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Attitude change needed in General Brown

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I have lived in the General Brown school district for over 30 years and have contributed over $50,000 in taxes. Currently I have four grandchildren attending General Brown.

We have a shared responsibility for the crisis we face in this district. Year after year, we as taxpayers have approved budgets, elected school board members and supported administrative decisions.

Instead of staging preventative and capital expense projects via a development schedule, we incurred a huge outlay of cash, regardless of state support contributions. It wasn’t like back in the ’80s; we didn’t know the impact of Fort Drum on the district.

Retirement, salaries and health care costs have grown out of control while we sat by and let union negotiations quietly slip by.

How could we allow a state representative to come in here and condemn an entire bus fleet, especially after we spent thousands of dollars cleaning what was suppose to be refurbishable units?

I would propose the following considerations:

n Don’t hire a new superintendent. Let the school board, principals, business manager, grounds and maintenance supervisor, transportation department and the slew of assistant administrators do the job with designated authority and accountability.

n Cut retirement benefits by 50 percent on all new budgeting.

n Increase employee health contributions above the current 20 percent so it proportionally protects against the huge premium adjustments coming down the road from the Affordable Care Act.

n Reduce the number of games on the athletic schedule for all sports, especially those that require lengthy and expensive travel. Also, market more booster club activity and require student athletes’ participation in all fundraising.

The bottom line is this: Do you, as responsible teachers and parents, want to cut back on your lavish retirement portfolio and sacrifice a bit of your credit card mentality or see more of your kids sitting in classrooms of 35 or more students, deprived of the educational opportunities you had? If it’s truly about the kids, then the adult “take all attitudes” must cease. Perhaps, soon we will all be working full years, if we want a barrel full of benefits.

Insolvency is no joke.

Charles W. Leonard

Watertown

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