Thursday, July 17, 2008

"Gouge thy neighbor": Resident and parent tells it how it is!

The author sent this to me. It appeared in the Signal Item.

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears -- or rather your jeers for Carlynton school board members Tom Brown, Patty Schirripa, Tom DiPietro, Sandra Hughans and Ray Wolkowiak, who railroaded through a new facilities policy without letting the public -- or their fellow board members -- know what they were planning to do. Why the secrecy and the hurry? Why did they ram this policy down the throats of residents when all groups affected by the policy repeatedly and publicly stated it would hurt them and, more importantly, the kids of this district?

The new policy charges parent-run clubs thousands of dollars in "rent" for admitting more than 10% non-residents AND charges those out-of-district kids $100/quarter to play sports with our kids. Don't be fooled by the public "spin" the directors fed this and other newspapers. This is not "cost recovery" or "paying for wear and tear". It's highway robbery aimed at getting rid of non-residents from our sports clubs. If "being fair to district taxpayers" is really their motive, why does the new policy target only sports clubs and not all clubs?

Here in Carlynton it's not "Love thy neighbor" but rather "Gouge thy neighbor". Take a look at the district's budget - our 15,500 residents spend $1.8 million a year to operate and maintain all our facilities. Do the math - we pay less than $120 a year for facilities to provide our children with an education and after school activities. Yet, these directors think it's "fair" to charge our kids' friends $400 a year to play sports with them a few hours a week?

The directors are right about one thing - we do need to charge people not contributing to our tax base a fee for using our facilities. But that fee needs to be both fair to district taxpayers and reasonable. That way, the district can recover some costs while not turning people away in disgust or, worse, revenge. The Carlynton gymnastics team uses Montour's facilities because Carlyton has none. Hopefully, Montour won't turn around and charge our team over-priced rent PLUS $100 per quarter per gymnast to use their facilities.

We tell our children to share. Why can't the people we elect to represent us do the same? Apparently, everything these five directors needed to know they didn't learn in kindergarten. Send them to the principal's office, or better yet, out of office come election time.

Kathy Fisher