Dear Community Members,
The Board of Education is very happy that the budget passed, and we thank you all for the support.

We, personally, and as a Board, want to thank those members of our staff who responded to the Board of Education’s request to follow the lead of our Superintendent and Central Office Administrators to cut increases or freeze compensation in the upcoming year - a sincere thank you to all.

The Board of Education put forward this budget, although we did so with great concern.  The Board recognizes that 7.98% increases are not sustainable.

Unfortunately, as many of you know, local boards of education do not have much say in the majority of their budget expenditures.  Laws that foster entitlements, Last In First Out legislation over merit, one-sided bargaining rules, and the growth of state legislated mandated expenses, in combination with the reduction of state aid, are crippling our ability to provide the full breadth of education that all children deserve.  This is something that must change.  We will not and cannot wait until December or January to see the cards we have been dealt by Albany and hope that we can deliver a reasonably low percentage [tax levy] increase next year.  
We need to pressure Albany and our local legislators that represent us in Albany now to legislate structural changes that will improve education, not diminish it, while helping us lower expenses and find revenues from sources outside of the tax base.  We must rise up as a community and demand progressive thinking and action in NY State that is long overdue.  Moreover, we must keep that pressure applied until we accomplish our goals.

Please join us in letting our local representatives from Albany know how we feel.  We are in the process of organizing an interested group that will work parallel to official BOE efforts for those who wish to make the voice of Elwood heard.  This organization will be formed and operated outside of our Board of Education umbrella, although Board members, as well as former Board members, will be engaged as personal volunteers in this movement.

Nikki Crowley and Melissa Maher will be gathering names, phone numbers, and email addresses after the meeting from anyone who would like to join this organized effort.

In May 2011, a proud Elwood community stood up and displayed a tremendous commitment to the education of children with a generosity that defines our character.  Simply put, we took care of our children; however, we did not take care of our problems.  The Board of Education, together with the support of our community, is willing and ready to fight the fight against those who threaten our mission; that is our children’s opportunity to have a competitive, well-rounded education.

We must take action and tell Albany how we feel and more importantly, tell them what we need.  We will not stand by…  We do not want to raise taxes while diminishing education.  Please join the effort.

Thank you,
Joseph Fusaro, President
Members of Elwood Union Free School District’s Board of Education