I recently read in the Daily Freeman that our Kingston schools superintendent will be retiring in 2012. I also read that board members [Maureen] Bowers and [Chris] Farrell praised him to high heaven for the excellent job that he has done since he was hired in 2004. They stated that he has started excellent programs since he was hired.
Did they forget to mention that since he was hired that his salary has gone from $140,000 to his present salary of $195,000 while our taxes have gone up every year since then? Did they also forget to mention that at last year’s budget time the entire board voted to give him a one-year extension on his contract and also a raise of $5,000 that he accepted while all the other school superintendents declined?
Every year at budget time he comes out with a story that he would have to lay off people. Why doesn’t he tell the taxpayers that he rehires them back in September except for those who retire?
The school board has been talking about closing Meagher School. He also stated that it would save $680,000. What a big deal when you have a budget of $141 million! That is only the tip of the iceberg.
Whenever statements are published about what is going on in the district, why is he not available to talk to the press? Why do the board president and board members have to keep the taxpayers informed? That is what he is getting paid for. I also read in the paper that there are nine people running for four positions on the board. I urge you to be very careful when casting your vote. The taxpayers need board members who are for the taxpayers and not interested in reading there names in the paper.
This year it is time to clean house and put some fresh ideas on the board. Let’s give our retiring superintendent a good sendoff by defeating the budget in May. Get out and vote. Slam the budget down big-time. The taxpayers are still waiting for the superintendent to tell us how many people he has laid off the past couple of budgets.
(Editor’s note: Superintendent Gretzinger has, in my experience, been very good about talking to our reporters in a timely fashion.)
Diving for deposits
I spoke to several visitors to Kingston who commented on the great facilities they saw at the Kingston High School track event this weekend at Dietz Stadium.
I asked what could have been done better.
They commented that the overflowing trash cans and the wind made litter blow around unnecessarily and there was no separate containers for recycling. And one commented that two yellow-shirted what appeared to be volunteers or employees were instead of emptying full trash cans and replacing trash bags were collecting returnable deposit containers from those seated and picking through the trash cans for them.
William F. Berardi
Try some simple math
The Kingston school district is starting their effort to convince us taxpayers their proposed budget is bare-bones. Here are some questions to ask yourself before you go into the voting booth on May 17.
The district is making a big play on eliminating 43 jobs and saving $431,000. Simple math says those 43 people each cost the district $10,000 per year. Perhaps the district is confused over the meaning of the verb ‘eliminate,’ which is to do away with versus “replace” with lower-cost employees.
Then we have our superintendent tell us closing an elementary school would save the district $680,000. I always believed closing a facility meant we no longer needed the employees assigned to that facility. Again, simple math. Assuming an average cost to the district per employee assigned to that school is $40,000 per year, that equals 17 employees. Or did the district again get confused over the meaning of the verb “eliminate” vs. “reassign”? If the answer is reassign, then explain how the remaining schools to which these employees are now assigned were short-staffed to begin with.
I believe we are not getting a straight story from the administration and the school board. My wakeup call to both on May 17 is no to the budget.
Ronald E. Dietl
Warnings about excess
A major rite of passage in the American high school is the prom. In many cases, this has led to excesses and behaviors that can only be described as sinful. I am happy to say that the students of John A. Coleman have not succumbed to these activities.
For example, the excess in apparel has led to absurd costs. This year, the juniors and seniors are co-sponsoring the prom. Since many of our students attend both proms, this will lead to a reduction of half the tux rentals and half the prom dresses. Because of the size of our school, this is a great reduction in expenses and does not change the opportunities for our students to participate.
The number of limos is at a minimum and when they are used they are shared among groups of students. The idea of using a limo seems like an excessive cost, but the safety in making sure that young drivers are not behind the wheel late at night seems like a good compromise for some of our students and their families.
The students shop for a reasonably priced venue. Although the travel from the school is a little more than I’d like, the cost of the facility including the dinner and the music makes this a very good selection.
The students have raised enough money to offset a good part of the cost of a ticket. This is more true for the seniors than the juniors, but this will be the case again next year. So our present juniors will see a reduction in their tickets for their senior year.
We have not had a problem with abuse of drugs and alcohol at the prom. Parents and students, please help us to continue this success. The tragedy of an accident is too great if we don’t abide by this rule. Besides the danger, if a student is caught using drugs or alcohol or arrives under the influence, they will be barred from the prom, and the disciplinary consequence is extensive, including both suspension and the possible loss of attending graduation. Further, I am not writing to just eliminate drinking and driving, I am writing to make sure that drinking (and drugs) are not part of our event at all.
However, the reason for this note is to assure you that we have great expectations for a successful prom for students who certainly deserve it. They arrive looking beautiful and handsome, enjoy their hours together, and leave together as a close group of friends.
Parents, students and friends, I have been asked to forward this important message from the Ulster County office of the district attorney as a reminder: There are some severe consequences for parents who allow their homes to host an activity that includes consumption of alcoholic beverages by minors. This includes fines, imprisonment and civil damages. To help with this, make sure your home will not be used for such an event, and that you know where your son/daughter is going before and after the prom to make sure there is appropriate adult supervision that will not allow alcoholic consumption to occur.
Coleman Catholic High School