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WHAT HAPPENED TO THE 'COMMUNITY' OF LANCASTER?

Everyone has a viewpoint regarding education, its funding and taxes these days, and I am no exception.

As a taxpayer, teacher, parent and grandparent in the Town of Lancaster, as well as a former village trustee and deputy mayor and a lifelong resident, I feel qualified to comment.

My political career coincided with the proposal and defeat of the consolidation of the police departments of the village and town. It was an inspired idea that was ended by politics.

Recently, I experienced similar drama surrounding the school district's budget crisis.

I've seen students hurt and confused by the actions of many of their elders in Lancaster. I specifically avoid using the term "community" to describe Lancaster, because at present, I don't think we are one.

One graduating class of students has had what should have been the most meaningful year of their high school lives tainted. To know that the adults they should be looking to as role models would deny them a rite of passage enjoyed by students in every previous year must be devastating.

One positive action I have seen is that the teachers have put forth the effort to raise a substantial amount of money to try to help rescue sports and all of the extracurricular programs.

The Lancaster Taxpayers'Association, band and athletic boosters, parents, teachers, administration, school board and residents all want the same thing -- the best educational experience for our children in anaffordable manner. No one has ever argued against that.

How can it be, then, that we have generated such hostility?

The taxpayers' group, led by some very intelligent and insightful people, has spent a phenomenal amount of time and energy to defeat any budgetproposal. Booster organizations commit a similar amount of time, energy and money in their attempt to counter the perceived damage.

Sports isn't a waste of time and money, and neither areextracurricular activities. This bickering among adults surely is. It's time to resolve our problems in an intelligent way.

Everyone needs to commit their energies and financial resources to establishing a powerful coalition to accomplish change where it is needed -- at the state level.

We should not be sniping at each other; we should be uniting to work for change.

Lancaster has a long history of acting as a community with the best interests of its children at heart. Let us re-establish our sense of community instead of turning into just another place to live.

W. James Kostecky Lancaster

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