This morning at 11:36 AM, NFAS received its first response to the open letter published yesterday, concerning student involvement in the community budget survey. It was from Ms. Rosanne Marini, district clerk:
This is to advise you that the Board of Education is in receipt of your email. We are working to answer any and all questions on our website by the close of business on Friday, January 11, 2013.
Then, at 4:10 PM, NFAS received its second response, this time from the Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Facilities, Ms. Anne Marie Caliendo. It read as follows:
Good evening Mr. Henner,
Thank you for your interest in completing the survey. I appreciate your passion about having your voice heard and making a difference. And, while we are seeking survey input from the voting age tax-paying members of every household, there is a way for your voice to be heard and opinions to be considered. Please utilize this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org to submit your ideas and I will ensure that your input is brought to the table along with everyone else’s.
Anne Marie Marrone Caliendo
Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Facilities
NFAS @ HHH is not satisfied with this response.
Ms. Caliendo appears to believe this is an isolated issue, affecting our Interim President, Jacob Henner, personally, and recommends that he sends her an e-mail with his ideas. Meanwhile, she states
we are seeking survey input from the voting age tax-paying members
which clearly misses the point of yesterday’s letter, and is not entirely true. Keep in mind, the survey also has options for graduates, civic leaders, business leaders, and employees, not all of whom are voting-aged, tax-paying members.
NFAS @ HHH is deeply troubled by the administration’s lack of concern for the opinion of the student. While the purely monetary aspects of the budget affect the tax payer (by means of the property-tax levy) more than the children in the district, the result of budget deliberations directly affects the students, in a way that is more directly observable to them, than a tax increase is to the taxpayers. As such, NFAS believes that those students should be able to voice their opinions on the matter accordingly, in the same manner as other community members, by utilizing the same survey. If the district’s primary objective is to provide for the best interests of the students, the district should more readily consider the students’ opinions, too, without needing to be asked.
Until the survey in question also includes an explicit option for students to respond, we consider the survey to be partially invalid and misrepresentative, as it doesn’t establish consensus from the entire community, especially the portion that the district claims to, and has the greatest duty to serve. We ask the administration and the Board of Education reconsider their position promptly, and furthermore we ask that the results of the survey are delayed until such revisions are made and are publicly announced.
The National Federation of American Students, Half Hollow Hills Chapter.
Serving the best interests of Half Hollow Hills students since 2010.