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Letter To The Editor: Setting The Record Straight

Ed Render
Ed Render Photo Credit: Contributed

BEDFORD, N.Y. -- Bedford Daily Voice accepts signed and original letters to the editor up to 350 words. To submit your letter, email bedford@dailyvoice.com

“Living in the Past” is a great song by Jethro Tull from the late 1960s. Mr. Perun liberally applies the concept to distort Ed Reder’s Board service, which he sensationally describes as the “last remnant of the cabal of like-minded Board members” in his letter to the editor endorsing Ms. Scanlan. Readers need a dose of “Gimme Some Truth”.

Voters should rightfully scrutinize a candidate’s record during their Board tenure. Mr. Perun’s problem is that he assigns blame for Board missteps that happened a decade before Mr. Reder even joined the Board in 2013. What’s important is that during Mr. Reder’s tenure, annual school tax levy increases have averaged just 1.3%.

Blame for BCSD’s fiscal woes lies largely with Albany. Eighty percent of BCSD’s costs are labor that are growing well above the tax cap and which the Board has little control. The state has added other expensive unfunded mandates. The regional cost index lumps Westchester with upstate, which shortchanges BCSD’s state aid by about 8%. The state aid formula is broken, using old census data that doesn’t reflect the current demographic and penalizing wealthy homeowners who already pay a ton of taxes to the state. The end result is that BCSD has among the lowest state aid per student in the New York. Neighboring districts receive significantly more (Chappaqua is 25% higher; Katonah-Lewisboro, almost 55% greater). BCSD’s student enrollment is roughly flat over the past decade, whereas Chappaqua’s is down 10%, and Katonah’s is down a staggering 20%. That affords those districts more flexibility to take out costs, such as shutting an elementary school. Those options simply aren’t available for BCSD. So while Katonah has seen a reduction in average classes sizes in the past decade, BCSD has seen a 20% increase.

BCSD is facing a structural issue that is not being addressed by our state legislators. It is wrong to blame Ed Reder, who has in fact been instrumental in the increased advocacy efforts around the District. Ed Reder’s unwavering dedication to the entire District is commendable. He has earned my vote on May 16th.

Keith Ferguson

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