Lyndonville district should look at bigger issues, rather than disrupting health insurance

Posted 17 May 2024 at 6:09 pm


I recently received a couple of items in the mail relating to the upcoming Tuesday Lyndonville CSD budget vote and board election.

One item was from a board candidate and the other was the school district newsletter containing a statement by the same board candidate.

Both items were disturbing and unlike any school communication I have ever received.

The item from the candidate contains, in bold print, the following header: “Keep a conservative minded majority on this board!”

Besides pandering to a partisan political constituency, reading between the lines, the message of the incumbent candidates is clear: Books will be banned if they don’t align with the new, conservative viewpoint, and support for some segment of the student population will be withdrawn if it doesn’t align with a radically restrictive social viewpoint.

There is no room for that kind of policy in a public school preparing kids for the 21st century!

In the board newsletter the candidate tries to defend eviscerating health insurance coverage for current employees and retirees. Coincidentally, collective bargaining is now underway between the Board of Education and union leadership.

Allusions are made to significant savings with virtually no change in coverage. The facts are otherwise. Participating providers, service coverage and deductibles would all result in greater personal dollar cost and inconvenience to policy holders. The current Orleans-Niagara health insurance consortium has provided adequate coverage for a reasonable cost for years. The BOCES and seven of the smaller districts find annual cost savings in the cooperative plan. The plan is reviewed annually.

The coverage advocated by the candidate would harm employees and retirees. If the school district wants to continue to attract the most qualified teachers, it can’t provide the same level of health insurance coverage as provided to burger-flippers.

In a condescending commentary about the competency of educational administrators, the candidate claims expert qualifications in business matters. If that were the case, why go for the low-hanging fruit? Why not look at tougher issues such as extending contracted transportation services? Why not re-visit consolidation with another district? (ie: If consolidated with Barker, the new district would still be the smallest in the BOCES).

The message to me is clear: Boycott voting for the current board members on Tuesday. Educational quality and fiscal responsibility are at stake.

Ralph Smith