Friday, 11 December 2009 00:00
At the Manhasset Board of Education meeting held on Dec. 3, many residents asked probing questions about the current bus dilemma and the upcoming proposition.
Many asked for further information regarding the financial analysis that has been done by the school district. There seemed to be a consensus among residents for postponing the Dec.15 vote until more information can be obtained. The assistant superintendent said they would take it into consideration. Nevertheless, the next day the school sent out an email about the Dec. 15 vote with its simplified one-page financial chart that many folks had questioned the night before. Obviously the residents’ request for time and information was dismissed.
Given that the school district and board of education have gotten us into this mess and cost us millions of dollars, it is amazing to some of us that the district has rejected our request to postpone the vote. Since the information presented in 2005 was flawed, don’t we have a right to be satisfied now that everything has been properly considered? Maybe we need an independent financial analysis to explore the options so the taxpayers can have confidence in the choices. Coincidentally, the East Hampton Star had a front-page article on Dec. 3 about East Hampton School District’s transportation system, which stated that EH had returned to an in-house system after outsourcing. The superintendent of one of the East End towns, Springs, is quoted as saying that the in-house system is “a lot less expensive….Compared to transportation costs in 2005-2006, when Springs was under contract with [an outside vendor] Springs taxpayers are saving approximately $300,000 per year by controlling about 99 percent of its own transportation.”
If it is cheaper for some districts to have an in-house system, how can it be cheaper for us to outsource and pay the displaced bus drivers? Has the district really tried to figure out a way to restore the in-house system as was ordered? If not, are we facing further legal challenges down the road? The vote to outsource in 2005 was very close and as we know now, the information provided prior to the vote was woefully inadequate. To go forward with a vote on Dec. 15 is irresponsible given that many taxpayers are still unaware of the situation and many of those who are aware are demanding further answers.
Chris Sessa Allen