A serious position requires a serious person
To the Editor:
A few numbers:
$21,921,272.oo for the 2014-15 Berne-Knox-Westerlo budget. Approximately 50 percent to be raised locally, from an estimated district population of about 6,600 residents.
Eight hundred and eighty-eight BKW students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. Fewer than 60 students in the senior class. Divide the number of students into the proposed amount of the BKW budget and you arrive at the spending per student: $24,686 and change. Voters can decide if that is too little, too much, or just the right amount.
Voters will also select two board members.
As the numbers above indicate, being a school board member is no minor item. It is not a spectator sport. Board members cannot sit back, take their feet off the pedals, and hope that the school superintendent, or anyone else will pedal for them.
School board member is a serious position that requires a serious person — a strong person, who will represent all of the residents of the BKW district, someone who understands that spending other people’s money is a heavy responsibility.
A board member must work to insure that every dollar spent by the district is directed toward enhancing the educational opportunities of all the students of the district. They must also stand ready to engage in thorough discussion and debate on proposals and issues that come before the board.
Board harmony is a wonderful goal, but an elected board is not intended to be a mutual admiration society.
The spending of public education funds is not a zero-sum game where each dollar not spent results in a reduction in achievement nor, on the other hand, can it be shown that each dollar of additional spending automatically improves achievement. Research indicates that it is not the raw volume of money spent, but the leadership, commitment, and plain old care exhibited in the spending of this money that gets results.
The real “currency” of education is a great teacher in front of motivated students.
I have observed Vasilios Lefkaditis for a number of years, first in his role as a member of the BKW budget advisory committee and over the last three years as a member of the BKW School Board. He has worked tirelessly to apply his talents to the difficult job of helping to steer BKW through difficult times. He understands that his job as a board member is to actively represent the interest of the people of the district.
I have listened to board members campaign year after year. Each one claims to be ready to make the difficult choices and ask the tough questions. Vas Lefkaditis has shown that he is ready to deliver on those claims. He has earned re-election the old-fashioned way by working for it.
Editor’s note: Joseph Golden, a former Berne-Knox-Westerlo School Board member, served on the BKW budget advisory committee for the 2014-15 budget. Although he is the brother of Helen Lounsbury, who also wrote a letter to the editor this week, he wasn't aware of her letter.