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Letter: Stop scapegoating Clarence teachers

Stop scapegoating Clarence teachers

In recent years, Clarence has lost almost $70 million in expected state funding, and hemorrhaged over 102 teaching and service positions. School districts deserve to be made whole, and scapegoating teachers isn’t going to accomplish that.

A small group of people continue to pollute local media with misinformation about Clarence’s schools. Their relentlessly injurious campaign leaves average households worried about taxes and the quality of their kids’ educations. Here are the facts:

• The school district had nothing to do with reassessments that took place last spring, and the school tax rate decreased as a result.

• Teachers not at the highest step will get an extra $180 each year, in addition to their state-mandated step increase. That hardly seems inequitable. Projections of declining enrollment seem to have been wrong and premature. Without teachers, there are no schools. Clarence schools do more with less, and teachers deserve fair remuneration for their efforts.

• The music department needs money to hire back people it lost thanks to the anti-tax efforts of preceding years. Hypocrisy doesn’t even come close to describing school opponents’ feigned concern over music.

• The district is proposing its third consecutive under-cap tax levy, and most homeowners will receive that back through a tax rebate.

• Clarence’s per-pupil costs are the seventh lowest in the entire state.

Three consecutive years of prudent, responsible budgets have helped stanch the bleeding. The board has slowly begun the process of rebuilding a district brought in 2013 to its financial knees.

Alan Bedenko

Clarence Center