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By Jeremy Schiffres, Daily and Sunday Freeman, Kingston, N.Y.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Two up, one down

Kudos to the Kingston and Wallkill school districts for paring down their previously rejected budget proposals to levels that voters could accept. Both plans were approved on Tuesday, which is good news for the students. The young people always are the first to suffer when districts are forced into austerity spending, and it was heartening to see people in local communities were willing to accept a little extra tax burden for the sake of their children’s education.

Conversely, what the hell was the Pine Plains Board of Education thinking in resubmitting to voters the exact same budget that they turned down a month ago? It was ridiculous enough to expect that voters on May 20 were going to approve a spending plan that would have raised the property tax levy by nearly 11 percent. But to think the same voters on Tuesday would suddenly favor of a plan they roundly rejected just 28 days earlier bordered on the insane. It’s not like the economy suddenly turned around in those four weeks.

Commenting on Tuesday’s “nay” vote, Helene McQuade, president of the Pine Plains board, said: "The board tried its best to communicate the facts of the budget to the community, and the community communicated that it wasn’t happy with it.”

That’s exactly what the community did, Helene. Twice. You might want to remember that next year.



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