The past two Board of education meetings have been dominated by public speakers on the sole issue of out of district busing for student enrolled in private schools, primarily to the SAR Academy in Riverdale, NY and The French American School in Larchmont, NY. Both schools are wonderful and are highly respected institutions and many New Rochelle residents would love to send their children there, but…and this is where it gets interesting, tuition at both this institutions cost over $21,000 per student per academic year. The SAR Academy’s tuition for K-8 is an astonishing $21,300, plus a $4,000 building fund per family per year. The French American School’s tuition for k-8 is a whopping $21,400 - $23,420 (depending on grade), plus an additional $2,000 per student per year for ESL.
Now, if you can afford to send your children to any of these schools, you make more than enough to pay for busing your child to and from your home to the school. For that tuition, the school should include busing for those that need it.
Enough with the empty threats that if busing isn’t provided, your family will leave New Rochelle. Where will you go, Larchmont? Scarsdale? If you could have left New Rochelle, you would have done so already.
Enough with using the term “diversity” in your grand standing. Everyone knows that children play with children in their neighborhoods, associations and schools, so please spare everyone the false dramatization of little league and soccer. We all know there are two, yes 2, little leagues in New Rochelle, one for the North End one for the South End.
Let’s get to the real issues of the Boards budget cuts that really matter. The issues that affect each and every student, the layoffs of many vital and necessary teachers and the dismantling of programs that students, teachers and parents cherish deeply.
Laying off teachers is a bad decision that will render serious negative repercussions that will affect our children’s futures. Increasing class size decreases a child’s educational development. Teachers will no longer be able to pinpoint developmental issues of each and every student in their class. The larger classes will create more distractions for students, limiting their educational development. And what about special needs students and ESL students that are in the mainstream classes, what will happen to them? They are already at a disadvantage. By laying off teachers and increasing class sizes, the disadvantaged will be lost. There is no win-win in laying off teachers. They are the front line soldiers in the battle to educate our children. To just say, “get rid of some” is an atrocity that negatively impacts each and every New Rochelle student.
The elimination of vital, necessary programs that increase mental development in our children’s minds is a horrific injustice for all involved. All students enrolled within these programs will ultimately be devastated. Many of these programs are all that most of our students have to look forward to. These programs allow students to express themselves, either thru music, art, sports, etc… Many parents of these students lack the funding for private programs. How can any board member sleep knowing that they have literally robbed these students and parents of these students of their dreams?
The Board must once again return to the drawing board and develop a better budget proposal then the current. Main areas that strongly should be considered:
Maintenance and ground crews (keeping track of actual work hours), vehicles (those assigned to supervisors, management & superintendents), travel & entertainment expenses (rumors have it that Organisciak’s estimated monthly, tax payer paid, expenses are in the $10,000 to $12,000 range, rather high wouldn’t you say?), Gas/Fuel reimbursement for those issued Board of Education vehicles (vehicles that are also used for personal use), and the list can go on and on.
The point is that the Board of Education should look at real world reductions, reductions that actually save money now and in the future. Placing band aids over issues don’t permanently fix issues, eventually the band aid falls off and now there’s an infection to deal with.
Please, we all are pleading with all the members of the Board of Education, please do the right thing for our children enrolled in our public schools. You cannot turn a blind eye on the future of our students with rash decisions made today.