Rondout Valley taxpayers demand a review for consolidation of the district administration
It is the responsibility of the Rondout Central School’s District Office to balance educational soundness with fiscal responsibility. We feel that this balance is not being achieved by the Administration and Board of Education’s approach of forcing principals from every school to make drastic cuts to next year’s budget which has resulted in reduced teaching and reduced programming while other budget reductions are not being fully explored. This approach that considers mainly the two options of closing a school or firing teachers, including special education teachers, opens our district to significant and costly problems in the future due to failures in delivery of services, lowered test scores, and new construction demands to name just a few.
In the past five years we have gone from supporting five district-wide administrative positions to ten. The average salary for these positions is $120,000, while the median income for this community is only $31,664. The administration has thus far proposed only minimal administrative cuts (an assistant principal, a nurse, and a grant coordinator whose position has never been filled to begin with.) The first two of these positions are notable for being administrative positions with a good deal of direct student contact; the third position is actually a position that could bring revenue to the district. The administration has thus far declined to provide detailed documentation to support why every district administrator’s job must be saved while teachers, teaching assistants and programs are cut. We are told that the funded mandates are to blame but our review (see Blog Tab above) argues otherwise. The BOE has remained silent to our request but we request this as tax payers, many of whom have lived here a lifetime.
While we acknowledge the important role that administrators play in providing leadership, direction and consistency in the schools, in this extraordinary time, every category of position must be scrutinized for possible savings. We have done well with a leaner administration in earlier times; these lean times demand such a scaling down. As homeowners & community members, we know the value of good schools to our community's economic health. The scaling down must begin at the top, not at the bottom.
As the Rondout tag line states, “Together we can, Together we will”. It is time to realize that “together” means each and every one of us, even the ones at the top. Let’s rebuild the trust in our community with transparency, collaboration, and equity.