New Paltz has brains

That’s the message. What did they expect? I highlighted what seems to be an endemism across school boards.

Unfortunately next year it could be presented again in a different light, like they did to our proposal when it was voted down the first time, and was “reworded so it would pass”.

Voters defeat $50M New Paltz school bond proposal

NEW PALTZ — It was years in the making, but on Tuesday, the school board’s plan for a $50 million demolition and renovation of the middle school here hit a brick wall of voter opposition. The largest voter turnout in the district’s history resulted in defeat for the project by a vote of 2,561 to 983.

Voters waited in lines that snaked through the high school’s corridors for as long as an hour and a half throughout the day. When the polls closed at 9 p.m., several hundred voters were still in line and had the right to vote. They lined up for their turn at the only machine still available, the other three having filled to their 999-vote capacities. This delayed the final count.

The controversial project, which several months ago had little organized opposition, attracted more opponents in the past few weeks, with both sides accusing the other of bad faith, bad information and bad intent.

The main opposition group that emerged, Unite Our District, argued that the board’s financial numbers were misleading, that its reliance on $20 million in state building funds was dicey and that the project did nothing to improve the plight of the district’s other three schools.

Overall, they said, the board seemed blind to the shaky local, state and national economic picture.

The school board argued that the time was ripe for the project, that an economic downtown was as much an opportunity as a crisis.

Construction bids, they said, would never be as competitive, new jobs would be created and most of all, the middle school itself, which is in dire need of repair, could finally be “brought into the 21st century,” with advanced classroom models and infrastructural improvements that would include some “green” technology.

For George Pallor, who voted against the project, the entire episode was proof that “the property tax doesn’t work – it divides communities.”

And for school board member Steve Greenfield, who accused opponents of the project with issuing “an endless stream of falsifications,” there was at least this golden lining: Looking about at the packed parking lot outside the high school, he said, “This is democracy as it ought to be.”

Source: Times Herald Record

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