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Jim Staudenraus, 1st Assm. Karen Kerr-Ozimek9 dis. candidate
October 17, 2008 @ 12:00 am EDT
This morning’s meeting at LIMBA was a little different from our usual format.
We had two speakers Jim Stadenraus Republican Candidate foe the 1st Assembly district and Karen Kerr-Ozimek, Democratic candidate for the 9 Assembly district.
Each candidate was given 15 minutes to introduce themselves, and their immediate concerns.
Jim began by outlining his program for reform. He supports the 4% tax cap proposal that Governor Paterson has put forth. He would also like to see districts amalgamating their purchases for supplies and services to increase buying power. This would not root out the many redundant administration, but it would likely reduce costs of school operations.
According to Stadenraus, the taxpayers would be better served if there were a single state teachers system. The salaries would be higher on Long Island because a cost of living factor would be built in, but the difference of salaries between local school districts would be small or non-existent. Neither Kerr-Ozimek nor Stadenraus mentioned anything about teachers salaries being too high, but they are convinced that the school system can be reformed to get the taxpayers a lot more mileage from tax dollars by virtue of better management.
Karen Kerr-Ozimek suggested that a review of the entire school system was in order. There are no effective internal checks on this enormous system, and the fruits of that neglect were demonstrated when the investigation into school lawyers was uncovered by Newsday.
Both candidates were more or less on the same page despite the fact that they are running in opposing parties, though not against each other. Jim Stadenraus quoted that old chestnut, “Nothing focuses the mind like the prospect of being hanged.” Being under the yoke of the highest taxes in the country with the real possibility of it getting worse, does not have the same severity of being hanged, but the problem has gotten us a little more focused.
The economic stress the country and this region is experiencing has given us an opportunity to reassess what we are getting for our money. Anytime we are stressed by adversity we are either crushed, or we gather the resources and imagination to do better than we ever have. Perhaps we are at that critical juncture.