An old joke goes like this: Every week Frank goes to the house of worship and prays, “God, please let me win the lottery. Just once, please let me win the lottery.”
This goes on week after week, month after month, “God, please let me win the lottery.”
One day a majestic voice booms down from above, “Frank, meet me halfway, buy a ticket!”
The point of the story is, if you want something, you have to make an effort; you have to use your voice, your pen or your keyboard to be an instrument of change.
We bring this up because budget season has begun for the schools and the village.
As taxpayers, you make up thousands of voices, and we urge all of you to use your voices or missives to let our school and village leaders know your priorities.
A handful of community members attended the first budget hearing for the Scarsdale School District on Thursday morning. The district scheduled the hearing to gather input and listen to the public’s priorities for the next school year. It set up the meeting to take place in November, earlier than in past years, in response to requests from the community for more lead time.
Well, the usual cast of concerned volunteers showed up, including members of the League of Women Voters and the PTA Executive Committee. We like to think few people were there because the meeting took place during the day, and we hope to see more people at the evening work sessions.
Yet, too often we hear from residents at the end of the budget planning cycle. They come out late in the game to say they object to X or they want more of Y. They might say they are dismayed that taxpayers’ dollars are going to this or that.
We appreciate you saying what you think. But you should be saying it now, and you should be saying it directly to village trustees or to school board members. Don’t just post your views on Facebook or talk to family and friends. Contact the decision makers. Show up at meetings and speak up.
Open meeting laws allow you to speak at the public meetings, so make time to share your candid thoughts with the people you elected to represent you.
For example, this week Greg Schwend of Barry Road spoke at the trustee meeting about the longstanding problem of sewage overflows in his area of Edgewood. His concerns are important and, over the years, he and his neighbors have made their case before the trustees. They are holding officials accountable for assessing and solving the problem. In this week’s report on the matter, we learned that there is not likely to be a quick resolution, but the village has said they are working to sort out and fix the problem.
When members of the public are unable to attend a meeting themselves, this newspaper can be a conduit to relay your concerns about matters that impact your lives. We appreciate your letters to the editor, your comments on our website or social media, and also the calls we receive.
Your most important action is to speak directly to officials about your priorities.
So, note on your calendars when the mayor will host a meet and greet — or when Scarsdale or the town of Greenburgh will hold budget work sessions. These are all listed in the Inquirer’s calendar or briefs columns.
Save the date for the Scarsdale State of the Schools presentation Nov. 21 at the Scarsdale Woman’s Club. Then note the dates of Scarsdale and Edgemont school districts’ budget meetings scheduled through the end of March. You can add your name to the listserve at scarsdale.com, edgemont.org and scarsdaleschools.org to receive meeting notices, meeting agendas and the minutes to review afterward.
You are encouraged to become involved in this very important process. Show up, speak up. Meet them halfway.