Weekly Feature

2015-04-01 / Editorials

Board of Education: It’s time to make a stand

Bee Editorial

The tone during the Clarence Board of Education budget workshop on Monday was for the first time in years, optimistic. The district may soon be in position to not only reduce the tax levy below the cap, but also restore some of the positions lost due to extreme budget gaps the last four years.

While that is good news and should make parents and students happy, we don’t think it goes far enough. So we are encouraging the Board of Education to continue with its original proposal at the tax cap of 4.78 percent, with the intent that all additional funds accrued will bring back more teachers and staff.

Clarence has lost 113 employees the past four years due to budget cuts. While we cannot rank any of their positions by importance — because all of those people no doubt made an impact — we highly recommend that the district first address the lack of any social workers. At its peak, the district employed two, full-time social workers, charged with monitoring students for signs of depression, anxiety or abuse. Today, there are none. Without those skilled, trained positions, that responsibility has fallen on people who may not be qualified to see those signs.

As a news organization, we can tell you that there are police reports of domestic abuse that we choose not to print out of respect for the victims’ privacy almost on a weekly basis. And we have seen other cases involving squalor and neglect. Then there are the cases that aren’t so easily seen — the student with an alcoholic parent, but he lives in a $500,000 house, so everything must be OK, right? Clarence residents in all income brackets are not immune to the problems of other communities.

With regard to the rest of the faculty and staff, board President Mary Ellen Kloss said it best when she addressed a rally in front of the high school, noting that the Clarence School District shouldn’t need a foundation to support the clubs and activities — and the stipends to the people who invest their time and energy to run them — that are important to students.

Clarence has the third-best cost-effectiveness out of 432 upstate New York districts. It has the sixth-lowest spending per pupil in the state. And despite that, it still produces the third highest academic ranking in all of Western New York.

With the tax freeze credit available this year to rebate any increase incurred by taxpayers, this is the year to take back what has been stolen from your district. The credit may not be available next year. Not reducing the tax levy will incur opposition, but now is the time to reclaim what’s been lost.

Return to top

Clarence Special Events 2018
Click for schedule