HAYNES: Further Thoughts on Schenevus Merger

Letter from Stacie Haynes

Further Thoughts on Schenevus Merger

We all know that emotions can often trump facts when dealing with heated issues that people care about. Despite this, I’d like to continuing sharing facts with the voters in the Schenevus Central School District, in desperation to improve our children’s educational programs and opportunities.

Right after I joined the school board in July 2018, our interim superintendent at the time informed us that the district was financially insolvent and we had no choice but to make some tough decisions moving forward, in order to ensure we were able to meet our public education state mandates. I was furious to learn how unfair and unequal our education system was and is. I was ready to protest in Albany and to fight for state aid that would equalize the educational opportunities our students deserve. I put forth a lot of effort in that advocacy, but my efforts went nowhere. We even have a state senator who lives in our district and we still can’t get state aid to equalize our education. This is no disrespect to our senator—it is simply to demonstrate how difficult it is to change New York State’s education system.

As we moved through the last four years and continued to learn about the bleak future facing the Schenevus district (fair or not), we were presented with an opportunity to improve our children’s educational opportunities and provide relief to our taxpayers. This, of course, was an annexation merger with Worcester. There are many folks who can’t seem to get past the word “annexation” because they see it as a take-over of Schenevus. It’s fine to be upset, frustrated, etc., at this thought, but it’s time to get over it. Folks kicking and screaming to vote no again in the upcoming vote (scheduled for February 15) should consider a few facts.

Under the new Board of Education, seen by many as heroes, did your taxes go up? They sure did. Did we lose programming? We sure did. Did we lose valued administrators who had been with the district for years? We did. Did we lose valued staff and teachers? Yes. Did we delay a capital project to fix a leaking roof and exterior brick walls that are going to crumble off because we can’t afford to fix them? The answer is yes.

A “no” vote will mean your taxes are going to continue going up. The former superintendent did a great job getting the budget under control but, in order to do that, programs were decimated. The only reason this isn’t glaringly obvious to everyone is because of the COVID-19 federal relief funds. When those run out, the picture won’t be so rosy and you will see your taxes rise even higher. Right now, the number one class offered to students in Schenevus is study hall.

There is a sixth-grader with two study halls. They are in band and chorus, too. Without band and chorus, this student would have four study halls in the sixth grade.

A “yes” vote will pump millions of state aid into a merged district. It will provide tax relief and it will improve the educational programs and opportunities for our students, which is so desperately needed. Our children deserve no less.

Stacie Haynes
Westford former president, Schenevus Central School Board of Education

3 thoughts on “HAYNES: Further Thoughts on Schenevus Merger

  1. Michael Makofske

    Stop pushing the issue- the voters will say no once again. Your like a Democrat, if you don’t get your way, you keep pushing it.
    Go voters for Joe Biden again, he’s doing a great job right ? NOT!

  2. Carmen Williams

    Since when do taxes ever go down? They always go up every year and will continue.
    We knew they were going up, so it wasn’t a big surprise. What’s the real reason teachers left….oh maybe the hostile work environment from the last superintendent. An annexation merger is basically a takeover. One school district dissolves into the other, and I’m pretty sure Worcester will not be dissolving, so yes I see that as a takeover. Our students could be taking college courses, but darn, the bell schedule apparently doesn’t aline with the other schools for that to happen. I thank our new school board members for pulling us out of a very bad situation, and getting Schenevus back on track. I for one will not be ” getting over it.”

  3. fred kersman

    The article fails to mention how the school annexation would affect Schenevus retiree’s healthcare insurance. No consideration was given to those loyal people living on fixed incomes.

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