Letter to the editor: Laurie Osmond for Onteora school board

To the editor:

As I run for re-election, along with Tony Fletcher, to the Onteora school board, I would like to remind voters of the many things this board has accomplished, with the help of our administration, during the four years I have been on it. 

We have hired an outstanding, educationally experienced and compassionate Superintendent. The board has become functional, respectful and works well with Dr. McGill.  Transparency and communications with the public have greatly improved with the creation of a more complete and responsive District website, Board e-mail and dedicated phone number.  We have held coffee chats at budget time, held forums and extended public-be-heard at BOE meetings to accommodate the public.   We have made a carefully considered, difficult decision about District reconfiguration.   We are implementing an energy performance contract, which will result in cost savings to the District.  We are also turning our focus to the vacant West Hurley campus, a problem that we inherited. 

I want to reiterate that I am excited about the educational configuration the district will be implementing in September.  Focusing on early literacy and involving families at the K-3 schools will certainly give our youngest students a more solid foundation.   The project-based learning approach at the 4-6 grade levels will bring a more engaging, experiential element to the way our students learn and explore, plus will bring them together district-wide prior to the more socially self-conscious middle school years, which should make for an easier transition and possibly help their educational performance.  The music program is not being undermined.  Grades K-3 will continue to receive general music and all students will study a basic instrument.  Grades 4-6 will have two full-time and two part-time music teachers in one building. Weekly lessons for all instruments will continue to be given by qualified teachers, and ensembles will continue to meet for the same amount of time each week as they do now. The music offerings at the Middle and High School will remain unchanged.

I understand that change can create a lot of uncertainty, but I would like to say to parents, the sky is not falling, and I truly believe that this reconfiguration will prove very positive for our students.

You will continue to see Tony and I out and about prior to the election; at noon Saturday at Bread Alone in Boiceville, and at Uncle Rock’s Spring Fling at the Bearsville Theatre at 2pm. I ask for your support on May 15 from 2-9pm at your town elementary school.

Laurie Osmond and Tony Fletcher have a Facebook page for their re-election campaign: FletcherOsmond2012.