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Letters to the Editor
What you need to know for 08/21/2017

School leaders to blame for district's abysmal rankings

School leaders to blame for district's abysmal rankings

*School leaders to blame for district's abysmal rankings *Editorial on Cuomo vs. Perry off the mark

School leaders to blame for district’s abysmal rankings

The Albany Business Review Schools Report for 2013 (latest report available) reported that eight Capital Region school districts placed in the top 30 among 455 upstate schools. Where do you think the Amsterdam City School District placed -- 438th. That's 438th out of 455!

Don't blame the teachers. Don't blame the transient student population. Don't blame the school district staff. Look at the administration. The principals on down are having to work to keep order in classrooms and on the school buses, and what does the administration and school board president come up with? Making the taxpayers pay for two parent liaisons for the district -- at $30 an hour, per person. Most districts would have parents gladly volunteer to act as liaisons and help out. Not here. It appears as if the administration and the board president want to spend and spend. And how is all of this extra spending of taxpayers' money helping make our district be No. 1 instead of No. 438?

We will see in a few months when the state Education Department releases its numbers and the schools report for 2014 is released. (But don't hold your breath.) Remember the report for 2012? Out of 85 Capital Region school districts, Amsterdam was ranked 79th. And how could you forget the dismal Buffalo Business First report ranking Amsterdam 413th out of 429 in 2013 for upstate New York public school districts, based on four years of state test data? Amsterdam ranked 418th out of 429.

Enough is enough. We need leadership that cares about our community. We are all tired of leaders who say, "It is about the kids." We need new leaders that will make it about the students and keep the community in mind.

Anyone want to volunteer?

Curtis Peninger


Editorial on Cuomo vs. Perry off the mark

Just had to write to respond to the April 25 editorial, "Bring it on, Gov. Perry."

I just can't believe that the editor lives in the same state as I do when he says that Cuomo has spent much of his three years in office selling New York's improved business climate, promoting our Start-Up NY tax-free zones for manufacturers and corporations, and our education system.

Who do you think pays for those 10-year tax-free zones? Our education system has the highest school tax per child in the nation, but is almost at the bottom of the spectrum when it comes to scoring on testing. So many have left this overly taxed state, and more are doing it each year. All you hear is, "I can't wait to retire so I can move away from New York state."

Oh, what do you think will happen after any new business has been here for 10 years of homeowners' free-funded taxes? Remember the Amsterdam Mall? Free tax for years. When it had to pay, it shut down, and the taxpayers were left with a main street blocked by an abandoned mall.

Check out your taxes. Look at your utility bills, gas and fuel bills. Nothing is free in New York if you're a homeowner. Get real.

Rick Splawnik


SAFE Act based on emotion, not reality

I am dismayed every time I read an editorial or letter to the editor that proclaims the New York SAFE Act to be "reasonable" gun control. This ill-founded legislation is based on emotion, not reason, that accepts the fiction that there are good guns and bad guns and that the way to differentiate one from the other is basically cosmetic.

Let's examine three fundamentally identical semi-automatic rifles: same manufacturer, same action, same barrel, same magazine, same cartridge. The first has a wooden stock that most people would recognize as a "sporting" style, the second gun is the same but has a bayonet mount on the barrel, the third has a black plastic stock with an oversized pistol grip and looks like a real assault rifle, which it clearly is not!

Real assault rifles that can fire in fully automatic mode like machine guns have been severely restricted by federal law since the 1930s and are not in common use. The first gun does not have to be registered, but the other two do. However, take the bayonet mount off gun No. 2 or change the stock on gun No. 3 and they now do not have to be registered. Add one of the restricted features to gun No. 1 and it then does need to be registered.

Manufacturers either already offer, or soon will be offering, "New York-compliant" models of the same guns they are already making. So what exactly, pray tell, has been accomplished here?

In a state that has trouble paying for education and other basic services, we're going to waste valuable resources to check what ammunition people buy? Again, what good results from this? It is clear that the true intent of this law is to limit the access to firearms and increase costs of feeding them for the law-abiding gun owners.

Does anyone seriously believe that someone with evil intent will not have whatever weapon he considers best for his purposes and will limit the size of his magazine or its contents? This law tries to assure that any honest citizen facing a hobgoblin will be less well-armed than the outlaw. It should have been called the "Safe for Criminals Act."

The governor has made it clear that because I support the Second Amendment for all, I am not welcome here.

I have no doubt that our Founding Fathers would be ashamed that New York was one of the original 13 colonies.

A.J. Siarkowski


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