Letters to the Editor (6/4/09)

June 4, 2009

School configuration decision near

The School Board would like to inform the Williston community of new information regarding the reconfiguration of our schools. Option A, as it is known in the Frameworks Committee, has resurfaced. This option puts preschool, kindergarten and first and second grade at Allen Brook School, with third through eighth grades at Williston Central School. Option A would allow us to eliminate the modular classrooms currently located at Allen Brook School. This has been an ongoing issue between the School Board and the Development Review Board. Perceived benefits of Option A are as follows:

•    Continuous grades under one roof

•    Maintains multi-age philosophy

•    Eliminates need for trailers at Allen Brook School, saving taxpayers money related to upgrading them or building an addition

•    Increases peer group in first and second, and third and fourth grades

•    Aligns resources (library, music, etc.)

•    Creates a stronger sense of school

•    Aligns administrative oversight within buildings

•    Creates equity in related arts classes, special events, transition, etc.

•    Increases staff collaboration opportunities across and within the grade span

•    Saves yearly overhead costs for utilities and maintenance to Allen Brook School modulars

•    Most efficient use of facilities

The administration is gathering further information regarding the details of this option. The School Board welcomes community input via e-mail.

The School Board will meet again on Monday, June 15 at 4 p.m. at Williston Central School to make its final decision regarding building configuration as well as grade span groupings.

Thank you to everyone involved in this entire process, especially the Frameworks Committee for all of their time and hard work. Every voice, every opinion and every thought from all of the committee members will help our school community find a meaningful solution to challenging issues in our school. Without their work of the past year, we could never be where we are today.

Chairwoman Darlene Worth, Deb Baker-Moody, Laura Gigliotti, Holly Rouelle, Keith Roy

Williston School Board

 

What economic recovery?

Unemployment has reached 9 percent nationally and has been increasing every month for over a year. The Wall Street Journal has reported that the combination of stimulus and bailout spending is equivalent to 27.5 percent of national GDP. Twice what World War II cost the United States in inflation adjusted dollars and the public has no idea who has gotten most of that cash.

In 1989, Congress amended the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act requiring lenders to collect data on borrowers so that lending could be based on race and location rather than on things like credit worthiness, citizenship or verifiable income. Then, in 1992, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development began pressuring Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac (providers of government guaranteed loans, both institutions still financially sinking like a stone) to buy up trillions in mortgages for low to moderate income borrowers. To meet the federal quotas of 45 percent loans going to “needy people,” the subprime mortgage loan was invented. Huge blocks of mortgages were “bundled” then guaranteed by derivatives bought up in the billions by the likes of AIG.

The U.S. mortgage delinquency rate just hit 9.12 percent this month, up from a record of 7.88 percent. Interest rates are still artificially low and if they don’t rise soon we will soon start experiencing hyperinflation. The new Credit Card Bill of Rights will cut deeply into your credit. Auto sales have dropped from 16 million a year to less than 10 million units while the same people that run Social Security now own controlling shares of two of the three largest U.S. automakers.

Bank failures are projected to hit a new record this year. Taxes and oil costs are still rising while housing values continue to decline. The new greener energy policy is going to cause energy costs to spike. California and Michigan are insolvent. Where exactly can I find this recovery?

Shelley Palmer

Williston

 

Bus troubles

My 15-year-old daughter arrived home from school at 4:55 p.m. on May 27. She usually gets off the bus at 3:45 p.m. No bus showed up at school for that particular bunch of kids, so they all stood around waiting, not knowing if they were to find other ways home, or if a bus would eventually come for them.

This is the very end of the school year, and they still don’t have it right. I don’t know about any other route, but this one has been hit and miss all year. The location of the pick-up at the end of the day, and the bus number, changes randomly and my daughter has to call because she has missed the bus (she is part time and isn’t there when it’s announced, if it is announced). She has been assigned numerous buses in the mornings she is picked up, and now there are a total of five to seven kids picked up on an enormous bus and taken to school. In the beginning of the year, the bus was so crowded that kids were falling off the seats, no room to sit. She rides in with about six kids, and home on a different bus that is usually pretty full.

Is it that they are high school kids and transportation isn’t the priority for the bus garage for this age group? Are there other routes that have been in flux all year, and unpredictable? Why run a long bus all the way to Champlain Valley Union High School from Williston for only six or seven kids every morning?

Kimberly Townsend

Williston