Friday, May 29, 2020

School Budget Vote

When thinking about the upcoming school budget vote, Hanlon's Razor often comes to mind. Because we don't like to attribute either malice or stupidity to our school district leaders, the aphorism can be restated: "Some bad things happen not because of people having bad intentions, but because they did not think it through properly."

First, we learned that only people who had voted in school district elections in the past four years would be receiving an absentee ballot for this year's budget vote and board election. For the past eight years, the people who showed up to vote in school elections have dutifully passed the proposed HCSD budget, so, if only those people receive absentee ballots, the chances the budget will pass are pretty good. Limiting the number of voters in this way may appear to be a way of predetermining the vote. That's the bad intentions spin.

At the same time, we were assured that voters who suspected they were not on the HCSD poll list could contact the District Clerk. In the past couple of days, Gossips has heard from several readers that email address provided on the card sent out last week and on the absentee ballot application does not work. Anything sent to, gets the response: "The address you sent your message to wasn't found at the destination domain." It's been discovered that you need to send your application to Bad intentions or just a snafu? To be safe, it seems best to use the U.S. Postal Service to submit your application, but do it now. Absentee ballot applications must be received by June 2--that's Tuesday.

A reader commented that she had called the District Clerk at 518 828-4360, ext. 2100, to confirm she would receive an absentee ballot and was told that "ballots should be received in the next couple of days." Let's hope they arrive before June 2, so that people who do not receive a ballot can still request one. If you think there's a chance you are not on HCSD's poll list, download an application here and mail it to: Leslie M. Coons, District Clerk, Hudson City School District, 215 Harry Howard Avenue, Hudson, NY 12534.

What's happening now, which has the appearance of trying to limit the pool of voters to the people who have approved school budgets in the past, reminds me of something that happened in 2011, when HCSD voters rejected the proposed $41 million budget. Then, in a kind of reverse of what appears to be happening now, Jeff Otty, the late husband of the current board president, Carrie Otty, tried to minimize the significance of the vote against the budget by pointing out that only 18 percent of those eligible to vote had actually voted.

1 comment:

  1. Gossips points out one the best reasons for the Otty HCSD dynasty to end, it has been consistently incompetent and wrong for decades. Ms. C. Lambert is also correct to vote NO on the HCSD budget (Lambert’s comment is from another Gossips post on the school budget vote.) When MC Smith died in 1938 he had taken Hudson to the top of the academic ladder both in NY State and regionally. Hudson was a model school. And Smith too had dealt with “special needs” his entire career having taken Hudson and dirt-poor families and kids through the Great Depression for starters.

    At the last “Public Hearing” on the budget Sup. Suttmeier defended her 8-year financial record of improving the bookkeeping at HCSD. OK. Fair enough. So, the flood gates open and her 8-year academic record now must be added to the debate. Over the past 8 years Suttmeier has driven Hudson into ACADEMIC BANKRUPTCY. Based on school test scores school-ranking service SchoolDigger ranks Hudson as very near “total academic invisibility.” In the past 8 years Hudson has scored an average testing score of .249 (meaning that if the teacher were handing you back your math test, you got a 25!). SchoolDigger hands out stars to schools based on test scores relative to other schools. Every year a school can get zero to 5 stars. Of the 40 stars available to Hudson over 8 years Hudson has scored a whopping 3 stars IN TOTAL. Yes, that’s right. More to the point, in 5 of her 8 years Ms. Suttmeier has led her students to a ZERO-star rating. In comparison, Red hook has taken home 32 of 40 stars; Schodack, 28 of 40 and Chatham, 22 stars in 8 years. This is a serious mess. 8 years ago Suttmeier had 877 High School Students; in 2019 she had 486! No need for a budget vote. Those that know better just leave and those families that are looking around choose to go elsewhere. Why wouldn’t you?

    So, what does this mean? If you vote yes on the school budget Hudson will still score zero stars and get a failing grade of about 25! If you vote NO we might be able to get these kids the “New Deal” that MC Smith would have delivered and that they deserve. And we could establish a committee away from the Board called the “Work to Progress Academics” agency—a WPA for Hudson education. Over the past 8 years the Otty/Suttmeier team has asked the taxpayers for $400 million (plus $20 million for that Olympic field.) $420 million! And they have assured us that we can trust them with the academic stewardship of the District. A claim that we can no longer believe. And how can Hudson taxpayers keep paying these tax bills? It will all collapse one day soon. Not enough households to support this incredible spending addiction. Time for an intervention. Write in the name MC Smith on the ballot for one of the school board seats. A protest vote! And vote NO on the $51 million budget. Ms. Suttmeier was right to bring up her record. 8 years of failure is enough. Vote for MC Smith!