Work to do in Onteora district

in

To The Editor:
We, Tony Fletcher and Laurie Osmond, would like to thank the voters of the Onteora Central School District for re-electing us to the school board on Tuesday, May 15. We appreciate the vote of confidence.

The election was ultimately quite civil, and has to be viewed as healthy for the district. It allowed voters to state a preference for the first time in four years, and engaged the candidates in a conversation about choices and opportunities, education and finances. We enjoyed being able to articulate our own thoughts about public education in general, the Onteora District in particular, and would like to thank Cybele Nielsen and Rebecca Balzac for doing likewise.

We wish to reiterate to all Onteora voters that we will do whatever is within our role as trustees to ensure that the elementary reconfiguration delivers the improvements in education that have been promised. We will also continue to act positively at the board table, and work to represent the student and taxpayers of the entire district. With the re-configuration in September, the make-up of the PTAs will shift accordingly, and they will have their own major role to play in bringing our large district closer together. We look forward to that, as parents as well as trustees.

There remain many issues at stake for all New York school districts. The tax levy cap requires continued close scrutiny of our operating expenses. The governor has set up an Education Reform Commission, but without school board representation, which increases the importance of the Legislative Action Committee established by the current Onteora Board President.

Within our own school district, we hear the calls from parents for a more collegiate environment in the upper grades, and a desire to preserve and even increase our excellent extra-curricular programs; we have mandated responsibilities to meet certain state requirements, and an absolute imperative to improve our graduation rates. The board of education has an important role to play in all of these areas.

In the meantime, as the school year reaches its conclusion and we say goodbye to our wonderful senior class while anticipating the arrival of a new and sizeable kindergarten class, we look forward to seeing you all around this vast and beautiful area that forms the Onteora School District.

Tony Fletcher,
Mt Tremper
Laurie Osmond, Willow

PS — In a previous letter, Tony Fletcher referred to school board as, “the only unelected position in New York State.” He is aware now that this is not the case and would like to apologize for the inaccuracy.