Editor, The Spotlight:
Regarding the April 4 Spotlight story, “BC’s budget situation frustrates parents”, as a non-parent, I’m frustrated too. Frustrated with an average 4.93 % school tax increase for the last 10 years according to The Spotlight. And now some are proposing we challenge the state cap on school taxes to go beyond what is otherwise allowed.
The children of Bethlehem deserve a solid education in subjects essential to success. No one is suggesting elimination of history or math or science or other standard studies. But when, in the middle of a budget crisis with a multi-million dollar deficit, the school district merely “considers” the elimination of the “fourth grade strings band”, someone isn’t getting the message. No reasonable person, parent or otherwise, can argue that a fourth grade strings band is an essential part of an education. The same can be said of Chinese Studies or buying Apple Computers rather than PCs. These are niceties, for sure. But essential ? Hardly! And for those parents who feel they are vital, perhaps they should hold bake sales or otherwise arrange for funding these add on activities.
Beyond curriculum, two parents were quoted as saying they were disappointed that teachers have thus far not stepped forward to take cuts this year. It was recently reported in the Times Union that the average teacher PENSION in NYS is $82,000 a year. (That’s right, pension, not salary.) Most working people will never see that as a salary, never mind as a pension. It would seem those parents make a good point.
The State of New York passed the budget cap to make a point: NY is number one in educational spending per pupil and spending continues to balloon far beyond the rate of inflation. School taxes are out of control. This seems to be a message some have yet to understand.