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The Bond Vote: An Editorial

The infamous Bond vote. North Colonie’s brilliant plan to expand our schools and our community. It included turf fields that would bring a new energy to friday night lights, new wings that would expand our already grand school and increased parking to lessen the after school jam of pulling out. It was supposed to be the plan to end all plans, the plan that would propel the district further and pave the path to success for future students. The key word is “supposed” because on December 15th, 2016 the community said no. Appalling as it was, as the district thought that this proposal was a guaranteed win, yet the people had spoken and plans for a great new school were placed on the back burner. Only question is, why?

I asked a real parent and voter who recently sat in on Joe Corr’s meeting regarding the failed vote. This was an RSVP only meeting in which they discussed the proposed plan and several alternatives. My source disclosed several details of this meeting to me. He stated that from the very start, it was clear that Corr was saddened by the fact that all these improvements to the school would not be made. The purpose was again, to understand why. The attendees were split into different groups and made to discuss. They brought up several issues regarding the vote including price, the future of shaker, and taxes. It seemed that taxes came up several times throughout the meeting. My source disclosed to me that one of the main reasons why he did not vote yes was taxes. To him, his child would only be attending Shaker for a year more and therefore wouldn’t be affected by the new improvements. It seemed absurd to pay higher taxes for something that his family would not directly experience. I believe this to be the reason that a lot of people in North Colonie voted no, more specifically the older generations who don’t have children in school. Taxes would raise significantly and to many, this isn’t a worthy cause. Another issue that was brought up was the turf fields. It’s no secret that football is the grand sport of Shaker High School. It is the one thing that the community comes out to see. The issue lied in the use of the turf field. Football, is not the only one who would need or want to gain access to the field. How would this be decided? Would football hold a dictatorship over it or would it be spread fairly over all sports? This may also be a reason that some voted no. People want to know exactly what  they’re getting when they vote and it was never specifically stated in the original plan.

However this meeting was not held just for those who voted against the bond. Those who truly wanted it to go into effect were in attendance as well. My source brought up a few people in his group who were for the bond. They expressed favor of the turf field especially. In their opinions, the field would give Shaker athletes an advantage when it comes to Division II sports. Many of the other schools of Division II have turf fields that are available for their use. This gives them slight competitive edge and therefore Shaker, a deficit. In addition to this, many if not all colleges have turf fields for their athletics. Shaker athletes looking to go Division I or even Division II for college may find themselves at disadvantage especially to those who have full use of turf fields at their High Schools. To these people, the raise in taxes is manageable if it means that their kids will find success in the future.

The point was brought up that if the cost was lower, would voters be more apt to approve it. The consensus was mixed. In order for them to vote yes, they wanted to know how much lower. Thousands, hundreds, or even tens? It’s certainly possible that in the future, this bond could be proposed and voted on again with possibly a different outcome. There is not exact rhyme or reason as to why it failed, it was the combination of multiple things. It was the taxes, the lumps in the plan, and even just general dislike. Shaker has the potential to be improved and expanded, the community just has to get itself on board.