Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Dog & Pony Show

Ellie Corcoran says that I "lie", but what she really means is that I don't let her get away with her own lies. It's not as easy as in 2013, right? I can understand the frustration.

It's not as easy as in 2013 when Joe Lombardos Senior and Junior teamed up with Junior's girlfriend to deface a picture of current board member and 2013 candidate Tricia Andrews. As she tells it,

It was Joe, Danica and Joe's dad... They sat in the front row on candidates night... They had either the Bee ad with our pictures and write ups, or the district budget paper... I think it was the Bee though... They had Joe [DiPasquale] and me crossed out (our pictures that were in the paper with big red x's)...when we talked especially when I talked Danica would stick out her tongue, Joe made faces... all rolled their eyes and shook their heads whenever we spoke and held up the paper with our pictures crossed out. I should have ignored it but even when I wasn't speaking they just stared at me and instead of me looking away I stared back and got into a staring contest. Mind you I just had been diagnosed with whooping cough and had a 103 fever. So it was an all out perfect night. The administrators were sitting about 7 rows back and never saw this going on.
These people are petulant and mean children. Schoolyard bullies. We will not let them get away with this sort of behavior - behavior that is violative of the school district's rules of conduct - again.

In the meantime, let's analyze a letter our brave truth-teller Ellie Corcoran wrote to the Buffalo News in 2013:

Clarence needs to teach students ethics, respect
Recently, an outrageous Clarence school budget with a 9.8 percent tax increase was voted down. This budget was of great concern to all Clarence residents. The behavior of school district employees was not only intimidating, but displayed a complete lack of disregard for anyone who opposed it. As a former teacher and senior citizen, I believe the most egregious act was the involvement of children to get a favorable vote.

It would seem to me that there is nothing more honorable than having kids be involved in their future, and in elections. 

Students were told to make sure their parents voted “yes” or their favorite programs would be gone. 

And that would have come to pass, had parents not rallied to raise the almost $300,000 needed to restore those programs. 

They wrote glowing compositions about their school and were encouraged to read them at public budget meetings; and their attempt at guilt toward taxpayers displayed an unprofessional “dog and pony” show effect. 
What is disrespectful or unethical about kids speaking up for themselves and their school? 

On the day of the election, students lined Main Street with “Yes” signs and shouts to anyone driving by. Eighteen-year-old students, who never paid a property tax in their life, were encouraged to vote yes. 

The kids line Main Street with vote "yes" signs every single year. 2013 was no exception. 

But as for the kids not paying a property tax - Jacob Kerksiek and Joe Lombardo, Jr. don't pay school taxes now. They cannot credibly complain about unsustainable taxes because they are not invested in the district; they do not pay the taxes about which they complain.

Furthermore, “Vote no” signs displayed by senior citizens were vandalized or removed. I spoke to parents who were opposed to the tax hike, but were afraid to voice their opinions for fear of retaliation toward their children. At the May 28 budget meeting, the audience booed a senior gentleman as he tried to speak on behalf of seniors.
For sure, the vandalism and removal of signs is a despicable act, but you certainly can't indict all the kids for the acts of an unknown few. Furthermore, those budget hearings were quite contentious, and I recall quite a few boos and hecklers from the "no" side directed at school supporters. Something about stones and glass houses comes to mind. 
Yet the fact of the matter is that teachers contribute only 8 percent toward their health care and administrators contribute nothing; and contributions to their hefty pensions are minimal. Many Clarence senior residents, as well as lower-income families, simply cannot afford an increase in property taxes so that Clarence staff members can have this luxury. Yet senior citizens were mocked for their efforts to defeat the budget by the same people who had everything to gain.
Seniors? What do they have to gain? Students? They weren't fighting to "gain", but to "keep", and they were, in the end, unsuccessful without private intervention. Teachers? They didn't retaliate against anyone. In point of fact, it is the lower-income families who send kids to the district who suffer the most when these budgets fail. They don't have the resources to find private alternatives like wealthier homes can. 
What happened in Clarence during the last few months was disgraceful, but the lack of professionalism displayed by staff members taught children an ugly lesson. Perhaps ethics and respect should be a major part of the core curriculum in Clarence Schools.Ellie Corcoran
Who better to condescendingly lecture school supporters about ethics and professionalism than the woman who wrote this?

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