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State should follow same model as schools

June 26, 2012
The Leader Herald

WRGB-TV Channel 6 reported legislators are still considering voting themselves pay raises. The report went on to say that Gov. Cuomo wants to tie the raises to raises for his commissioners. (I thought it was going to be tied to some sort of evaluation system-silly me.)

Schools, villages, and towns have been torn apart in the last few months by historic underfunding, more and more unfunded mandates, layoffs, forced retirements, cuts in programs, the tax cap, etc. Really tough decisions had to be made because Gov. Cuomo said the state is in fiscal trouble and "everyone" must sacrifice. So, communities are doing without. Kids are doing without. Taxpayers are being asked to contribute more. The state workers were bullied into opening their contracts and giving back. Many, many area school employees voted to give back on benefits last year and to freeze wages for next year.

Schools are being underfunded by millions then being told they have to do the hard work to sell their budgets. They are being told to sell their mergers. In rural areas, students will be on the bus for a very long time. When we said this to one area Senator, he said "Let 'em ride."

Gov. Cuomo, his staff and all state legislators should follow the same model schools and municipalities had to. Rather than raises, they should experience layoffs, forced retirements, cut programs, take benefit givebacks and wage freezes, and buy their own supplies, then do more with less next year, write Student Learning Objectives for their districts that they will be accountable for, then be embarrassed in the papers when their evaluations are published. And the public should be able to vote on their raises and they must be approved by a 60 percent supermajority.

Boy, are we suckers for giving back, then funding their raises.

Many local residents have written articulate letters to the editor in regard to the school budget votes. The letters included average teacher wages, pension contributions and percentages they pay toward health care. I hope these same people do their homework and write letters of outrage in regard to this issue.


Fort Plain



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