In 1789 Marie-Antoinette allegedly told Parisians complaining of high bread prices to go and eat cake while in 2007 supporters of uncontrolled school district spending told Manhasset residents complaining about high school taxes to go and move out. These same supporters in a spate of letters in the Manhasset Press have accused anyone questioning the authority of the school board or school officials on school finances of being radicals, malcontents and other things, often of a personal nature.
How soon people forget. I'm sure Roslyn supporters of school overspending were saying the same things, just a few years ago, to anyone questioning school district expenditures and look what happened there. Millions of dollars were stolen and school officials and others (including the same accounting firm that was doing the Manhasset books) were indicted and found guilty. I'm sure there are many Roslyn residents today who wish there had been individuals questioning what was going on with school expenditures before disaster struck.
In thinking about the school bond referendum that just passed, as a former resident of New York City, I am reminded of the fiscal crisis that occurred there in the 1970s that was brought on, in part, by borrowing for ongoing operating expenses. Isn't that what this bond referendum is doing? We are asking our community to borrow money to pay for maintenance and repairs which in part belong with regular operating expenses.
An excuse used for the failure to include sufficient monies for maintenance in the annual school budget was the fear that this would have resulted in its defeat. This is bogus. Ongoing repairs are a necessity and the school board's failure to do this in annual budgets is simply poor decision making.
Another excuse is that the school board did not want to take away money "from the children" and "from children's programming" to pay for maintenance and repairs. This begs the question: Isn't ensuring a safe and healthy school structure also "for the children?" Why wait years for a separate bond proposal?
I believe that our school board members and district school officials are honest and hardworking and are paying more attention to school expenditures than in the past. However, I also believe that the school board is overwhelmed by its responsibilities and is overmatched by union officials who manage to take the school district to the cleaners every three or four years. Don't let history repeat itself. Manhasset should be more than happy that there are individuals who are willing to take the time and effort to question why our school taxes are so high.