Things We Learned From the Candidate Forum

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Things that Joe Lombardo says don’t matter:

  • Class sizes in excess of district guidelines
  • Teachers having good pay or benefits; investment in human resources
  • Artificial turf that helps the district not cancel games in the rain
  • Business First rankings & Clarence’s slide from 1st to 3rd
  • Restoring back teachers
  • Inflation
  • Contract law
  • The town’s growth factor

Things that Jacob Kerksiek says don’t matter:

  • Class sizes in excess of district guidelines
  • Teachers having good pay or benefits; investment in human resources
  • Librarians in the elementary school
  • Business First rankings & Clarence’s slide from 1st to 3rd
  • Restoring back teachers
  • Courses outside the “common core”
  • Anything that doesn’t prepare kids for college entrance exams. Except “music”.

Both of these candidates spent much of many answers attacking teachers. Mr. Kerksiek – who, upon information and belief, has ever attended one board meeting – went so far as to call some high school teachers, “horrendous”, and both candidates referred to the teachers’ health insurance policies and state pensions a “luxury”.

We don’t abide attacks on teachers or their pay. We appreciate the work that they do and the way they help to educate our kids. We look forward to the restoration of librarians so that our kids can better learn to do research and think independently. We reject denunciations of teachers for having good health insurance, as well as candidates who claim in one breath that they pay “nothing”, and then acknowledge their responsibility for co-pays in the next. We reject the notion that pay for teachers should be a race to the bottom, or that the district should put the screw to teachers in negotiations – points that completely ignore the realities of the Triborough Amendment to the Taylor Law.

We reject the idea that our school district’s slide from 1st to 3rd doesn’t matter. While Business First’s rankings may not be perfect, they exist and we should never settle for 3rd best when 1st is attainable. Is that what we’ll teach our kids – that a 3.0 is as good as a 4.0? The reality is that Business First’s rankings matter to homebuyers, and a continued slide will hurt demand and property values in a town that saw 17.5% population growth from 2000 – 2010.

We reject the notion that we can maintain excellent quality of our schools with rising class sizes overseen by underpaid teachers who are under siege. We especially reject this anti-teacher rhetoric from people who don’t owe a legal obligation to pay school taxes in the first place. We reject the school opponents’ claims that they aren’t school opponents while waging war on the schools’ human resources, calling on the district to spend more on class supplies while divesting itself from teacher salaries and benefits.

Michael Fuchs and Dennis Priore understand the need for smaller class sizes and restoring our district’s excellence. They won’t throw teachers under the bus, and recognize that our investment in human resources is as important as our investment in the physical plant and technology. As the only homeowners and taxpayers running for board, only they can truly balance district needs with taxpayer concerns.

Michael Fuchs and Dennis Priore will work to strengthen the district without declaring war on teachers or teaching. Our “MD” slate of candidates realize that sound bites aren’t as important our investment in education. Although Kerksiek and Lombardo didn’t come out and say so, neither supports the current budget proposal and are seeking to fail the budget. Mike & Dennis will vote for the budget and support the restoration of the 11 lost positions, representing only a 10th of what the district has lost.

We are Keep Clarence Schools Great, and our mission is our name. We believe that we, as parents, work in conjunction with the faculty and administration to create lifelong learners. We see our graduates’ accomplishments and expect the same school quality and pedagogical rigor for our kids.

We are Keep Clarence Schools Great, and we urge you to vote YES on Proposition 1 and 2, and we urge you to vote for the only two acceptable board candidates: “MD”; Michael Fuchs and Dennis Priore. 

 

 

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