I am writing in response to "Don't let district put you in the poor house," published Thursday.
This kind of preposterous and ignorant speech is exactly what the residents of the Fonda-Fultonville School District do not need as we attempt to overcome what is a serious threat to our children's education.
Mr. Shea (the writer of Thursday's letter), who is himself a 2007 graduate of Fonda-Fultonville High School and was given the opportunities of sports, art and music, which he wants to vote to deny my children, needs to deal with facts instead of fantasy.
Fact: The school budget that was proposed was less than our budget last year. Spending was actually cut 1.31 percent. Unfortunately, FFCS lost $2.4 million in state aid last year and $2.25 million in state aid this year. The amount of state aid our district receives is at the lowest it's been since 2003. Should the students be made to suffer for this?
Fact: The tax increase would have amounted to less than $20 per month per household, hardly enough to "give up Christmas" or "foreclose on your house," but it is certainly a small price to pay to keep vital programs in our school.
Fact: The school is not spending tax money recklessly. In fact, school spending has been reduced for the past three years in a row. Staff has been reduced as well. In 2007, FFCS had 134 teachers on staff. In 2012, the number is down to 127, despite increased student enrollment.
Fonda-Fultonville families have always been proud of our school district, and with good reason. Our elementary school is a Blue Ribbon school, one of only 17 in New York state. We have the highest high school graduation rate in Montgomery County, and our standardized test scores are consistently among the best. Drastic cuts to the school budget will jeopardize all these achievements and our children's futures.
To urge people to "vote no [no] matter what the school district proposes in the future" is irresponsible and reprehensible. Whether you are a current or past FFCS family, I urge you to look at the facts and vote to support our school district and our children.