Sunday, September 21, 2008

Supporting School Selfishness . . .

Interesting article this morning about outgoing New Hartford School Superintendent Daniel Gilligan.

If there ever was a need to fold governance of school districts into their local municipalities (like it already is in Syracuse, Buffalo and other large school districts), Mr. Gilligan's activities demonstrate it.

Mr. Gilligan only looks at things from the perspective of how much money can he get for his school district . . . while being blind to the broader ramifications of what he is promoting. Presumably the New Hartford School Board suffers from the same myopia since they seem to have bought into the rhetoric.

Expansion of the tax base to bring in more revenue is a double-edged sword: It also increases costs. Perhaps the school district will not see increased costs, but the town and region will. Mr. Gilligan promotes development on greenfields -- previously undeveloped land. Extension of water and sewer lines and roads costs money. Snowplowing and maintenance cost money. Then with the new commercial activity comes crime . . . requiring more police ... writing more tickets . . . to justify a new courthouse. More structures require more fire protection . . . etc. etc.

Of course, there is the environmental degradation that accompanies more development. People may be victimized by storm water runoff. Traffic, noise and congestion will increase. Landscapes will be destroyed.

I won't even try to discuss what all this "development" in New Hartford does to adjoining communities in our region of declining population. Let's just say that "neighborliness" -- concern for how the region is affected -- isn't even on Mr. Gilligan's radar screen -- and the deck-chairs are being rearranged on a sinking ship.

Many of the reasons why people chose to move to New Hartford are going to be destroyed . . . and the region will face higher costs and negative economic pressures . . . all so that Mr. Gilligan and his followers can have more money to play with.

Schools are only one part of the community . . . School leaders should focus on their part, the task of educating, and refrain from asking for things that affect the other parts.

If school leaders want to make decisions that have broader regional implications, then maybe the time has come for consolidation of school districts and municipal governments into one regional government . . . Then activist school superintendents like Mr. Gilligan will be unable to avoid responsibility for the consequences of their actions.


swimmy said...

"Of course, there is the environmental degradation that accompanies more development. People may be victimized by storm water runoff. Traffic, noise and congestion will increase. Landscapes will be destroyed."

All of this should have been addressed in an EIS. Oh right, the school board and the town don't like to follow the law. No wonder no EIS has been conducted. Too bad Dan Miner left out that critical bit of information, or that the state won't approve the proposed intersection until a public-involved EIS is conducted.

Greens and Beans said...

AMEN! My first impression was that the New Hartford School District must be much too top heavy with administrators. The administrators have too much idle time resulting with them squandering their school district time on other matters.

This reminded me of when I worked in the private sector manufacturing field. If one of our managers or employees was engaged in unrelated work activities on company time, this would indicate that we needed to reevaluate our staffing requirements. This would tell us that we may have too many managers and/or employees for production needs. Therefore, we would conduct a “time study” and perhaps address its results by conducting layoffs before corporate profitability reflected our employment overages.

Rather than defending Mr. Gilligan, I question why is the New Hartford School Board not acting on Superintendent Gilligan’s misappropriation of School District time? They need to ask themselves just what he should be doing to maximize the District taxpayer’s expenditures. If he has too much idle time on his hands, then perhaps it is time for a study on the Administration. This could reveal if there should be a realignment of their employment needs. Perhaps the study would reveal if there is a need to determine if school district consolidation is in order to address this excess of managerial idle time.

Mr. Gilligan is being handsomely compensated to conduct business directly related to New Hartford School District. He is employed as an expert in school district administration. He is not employed as an economic development expert. Perhaps he would do well to focus his efforts on school district business and leave the tasks related to Town, County and State economic development concerns to those who are specifically trained, employed and compensated to concentrate on these tasks.

Anonymous said...

I am flabbergasted that a school district superintendent feels the need to be an economic development guru for the richest school district in our region! Unthinkable! Perhaps some auditing needs to be done on these individuals activities to see if there aren't other underlying reasons for their willingness to aid and abet certain "development." I find his actions way, way over the top......

Anonymous said...

Could not agree more, Mr. Gilligan is only thinking of New Hartford, and there in lies one of the problems with this area, instead of thinking regoinally, you have individuals out there trying to grow their own piece of the pie, at the regions expense. Mr. Gilligan's job is to turn out the best students possible, but he and the school board have missed this point.

The good thing is WE have to power to stop this. Voice your opinion, demand school board canidates positions on such topics, vote those out who lost focus on what a school district ought to be doing.

Anonymous said...

QUESTION: How much has Dan Gilligan paid in New Hartford Central School District taxes?