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Integrity in 5 of 9 in Beekmantown CSD

December 13, 2008 - John Stack
Yesterday, the 5 school board members (out of 9) in Beekmantown showed some responsibility and guts. They rejected a school board contract. The contract had been worked on over the last seven months. Too bad. The 5 members voiced concerns about the uncertainty of the State budget and the deteriorating economic conditions. Wow! A school board that recognizes there are fiscal implications that are not positive sometimes!    
 The details of the contract have not been released. But, being the contract has been under consideration so long, my guess is that the contract wasn’t created with a massive State deficit in mind. The Saranac Lake School Board recently approved a ridiculously generous contract. 4 percent a year raises and incredibly cheap health insurance (I sure would love to pay $750 a year for family health insurance!). The SLCS school board caved and claimed that ‘sometimes we have to follow what other school districts settle for’. Are they kidding?! If we need a new car, and my best friend gets a new Lexus, I don’t think I can convince my wife that ‘Well, they are driving a new Lexus, we need one too’. If I do get the Lexus, there would be no vacations for 6 years. I would have to rent out rooms in my house. My kids wouldn’t be able to afford sports or new clothes or ever having dinner out. Our quality of life would fall dramatically. But, with an affordable car, we could still do well. In the case of SLCS, they bought the Lexus. Guarenteed our taxes are going to skyrocket next year. Guarenteed there will be massive cuts at SLCS. Forget new school uniforms, we’ll be lucky we still have sports teams. Aides in classes? Gone. Manageable sized classes? Ha! But don’t worry. Next year the teachers will be blaming the state budget for all of their problems. Heck, if the teachers just paid 10% of their health insurance, the school district would probably save 100-150K. That is 2 or 3 positions saved also.
                        But back to Beekmantown. Greg Myers, spokesman for the Beekmantown Teachers Association is a huge part of the problem. He stated ‘ It is discouraging that the whole board of education isn’t on the same page as its representatives’. Yeah Greg! Maybe the ‘representatives’ should have crafted a better contract for the taxpayers! Maybe they shouldn’t have taken a ‘business as usual’ approach! Myers also took a big swipe at the board itself (seemingly really only at the 5 no voters) – ‘the board’s inability to form a consensus begs the question its ability to lead this district into the future’. How self serving. I sure don’t want a school board that just votes lock step together on every single subject. I am glad for the taxpayers of the Beekmantown School District that they have 5 members who see a bad thing and don’t cower to bellicose rants by the school district representatives.
Also, I’m sure Mr Myers has been involved with school boards for some time. Does he remember a time in any school district where everything was always by consensus and there was no problems? How naïve.


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