Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Fixing Our Schools

Bob Herbert sounds the alarm about our cluelessness compared to other industrialized nations, as if we haven't heard that before.
Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, offered a brutal critique of the nation’s high schools a few years ago, describing them as “obsolete” and saying, “When I compare our high schools with what I see when I’m traveling abroad, I am terrified for our work force of tomorrow.”
In our small attempt to fix things at the local level, the BOE approved a budget last night with a downward effect on the tax rate, approved the installation of Dryden's first pre-K program (something I've been striving toward for eight years), and approved the initial stages of a strategic plan that calls for some dramatic changes in achievement by 2011. And there will be five candidates running for the four positions at the annual vote on May 20, making it a far more interesting contest than in the past couple of years. All in all, a pretty good night.


LesC said...

Hi Kaz...while the tax rate may drop, don't forget that the residential average assessment increase of close to 30% over the last assessment will result in a substantial bottom line dollar tax increase for most resident property owners, unless the tax rate cut is close to 30% as well. And watch out for the Gov's trial balloon that floated yesterday regarding a cut in STARR rebates. If that ever happens, actual dollars paid by local taxpayers will soar!!
Thanks for running again, and glad to see that there are enought candidates to fill the vacancies, though the time may have come to consider reducing the Board to 7 members.

KAZ said...

Les is absolutely correct that the reduced tax rate won't reduce taxpayers' outgoing dollars when everyone's going from 80% to 100% of assessed value this year. My Pollyanna attitude is based on how bad things might have been without the increase in state aid. However, I do anticipate a seizing back of aid after the election per 1991, since it looks pretty likely that the state won't be able to cough up the bucks. We're doing our part to prepare for such an eventuality and I think will survive it with programs intact. The STAR thing is alarming, but I guess I've always thought STAR was a bandaid and not a cure.