Sunday, June 9, 2019

The so called "Friends of a Better Bond" are working hard to vote down the upcoming School Bond Proposal.  They have written in multiple mailers and in letters to the editor of this newspaper that the School Board hasn’t heard them and that their voice is being ignored.  I am wondering why this group is hiding behind faceless mailers and one sided letters instead of attending and engaging at the numerous community meetings the School Board and Superintendent held in order to get feedback from ALL members of the community?  I attended the 3 public School Board meetings that were held after the original March 12th vote and listened to numerous bond supporters speak at the podium.   Only one person who spoke publicly at the podium during these meetings was against the bond.  He spoke determinedly and his voice was heard by the community.   I may not agree with him, but I appreciated the information he presented and the critical thinking that the school board had to do to respond to his questions.  To the best of my knowledge this gentleman isn’t associated with the “friends” organization that is trying to derail the new bond.  If the “friends” group is truly concerned with its voice being heard and its views being incorporated, why didn’t the members of this group speak at these community engagement focused meetings?  These open forums were the exact stage where one should be voicing his or her concerns - not via biased mailers.   The “friends”’group didn’t come to the collective bargaining table, and now are spending thousands of dollars mailing postcards that say their voices weren’t heard.  Their tactics seem highly disingenuous to me. 

I’m a new resident to Rye.  My husband and I moved here almost a year ago with our 4 young children from New York City.  I moved to Rye versus numerous other West Chester and Greenwich suburbs based on the reputation of the public school district.  I toured what would become my children’s current elementary school and was underwhelmed by the physical facilities, but the residents I spoke to had such school pride and faith in the school system that I got over my concerns.  My kids started school in the Fall and indoor recess irked me.  A tour of the mobile trailers irked me- not only are they outdated, smelly, moldy and in need of repair, but in today’s world where school shootings are a sickening reality they are flat out unsafe.  Learning that the school field used by our 1,800+ middle and high school students during school hours and hundreds to thousands of other young community members floods with regularity and is approaching the end of its usable life irked me.  Seeing the outdated High School shop room that looked like the one I was in 30 years ago now being called a “technology classroom” really irked me.  Diving into the content of the original bond proposal and learning that our schools have windows from the 1930s and HVAC systems from the 1960s, classrooms and bathrooms that aren’t up to code and aren’t handicap accessible irked me.  The lack of safe, secure entryways does more than irk me - it terrifies me.  These all are the critical, real problems that the proposed bond aims to address. 

“Friends” - the time for your voice to be heard passed when you declined to come to the public forums created precisely for gathering community feedback.  Please stop mailing our community misconstrued facts and lies.  Without a solid public school district with repaired facilities and modernized learning environments our community’s children will suffer, and along with it so will ALL of our real estate values.


Amanda Timchak