May 21 matters: Two weeks to go

Fourteen days from now, voters across the state will decide on school budgets that, in all likelihood, increase class sizes, cut programs and close schools so districts can stay within the tax cap. Here’s the link to NYSUT’s report on this. Here’s a link to a Gannett news article that talks about how municipalities also suffer under the tax cap.

Here’s a link to an interesting commentary from a retired principal where he connects a number of dots about school funding and fairness with the Newtown shooting from four months ago.

If any article about the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy makes you wince, then I have excerpted this part for you:

Citizens of the United States can’t directly vote on the federal budget. Similarly, no popular vote is allowed on state, city, village, county or town budgets. The only budget that faces public scrutiny and an annual ballot in which residents are essentially voting to raise their property taxes is the school budget.

Ironically, this is the only budget that guarantees that every dollar spent will remain in the community paying the taxes. Who knows where our federal and state tax dollars end up?

School budget elections produce results that are negative at best, and which could put the safety and potentially the lives of our children and their teachers at risk.

His point is that only 26 percent of registered voters participated in last month’s school budget vote in Connecticut and the budget, which included funding for increased security, was defeated by 482 votes.

Please don’t ignore the school budget vote in your community. Make every effort to vote on May 21. Until NYSUT gets this unconstitutional law overturned — a law that allows 40 percent of the  ”no” voters to hold more weight than 59.9 percent of the “yes” voters — your vote is more important than ever.

If your local is planning any Get Out The Vote efforts, let me know by commenting below, emailing to bsandber@nysutmail.org or calling (800) 342-9810, ext. 6283.

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