Friday, 02 April 2010 00:00On behalf of the Board of Education, I am writing to clarify our position as it applies to our Budget Advisory Committee (BAC). (See “Mass Resignations By BAC Members,” The Roslyn News, March 25, 2010). This year, the BAC was charged with three tasks that could have a significant impact on the budget for many years to come: 1) benefits analysis; 2) purchasing protocol; and 3) revenue streams outside of the tax base. These issues were first raised years ago but because the BAC was focused on more fundamental issues such as line-by-line budget analysis they were never addressed.
The new charge was given to the BAC this year in large part because of the fine work they had done in conjunction with the Board of Education and the District Administration. The Board felt that the focus could now shift to a new charge that would help the District with other significant budget related matters. Regrettably, this year’s BAC did not embrace the renewed charge.
The Board of Education tremendously respects the commitment of our community volunteers. Nothing in the Board charge was ever intended to preclude or inhibit any BAC member or any community member from examining the budget line by line as it is their right and duty of good citizenship to do. The line by line budget in 290 pages of detail was posted on the District website on or about March 18 where it remains available for the community to review. We are pleased that at our most recent meeting on March 25, J. Walter Reed publicly thanked the Board and Administration for providing detailed information on the website and acknowledged that “if anybody is interested in searching for each line, they now have the capacity to do it.” Mr. Reed also correctly indicated that, despite his resignation from the Committee, there are [several] members of the BAC “who want to work with the Board and Administration.”
In that spirit, we hope that all residents will continue to view and review the budget and the process as it evolves, and we welcome your comments and constructive criticism. No one needs a Board charge to be a good citizen when all citizens have the same access to the same information. We continue to believe that the charge that was given to the BAC this year regarding benefits, purchasing and revenue will be important to our budget’s future and, to that end, we invite interested residents with qualifications in these areas and a desire to participate to send letters of interest to the Board of Education.
Meryl Waxman Ben-Levy,
President, Roslyn Board of Education