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Magic in Eldred

April 12, 2012

I have explained in the past how magical Eldred Central School (ECS) has become. Now, after four years of $16 million budgets we see a budget of $ 15.8 million, reminiscent of 2007-2008. Wow!

Examples of the magic:

Poof! June 2010. Sixty-eight faculty members picket ECS on the lawn in front of school about an unsettled contract. Within two hours, Superintendent Berneice Brownell is fired and paid off $135,000. From within, Robert DuFour is appointed interim superintendent (River Reporter 6/17/2010).

Poof! ECS Faculty Association contract is ratified on July 15, 2010 (ECS board minutes, 7/15/2010). After I press for cost, business manager sends information with $900,000-plus in new money over three years.

Poof! The board keeps millions in excess fund balance, despite my informing them of the illegality of doing so (ECS board minutes, 8/19/2010).

Poof! Board president Reiser (Minisink Valley teacher) cites two faculty contract settlements as among the superintendent’s accomplishments in six months. (ECS board minutes, 1/13/2011). DuFour is elevated to district superintendent.

Poof! After we already know a second teachers’ contract is settled, it becomes official. Carol Bliefernich, board member and wife of faculty association chief negotiator, abstains on neither vote (ECS board minutes, 2/10/2011).

Poof! In March, board designates $650,000 of unreserved fund balance to address health and safety concerns of school stage. This concern arises after the second teachers’ contract is funded until June of 2014, and after the $16 million renovation to the school is completed. (ECS board minutes, 3/10/2011).

Poof! Now we have a problem! Grim faces on the front page spell out big problems for the taxpayers. Where did all the money go? Now we will have to spend the reserves we accumulated in the past four years to satisfy the teachers’ contract. Yes, it is a perfect storm! (River Reporter, 8/03/2011).

Bob and Doug, it is time for a Tea Party in Eldred!

Paul A Clark Jr.
Barryville, NY