East Aurora's Board of Education (BOE) has an open seat that needs to be filled as a result of board member John Sigeti stepping down from the BOE. WNY Students First has been informed by sources in the district that the BOE was aware by at least May 1st, several weeks before the May 18th election, that Mr. Sigeti would need to resign due to his move out of the district.
This raises a number of important questions. First, why wasn't this information made public prior to the election? And, perhaps more importantly, why wasn't the community given the opportunity to vote for someone to replace Mr. Sigeti's seat on May 18th? These questions are troubling, but more concerning is the effort currently underway by the BOE to choose the new board member in secret, without transparency and input from the community.
According to the East Aurora Advertiser, “There’s already an indication that they want to interview candidates behind closed doors, because the two meeting notices that have been released about opening applications and interviewing candidates state that the board anticipates going into executive session. They are also both going to be held in the superintendent’s office with limited space compared to the multi-purpose room at the middle school where board meetings typically take place, also indicating the school board does not plan on having an audience.”
The decision regarding who fills this seat should be in the hands of the voters in the community, not at the sole discretion of the board members. Such an egregious action would likely create significant conflicts of interest at the BOE. The attempt by the BOE to mislead voters prior to the election and the subsequent decision to unilaterally appoint Mr. Sigeti’s replacement reflects the poor governance practices at the BOE.
WNY Students First agrees with the East Aurora Advertiser Editorial Board in that the 543 votes for BOE candidate Debra Chmielowiec should not be disregarded. These votes should matter. In fact, if the BOE had placed the now vacant seat up for a vote in May as they clearly should have, Mrs. Chmielowiec would have properly been elected to the BOE this year.
If the East Aurora BOE continues with their current applicant selection process, they are doing so in the face of the entire East Aurora community. During a year in which the public’s trust in leadership at every level has been eroded, it is more important than ever for the East Aurora BOE to make decisions that are in the interests of all stakeholders and reflect proper governance standards.
East Aurora parents should have a voice, and that voice should be included in filling this vacant Board seat.
WNY Students First requests that the East Aurora BOE make this process public and transparent, and rightfully include input from the community as should have happened in May.
WNY Students First
From the New Statewide Partnership
New York Statewide Non-Partisan Parents for Science in Schools:
Open Letter to Governor Cuomo On Mask-Gate
& Media Guide
Open Letter to Governor Cuomo from Statement from New York Statewide Non-Partisan Parents for Science in Schools On Mask-Gate
June 15, 2021
Dear Governor Cuomo,
It is time to remove the mask mandate for minors. There is no longer a legitimate, justifiable reason to mask NYS public school children. The ongoing mask mandate is unnecessary, harmful and cruel.
We are fed up. You have intentionally misled NYS public schools families, our children, educators and administrators.
On Friday, June 4th, Dr. Zucker, the New York State Health Commissioner, announced NYS intended to lift the mask mandate in schools, effective Monday, June 7th. Yet, on Sunday, families learned that the NYS Department of Education was forced to clarify that there had been no change to the school guidance at that time, and that schools must continue masking.
The DOH sent the entire educational system into a tailspin over the weekend and abdicated their responsibility to provide timely guidance to superintendents. We deserve better.
No additional data was provided by the CDC to Dr. Zucker to support continued masking of children. The mandate should be lifted.
Flip-flopping in one weekend on a decision that should be grounded in nothing but science and public health data makes it clear this decision is nothing but politics. We are tired of our children being used as pawns for politicians and lobbyists. Kids need to come first!
We watched Dr. Zucker testify before the Assembly on February 25th that new school guidance would be forthcoming in “a couple days” only to have to wait 44 days for him to follow through.
We have watched other states follow the science on school quarantines. When in school transmission was shown to be 0.7%, they adjusted their quarantine policies accordingly. New York State still quarantines students for 10 days after a covid exposure. Often, entire classrooms have been quarantined with no additional cases found. Parent groups have sent FOIA requests on student quarantine data from our respective counties and districts in an effort to stop this harmful practice. How much in person education was needlessly lost due to NYSDOH’s failure to follow science and adjust quarantine protocols for students?
We watched as you and NYSDOH failed to produce any evidence in court to demonstrate why 6 feet of distancing was necessary for secondary students at “high” rates of community transmission.
You have no scientific or rational basis to continue mandating masks for minors.
There is enough science in place to conclude that at this juncture, taking into account high vaccination rates, low community infection rates and even lower transmission rates among children, requiring children to wear masks has no meaningful impact on COVID-19 transmission.
Additionally, there is nothing safe, sound or humane about masking children when the temperatures are soaring into the 90’s. It is unnecessary, mean spirited and cruel.
It is a gross embarrassment and failure of leadership to ignore the needs of the most vulnerable, our children.
After over 16+ months of disparate solutions from school district to district without giving parents a seat at the table, we have watched our children suffer from massive learning loss and isolation. During the last hot month of the school year ahead, we are calling on you, Governor Cuomo, to do the right thing by New York state’s families and children. Parents and students should have the choice.
We demand the immediate removal of the mask mandate for all NYS school children.
On behalf of our children,
New York Statewide Non-Partisan Parents for Science in Schools
KEEP NYC SCHOOLS OPEN
Western New York Students First
Open Schools Westchester NY
Unmask the Kids - Westchester
ROC for Educational Freedom, Rochester
NY Parents and Teachers Against Distance Learning
Unmask My Child
Unmask Our Children! WNY
Moms for Liberty, Nassau
Moms for Liberty, Suffolk
FM Parents Advocating for In-Person Learning