Warning: If you are a student or a minor, please leave this blog now.
A Reader Writes…
Mr Laszlo Polyak of Ravena submitted this article:
I guess I will be the advocate for the children, and RCS High School seniors, who have commented on this blog and try to present it in a way that both sides can understand. First off, I have a business teaching degree so I have my bias too. Second, there are good teachers all around not just greedy ones. [Editor’s Note: While I am still adamant that the seniors who commented in the way they commented were uncivil and inappropriate, I would be the last to overgeneralize and condemn an entire group, teachers or students.]
Let’s start from some carved in stone facts that are beyond the control of this community. Two million people have moved out of NY in the last 10 years. Locally this means there are 2,000 fewer people in our school district. Fewer students means fewer teachers needed. Example – sixty kids in third grade in any district. – six third- grade teachers. Obviously at least of 3 teachers have to go. That is beyond our control. There’s also the loss of two million dollars so there is even less money to support the situation. Less money from government sources (state and federal). Thank you! Governor Cuomo! The state legislators and the governor of the Empire State don’t seem to give a damn whether your schools sink or float! They just push it on to local governments and pass the ole buck! [Editor’s Note: Mr Polyak makes some good points here.]
The recent concert at the high school the principal said it best — everyone will be receiving some information and facts at home. I really urge you all to read it carefully. Do your homework and make a reasonable, informed decision when you vote.
If you want one fine example of a truly great teacher, you have Mr Wamsley. As a music teacher he has done an excellent job with the kids in band and drama. He entertains us with high school plays that are Broadway quality. He has been here only a few years. There was talk when budget cuts were needed to let him go. The public stood up and backed him. [Editor’s Note: Music and language/literature are foundations of our culture. I would agree with Mr Polyak that a gifted teacher in the humanities is a must in any school.]
Perhaps I can explain some of the issues this way. There are residents on fixed incomes such as social security and retirement pensions. Perhaps your grandma or grandpa. They have not received an increase in their check for two years straight. And yet their taxes have gone up and up and up. Of course, they want the best education for their grandchildren, great grandchildren and children [But do they have to forego medicine or nutritious food to make that possible? There’s a moral dilemma here. The ed.]. But they are down to eating cat food. How do you expect them to afford a 6.8% increase? Some of them, simply frustrated, are a portion of the two million who have left New York state.
Take a walk down Main Street. Again you’ll see fewer people there, fewer businesses than you did last year: this means less of a tax base and more of a burden on those still here. Then we have three big industries. plastics, railroad and the cement company. The reason why we have this short fall is because they went to court and got their property values dropped 10 yrs ago and will do it again. [Editor’s Note: Excellent point! They’re paying almost no tax and yet you jump up and down with glee when they make a pitiable gift or donation! See thru the smokescreen!] And they can afford to go to court. Or just close their doors and move out.
Have you forgotten that we are in a depression, and I will call it that. We are in a depression its over the place. I wrote a letter to the blogger questioning their motives about the kids blogs. I told the blogger that these are children/young adults. And they are trying to express their opinions. In a week some people will go and vote Yes! and some will vote No! And we will cross that bridge when we get there. But we need to remind ourselves that it is OK to be conservative, it is OK to be liberal. And we need to express ourselves without bitterness, frustration and hatred. The young people tried but sadly, their teachers were laughing and not explain to them the truth The kids don’t lose we do! [Editor’s Note: I disagree. The young people were cheated of a very valuable lesson and experience; the teachers lost nothing. The community lost something, too!] Are we name calling just because we have different viewpoints? Are we the children or the adults, the educators? Every community has at least two viewpoints, and they can co-exist in harmony. A healthy community might have hundreds of viewpoints and solutions, too, but can pull it all together and get the job done .
Perhaps when you write to the blogger, you should show some examples of solutions for the current situations and problems that we face. [Editor’s Note: Great advice, Mr Polyak!] As I showed my leg brace for my cerebral palsy at the RCS board of Ed meeting, I did not bother to show my ID showing that I was a walker or I had to walk over a mile each way to my junior high and high schools. I even attempted to link and show different school districts for comparisons and email sites too. There were NYS dept of Ed individuals who were present and willing to assist us to find solutions. Some of them even came down and sat in the audience and took notes but to their disappointment. If they have to take control it wont be the kids who will be hurt; it will be half the teachers and the Administrator. They noted that no one really placed the kids first. And some of those followers of the blog are the Dept of Ed officials, as it is part of their job to monitor the situation.
I also set out examples of the YMCA taking over the pool. It doesn’t matter whether the teacher’s contracts were handed in weeks before or 5 minutes before. The teachers’ unions are not as powerful as you think they are, and they give nothing back. Some good teachers are struggling to make ends meet, too, and are not greedy at all! They answer to a much more powerful organization, the NYSED who certify and license them; they can’t teach if their license is revoked. And NYSED answers to “us, the People”. They are just sitting back, waiting to see what the district votes . You haven’t read about Rhode Island, where the state fired all their teachers. And then a few months later all the teachers begged for their jobs back at 80% of what they had.
We are in depression; deal with it people! Don’t believe me, please go on the internet and check. There are people who have worked in the RCS school district for 10, 15, 20 years who are not teachers. And they still make under $20,000 per year. [Editor’s Note: In the RCS central school district the teachers average out at about $63,000, up to over $70,000. You don’t want to know what Superintendant Elizabeth Smith is pulling out of the district!] Some of them would have a better life living on welfare!
Again If anyone wants I will personally bring them to the Dept of Ed personal so they can hear it straight from NYSED If its a No! votes them teachers and staff are gone and the kids still have sports and music. If it’s a Yes! vote the Dept of Ed brings in its auditor line by line and the waste goes! This is what the Governor wants to see happen across the state because he does not want to see another 2 million residents leave the state! The kids will not lose they will have music and sports at the bad or not so good teachers’expense! [Editor’s Note: Thank you! Mr Polyak! That’s a very important point you’ve just driven home. I hope the readers pick up on it. Teachers beware!]
On of the main issues here is the inequity of employment. Where and how we are going to fund programs. And avoid another 2,000 people moving out of our community or a major company from shutting down or moving out. So what is your solution? I will always be out in the open. All are always welcome to knock on my door to discuss any issue and I will present them with the government records so they can draw their own conclusions.
Just stop dragging the kids in the middle they enough problems growing and finding their own identity; they don’t need to be made pawns in the battles waged by the adults!
Editor’s Comment: Thank you Mr Lazlo Polyak for a very reasonable and balanced article. We may not have agreed with everything you write but we do appreciate the time and effort you put into this. We are pleased to publish it with minor edits. Note: Mr Polyak is solely responsible for the content of his article; we have not checked the facts but are assured that Mr Polyak has done so.
Our position is and remains that the residents of the RCS Central School District should vote NO! on the budget and all other issues on the ballot on May 15, 2012.
Vote NO! on May 15th
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