Oysterponds Elementary School was the only district on the North Fork to fail in passing its 2012-13 budget Tuesday night. Voters spoke out 192 yes to 253 no to vote down the $5,353,894 budget — a plan to reduce spending by $270,000 this year, but the tax levy increase is estimated at 2.5 percent.
Though board incumbent members Linda Goldsmith and Krista de Kerillis won their bids for re-election Tuesday night after polls closed, the victory was bittersweet. To de Kerillis, the failure to pass what seemed like a reasonable budget is the result of an ongoing distrust the Orient community feels toward their board of education.
Recently, the issue of whether or not Oysterponds should allow parents the option of sending their kids to for secondary schooling has been a main source conflict in the district. Commenters on election 2012 stories on Patch have questioned the motivations of board members for allowing this secondary school choice, some citing elitism and racism.
This week, we covered the issue live and wrote several follow-up pieces, included a poll asking your thoughts on what, if anything should change at the little school. The majority of voters believed that the board of education should drop the idea of sending kids to and from Mattituck for secondary education and move on. Commenter Ted Webb, former board president, recommended that board members return to a state of good old-fashioned dignity and respect.
Here are the poll results and a few comments from this week's coverage:
- What, if anything, should change at Oysterponds? (Voting has been closed for this question)
- Drop the idea of secondary school choice — it's not realistic to bus kids all the way to Mattituck 42 (61%)
- Keep fighting for secondary school choice — strife is part of change and this too shall pass 4 (5%)
- Close Oysterponds as a public school, consolidate with Greenport and reopen Oysterponds as a private school — now that's choice 4 (5%)
- Re-work the existing 2012-13 budget to reduce the tax levy increase — it will pass, this latest vote was a one-off political statement 1 (1%)
- Adopt an austerity budget — no one has any money to fund anything extra these days — and work to Consolidate all North Fork School districts into one, as we've been suggesting for years 16 (23%)
- Other - I'll describe in the comments below 1 (1%)
"Having grown up in the era of busing for equality [ ../ and having the spectre of being bussed to Andrew jackson in Queens 30 minutes west to a rediculous school, I understand the residents frustrations over this issue.Our solution was to tell the Govenor/ Government go to hell and many of us went to a catholic high school. our rights for education begin and end on OUR FRONT DOOR. We got a REAL SECULAR EDUCATION.and a lesson Secular govenment in the 60 s . tell greenport go to hell open a charter school or if you want your kids to get educated find a catholic school They have scholarships for the needy too..." —
"This budget failed for the sole reason that it was incomplete. As for your comment about Mrs. Goldsmith, have you really ever talked with her? She is a highly educated and extremely dedicated woman. She is for the district. And yes she is Pro-Greenport. Not because her daughter teaches there but because she sent both of her daughters to school there. They both went on to great college. So would you not call her a hypocrite if she supported some other school. Not that you can blame it on Mrs. Goldsmith anyways. We are educated people making a choice that has been awarded to us by living in this wonderful country. You think we are followers. If we were we would have passed a half assed budget. We are not following, we are making our own choice. Chock it up to paying $20,000 for a new car only to find out you don't have an engine or tires included. This budget was far to arbitrary to be passed." —
"The 2012-2013 school budget was a referendum on the choices made by the Oysterponds BOE. Seeing how the two incumbents were re-elected and the budget failed tells me that the Oysterponds community is dissatisfied with the "choice" agenda pursued by the likes of you and Dumont. You and Dumont along with Gray and a few other clowns have co-opted the Oysterponds School District and used it as vehicle to implement you own agenda. Guess what, it’s over now. Contrary to the statement made by Joan Friscano, the public was not confused about what was on the ballot; it was a vote of no confidence in the Board President and her cronies as well as a rejection of the agenda pursued by you." —
"Linda for an austerity budget? Do you know anything about her??? This is a woman who wouldn't let her children leave the house without finishing homework, quizzing them, reading time, etc. She was the woman when I came home with a 95 on a test asked my why I didn't get 100 and made sure I knew why I got 5 points off and what the correct answers were. This is the woman that pushes my 19 year old cousin to stay in college and tutors her when needed (Nassau County). She is the one that tutored my other cousin to get through high school tests. I'm pretty sure she wouldn't approve of austerity if children's education would suffer. With that being said maybe just think about the fact that Mattituck is miles away from Orient and having the choice is ridiculous. If Greenport was a bad choice, I would agree with the choice of schools, but I have yet to understand why it would be a bad choice. Imagine waking up half an hour earlier to get on the bus...to get home half an hour later from sports/clubs...to have to get a ride back during the evening to go to another club...to finding a ride home...what time is it now? When am I doing my homework or eating dinner or taking a shower?" —
"Oysterponds would be well-advisedl to re-visit the "Values Statement" adopted by the board several years ago. First rule: " We will treat each other with dignity and respect." In a collegial environment great things can happen!" —