I was struck by School Board President Katy Keohane Glassberg’s remark that “We all acknowledge that we live in a tax-cap world” (“School District Proposes $86.9 Million Budget, 2.64% Tax Levy Increase,” February 17, 2017). I’m not sure what bothers me more — the sense of resignation that this comment conveys or the fatalistic message it condones. 

We may, indeed, live in a tap-cap world, but we don’t have to like it or accept it as a permanent condition. I regard Governor Cuomo’s tax cap as a prescription for the slow death of quality public education in Rye. The extent of the damage is not always noticeable right away, like a slow leak in an automobile tire. But, when “the tire” starts to wobble and you lose control, the results can be dangerous and the damage too late to repair.

To be clear: I’m not advocating higher taxes. What I wish our community members, school officials, and elected representatives would fight for is a return to “home rule.” As in the past, the citizens of Rye alone should decide the size of the school budget, based on what’s needed to continue to provide our children with a first-rate education, not by having to overcome an arbitrary limit set by politicians in Albany by extraordinary means. 

— John E. Stafford

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