It’s time to address the elephant in the room: the school budget.
Every year it grows larger, and taxes go up. It seems to be an unsustainable system. But, unfortunately, there aren’t any better options — it’s the only game in town.
While the district’s 2014-15 spending plan is larger than the current one, at $103.1 million, it is a measured increase — just 2.37 percent. It manages to keep all of the district’s programs intact and all of the teachers on staff, while holding the tax levy increase to 1.75 percent, under the state tax cap.
It’s important for residents to remember that if the budget doesn’t pass, that will impact the schools. Programs and extracurricular activites will be cut, and the quality of education in Rockville Centre will be reduced, as will home values, which are so closely tied to the schools.
A vote in support of the budget is a vote in support of the district’s wonderful schools, and of our children’s future. It’s also a vote for the value of your home. The Herald encourages residents to make their support clear on Tuesday.
Spaulding, Kramer for school board
When it comes to Board of Education candidates, voters will have a more difficult decision to make at the polls this year than they did last year. Lynda Rubino is challenging incumbents Gregg Spaulding and Mayda Kramer for one of their seats on the board.
Rubino lost to John O’Shea last year. This year, however, she has proved to be a much stronger candidate. She has been attending school board meetings, and knows what’s happening in the district. By staying involved, she proved that she is committed to the schools, and not just a one-time candidate.
But what the district needs more than anything right now is experienced and proven leaders, which is why we are endorsing Spaulding and Kramer.
Both have years of experience on the board, and in the age of the tax cap, that experience is more valuable than ever. With every dollar the district spends under a microscope, now is just not the right time for a neophyte board member.
Spaulding is an especially inquisitive trustee. During the budget process, he asks questions that most other board members don’t. He has proven to be a watchdog on spending, making sure residents’ tax dollars are being used appropriately.
At board meetings, Kramer is almost Spaulding’s mirror image, quiet and reserved, very rarely speaking. Entire meetings can go by without her saying a word. But in conversation, it becomes clear that she is perhaps the most passionate member of the board. She wants to see Rockville Centre’s children succeed, because she understands that they are the future.
We encourage Kramer, in her next term, to be more vocal at meetings, to let the public see more of the passion that makes her such an admirable board member.