For results and reflections, see Oneonta and Center Street School, 1981-2012.
In the Oneonta Daily Star, the April 13 opinion piece declares Tough decisions need to be made. It is certainly true that voters should “consider this proposition carefully,” but this editorial falls into some of the traps explored in the previous posts on Cannibalize the Future and Seven Reasons to Vote for a School Tax Increase.
We are thinking with our heads–and our pocketbooks. Although supporting elementary schools is sometimes portrayed as an emotional decision, we are thinking about the economic and community implications. Even a modest decline in property values–say 3%–would take 20 years to recover in tax savings. Yes, there are historical and emotional attachments, but there is also the very real risk of contributing to economic decline.
The tough decision is to vote “yes.” People in the past took the tough decision to finance our current schools through taxes. We need to take the tough decision to support elementary education for future generations.
Our actions now enable future possibilities. We are not simply “delaying the inevitable”–rather, we are creating a strong base from which to engage in a planning process, with community input and participation. It could be that we decide it is best to redistrict and consolidate to three elementary schools. Or maybe two schools. Or maybe one big school. All options should be on the table to form a realistic and forward-looking plan for Oneonta Schools.