Thoughts on electing school board members

| 17 May 2021 | 01:27

    There are many factors to consider.

    1) Most of the costs are beyond the control of the local schools. Costs are determined by the state and NYS has the highest cost per year per pupil to educate a child in primary and secondary education. Twice the national average.

    2) Many people say they have moved to Warwick or want to move to Warwick because of the schools. Even the non-incumbent school board candidates say the schools are terrific. The major issue appears to be one of gearing education to varying members of the society which sends the children to the schools. Some feel it dilutes the program they want.

    3) In order to understand the diversity based on racial and ethnic background, it might be wise to look at numbers compiled by the “School Digger” organization which began in 2006 to rank schools throughout the United States based on enrollment test scores, crime, teacher ratios and many other factors.

    Looking at the WV School System, we find the following:

    Elementary schools


    Ranks 344 out of 2,401 in NYS: Percentage makeup: W 77 H 13.5 AA 2.4

    Park Ave

    Ranks 941 out of 2,401 in NYS: Percentage makeup: W 69.4 H 19.8 AA 3.5

    Middle School

    Ranks 289 out of 1,425 in NYS: Percentage makeup: W 74.8 H 15.1 AA 3.7

    High School

    Ranks 184 out of 1,202 in NYS: Percentage makeup: W 75 H 15 AA 3.7

    Another ranking service placed the Warwick Schools number two in Orange County.

    My take: Gearing education to account for a substantial minority population fits in the following quotation by Mahatma Ghandi: “A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.”

    Given all of the above, I do not think it wise to rock the boat when it comes to changing the guard.

    One suggestion I have is for the board members to understand the “wealth criteria” when it comes to state aid to local district schools. No one seems to understand the formula. Cornwall has an average household income about the same as Warwick yet Cornwall gets a higher percentage of state aid.

    Thirty-nine percent of NYS property is not taxed at all (religious, educational, special arrangements) which places the burden on homeowners. The SALT cap of 10K places an additional burden on 30 percent of Orange County home owners of double taxation. U.S. Sen. Schumer has authored S85 which repeals the recently imposed SALT cap.

    This goes beyond the pay grade of the School Board but I am happy that at least one incumbent notes the strain on the homeowner. She represents me in looking beyond local politics and understanding why people leave NYS.

    Gerard Freisinger