Monday, May 16, 2011

School District and Library Budget Vote Thoughts

There is an optimistic side to me that doesn't go away, no matter how far I march into this sometimes cynical life. One of my optimistic beliefs has to do with voting. I believe that an informed vote is a correct vote, whether it agrees with my informed vote or not. Because of that, it's hard for me to push someone to vote one way or another. Although I'd like to see votes go my way, I appreciate that this world is made up of many different people that have needs that don't always match my own. With these thoughts in mind, I'm going to share my opinions on tomorrow's budget votes and whether you agree or disagree, I hope that you go out and vote. Poll locations can be found here.

School Budget Vote: Ginnie's Vote: YES
It's funny when I jump up on a soap box and wax poetic and then go ahead and contradict myself. But, we're in a situation where it's hard for me to imagine a truly informed NO vote. The school district levy is 0%, which was achieved through the teachers sacrificing for their students and through hard work on the part of the school board and administration. A NO vote is listening to the vitriol spouted by a cowardly anonymous source. I can't fathom an educated reason to vote NO on this budget. If you have an issue with the way the district is run, then you should pay attention to the candidates for the School Board, voting NO doesn't change your taxes dramatically but it does directly hurt Albany children. For more information on the School budget, you can look here, and past Albany Spark posts on the budget are here and here.

Library Budget Vote: Ginnie's Vote: YES
My family uses the library so much that in good conscience I couldn't vote anything except YES. We borrow stacks of books, audio books, movies, music. My children have done countless crafts and if I added up the hours we've listened to the Pine Hills children's librarian read books during story time, it would probably easily equal several work weeks.
The little prizes that are used for the summer reading program have pushed all of my children to read more. Plus, we download free music weekly and I've started borrowing books on my ipad. It's also a gathering place for my neighborhood. Every time I go I see someone I know, which I love. It's also a support to those who need it. If you don't have internet access, it's one of the few places you can get it, which in this economic downturn is essential. So, we take full advantage and paying more for the library still makes it a bargain.

Although the library budget vote is straightforward for me, it's not for all voters. Everyone loves the new libraries and everyone wants them open more, however no one can deny that the budget projections for the new libraries were dramatically wrong. When looking just at the wonderful buildings and the success of adding more space and materials, it's an easy YES vote. But, when one votes, you need to look at the whole picture, and part of that picture is making sure that government agencies are being fiscally responsible. A budget projection that is so far off is not fiscally responsible. I've been to several library budget presentations and when I asked about the mistaken fiscal projections, the answers I got were honest. The mistakes of the past were acknowledged, with corrections for the future so it doesn't happen again. Although I'm uncomfortable with the budget choices of the past, I like the answers and love the direction the library is heading in. My YES vote is also a vote of confidence in what has been done in the actual libraries and the services we're getting. The Executive Director said that this is a one time budget increase. If that's not the case and the library continues to operate over budget, then I can't guarantee my support in the future, but right now, a vote of confidence in the amazing things that I've seen in the libraries and the direction they are heading in is the right choice for me. Selfishly, I hope it's the right choice for many! More information on the library budget is here.

Happy voting!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks to some good old fashioned investigative reporting at the times union, we now know that local charter organizers Tom Carroll and Chris Bender were behind the anonymous flyers: