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Clarence School Board certainly isn’t ‘clueless’

I was appalled by the misinformation in Donn Esmonde’s May 24 column. The Clarence School Board and superintendent have worked tirelessly to fix mistakes of the past. They are not “clueless” and their hard work can be viewed at clarenceschools.org. School tax increases were avoided for years by plundering our savings. Combine that with the increased state mandates and the $13 million in decreased state aid over recent years, and you have a huge budget gap.

Many programs have already been cut, and the number of teachers cut exceeds the rate of the decreased enrollment. Including the defeated budget, the past three years have seen 42.5 teaching positions eliminated. More will need to be cut in the revised budget. Calling the threat of additional cuts an emotional ploy is ignorant.

It’s true that Clarence voters came out in record numbers, but the traffic gridlock was not only created by those voting “no.” There were 3,431 residents eager to vote “yes.” While the number 9.8 percent was sensationalized, it is still merely a number. Even with the increase, Clarence school taxes would be amongst the lowest in Erie County. My school taxes would have increased $20 per month.

Many of us feel tax-weary, but the local school budget is not the place to prove a political point. The schools directly impact the community. Clarence is known for our excellent schools, and our property values reflect that.

Esmonde should rely on facts in his columns, rather than opinions he hears while sitting on a front porch. We do agree on one point: This marks the roots of a revolution. It’s just not the one he thinks.

Katrina Webster

Clarence