larger point. Suppose that a handicapped child or any other child can no longer attend the Middle School, or any of the New Paltz school district’s schools, simply because their parents can no longer afford to live here? Might that be of some concern to those in search of a Rolls-Royce renovation or a new building?
People talk about “sustainability,” whatever that is supposed to mean, and making the building “green,” but sustainable and green for whom?
At the current rate of growth, the school budget in New Paltz will grow by at least 30% over the next five years. It will probably be closer to 50%. Yet people in this community have been groaning under the weight of the taxes needed to sustain that kind of growth for years already.
Now, if it would be a terrible thing if a handicapped child wasn’t perfectly accomodated in a school building, why would it not be a terrible thing if the child’s family was forced to relocate out of the community?
Renters pay these taxes too, in higher rents. Local talkers talk about “affordable housing,” but don’t they also want school budgets that consistently make housing less affordable.
A new school building, which is what the school superintendant and the school board appear to want, is a ticket to making the New Paltz school district even more of an imperial power. But so too is a bells and whistles renovation, in all its splendorous “sustainability” and “greenness.” The school district already spends more than twice as much as both the town and village governments combined, and has a budget pretty close to the budget of SUNY New Paltz. Does the school district’s vision for the future include you? How about the family down the street?
If you are thinking about the New Paltz community, you might want to consider who gets driven out and who gets drawn in based on the power of the school district to seemingly tax to its heart’s content. You know, “better families,” who “really care” about their children will be drawn here, and the schools will “perform better.”
And the teacher’s union will get bigger and better contracts, and the bureaucrats will move on to more prestigious school districts, and the moral vanity of those who want only the best “for the children” will be satisfied. They didn’t really know those people who moved out, anyway. But we need a real “learning environment for the 21st Century” to make that all happen.