Letter to the Editor RE: Hornell School Capital Project Plans

December 19 2022

Last week the Hornell School Board presented what some might call its lavish
$32,000,000.00 building renovation budget. I attended that meeting and
was shocked at how little this huge spending plan had to do with better educating
our students.
To recap, this plan is for building renovations, including an unnecessary middle
school plan to build two new classrooms but demolishing two beautiful
existing classrooms in the same building. Doesn’t make sense.
“Updating” is also a nebulous and frequently used adjective in describing the wish list for new floors, repainting, new lighting, etc, all of which have nothing to do with why Jimmy and Suzie can’t read or do arithmetic.
The budget rightly includes a need to replace astro-turf and a school roof for about a million dollars. The rest is Christmas list fluff.
Keep in mind that this $32 million expense won’t make our students any smarter.
What many taxpayers don’t realize is that Hornell students consistently score at or near
the 50-percentile competency level compared to the rest of New York state
schools. With one teacher for every twelve students, Hornell’s low academic
performance has to be a learning problem, not a renovation problem.
Hopefully, by saying no to this huge budget, Hornell taxpayers will force the school board to rethink it’s spending plan, tighten its belt and bring us a plan to make learning, not spending, the highest priority for our students.
John Lyng