Well, today marks eight days until election day. Unlike candidates in East Ramapo, Clarkstown and Nyack, I will forego the yard sign nonsense that is little more than clutter. Getting my message out over putting a sign in the neighbor's yard is much more important to me, and I want to thank Patch for offering me the chance to blog and answer your questions here.
Last Monday was the candidates' forun at the Middle School.
I know that I aquitted myself well last Monday, with the only common constructive critisism from people there regarding my verbiage towards Simon Properties and the Nanuet Mall situation. I am passionate about the situation, so I will offer no regrets on what I said, but of course, the way I say it might be a little 'rough around the edges'. I accept that and will continue to be an advocate for restoring the mall to it's place as a great alternative to the Palisades Center. I do feel that the mall hasn't been forthright with our elected officials, nor have they done enough positive pressuring of Simon to make them want to do anything to make the mall better. I will wait and see what becomes of their current 'plan', as I don't trust these people any further than I can throw them.
My other point in the forum was the addition of a Director of Development/Alumni Relations. I know now more than ever that by having such a person in place, with their salary being on a commission basis, that money and material can be raised for the school district. The Nanuet Schools Education Foundation (www.nsef.org) has been a total bust, and their web site has not been updated in three years. The Nyack Education Foundation rasied over $150,000 in one night in March. As well, no one in the district has asked any computer manufacturer to donate computers for the elementary schools (which are sorely outdated and in need of replacement). NYC has a deal with Apple where Apple provides new computers every year at no cost. Nanuet should try to obtain the same type of deal, and Apple surely has the resources to do it (and others will be glad to fill in the void if they say 'no').
I made a Freedom of Information Act Request for a listing of donations of money, materials and grants received by the Nanuet School District since 2007-2008 school year. The results of this are bad, with only $23,664 in monetary donations and approximately $12,000 in material donations in the last four years. But wait, it gets worse. Of the $23,664 dollars in cash, more than two-thirds of that are from 'passive' donations (where the school district justs sits and has the money come in, i.e. the Target credit card program and money from graduated classes that must by law close their books and give the money back to the district) and from non- and quasi-governmental grants which should have been included in the grant listings. This years total of 'active' donations is $21. Yes, you read that correctly, $21. It is inconceiveable to me to have such a lack of wanting funds from the private sector occuring in our school district.
I will have more to say tomorrow about the bus schedule changes and their implications. Wednesday will include academic endeavors, Thursday will be about infrastructure and Friday will be the overall budget and Pfizer implications. Of course, I welcome your comments, questions and critisisms, as I want to work for you, the taxpayer, and as an advocate for continuing educational excellence here in Nanuet.