Taxation without representation.
That's what some are calling a joint venture between the Lancaster Central School District and the Town of Lancaster.
Last week, Town Board members adopted a $100,000 bond to pay for an addition to the town's Youth Bureau, a roofed-in patio located at the rear of the Oxford Avenue facility. Once it's enclosed, the room will house a suspended-student teaching program. Teachers, books and lunches will be provided by the school district, while the town supplies the space and the room.
Good idea at first glance, critics say -- but look again.
"To this point we may see nothing wrong with their efforts, but let's look a little more into the program," said Daniel Beutler, a Depew resident and a Depew Union Free School District board member.
He pointed out that Depew residents who live on the Lancaster side of the border but send their children to Depew schools "will be taxed for something we won't use."
"I think it's terrible we in Depew are taking care of students in another district," Beutler said.
Lancaster Supervisor Robert H. Giza defended the project.
"We didn't keep (the Depew school district) out. The (Lancaster) School Board came to us," Giza said. "Depew never approached us."
Maybe so, but according to Lancaster Superintendent Joseph L. Girardi, Lancaster approached Depew about a shared program, a conversation the Depew superintendent doesn't remember having.
"If we did, it was short-lived, but I don't have a recollection of it," said Robert Olzack.
According to Girardi, Olzack said Depew school officials were "satisfied with our program and not interested in running another one."
The way the Lancaster program will work, suspended pupils will be bused to their home schools in the morning. A district bus will make rounds to pick them up and deliver them to the Youth Bureau, which will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. A maximum of eight students will be tutored there.
Most of the suspensions occur at Aurora Middle School and the high school, said Georgette F. Pelletterie, president of the Lancaster School Board and a Lancaster Town Board member.
Officials expect the program to be operating by fall.