Some updates from the Oneonta City Council with regard to the May 15 elections. Second Ward Representative Larry Malone has penned a letter to residents which nicely frames the issues. With his permission I’ve copied the text below or click on the image for a pdf.
Also under the headline Council approves funds for playground project is more information regarding the Oneonta City Council meeting and a resolution sponsored by Fourth Ward Representative Michael Lynch:
Council members unanimously passed a resolution supporting the Oneonta City School District’s proposed 2012-13 budget and related resolutions.
The measure, presented by Fourth Ward council member Michael Lynch also urges eligible voters to “become informed” and turn out for the May 15 vote but doesn’t specify how to vote. . . .
In discussing his motion, Lynch said the state “bullied” the district through funding cuts into devising a plan to close Center Street Elementary School. In this year’s state budget process, the state’s relief to districts didn’t include Oneonta, said Lynch, a representative with New York State United Teachers, and the Oneonta school district, neighborhoods and council need to work together to demand appropriate funding from the state.
As the result of a $1.4 million deficit, the Oneonta Board of Education has considered closing Center Street Elementary, which is in Lynch’s ward, to meet the shortfall.
With thanks to Oneonta City Council for their efforts, here is the letter from Larry Malone:
Dear Second Ward Resident,
I am writing as the Second Ward Representative to the Oneonta City Council. Many of our constituents are concerned about the potential closure of Center Street Elementary School. The decision to close the school would be based on state funding cuts, but closing such a centrally located school will have negative effects on the children enrolled and the economy of the Oneonta Center City neighborhoods. The same would be true, of course, for any neighborhoods proximate to the other three elementary schools in the City School District.
Closing Center Street Elementary School would harm the attractiveness of the immediate area as a residential community. Neighborhood schools are desirable public assets for cities the size of Oneonta. These schools serve as places for community celebrations and gatherings, the arts, and not-for-profit groups holding programs and meetings. Community schools support downtown businesses, provide an anchor to the community, and maintain property values because families often choose to purchase homes near schools.
I respectfully ask that you vote “Yes Yes Yes” on May 15th, and encourage your neighbors and friends to vote “Yes Yes Yes” as well. Doing so will allow us to advocate for a restoration of school funding in Oneonta so that a long term plan can be developed to mitigate the impacts of a decision of this magnitude. Given the downward trends in birthrates, we need to be more pro-active in developing a response to this budgetary challenge. A long-term plan, with strategic implementation, would give us a better chance to reduce the negative effects on the quality of life and economy in some of our City neighborhoods.