We are embroiled in an historic economic crisis. It rivals the Great Depression in scope and dimension. The media constantly reminds us that unemployment, failed businesses, and foreclosures are on the rise. We are entrenched in an uphill battle to survive and overcome a failed economy.
So what do we do as a small, rural community in upstate New York? I suggest we get serious about looking at where we as a community can collaborate, cooperate and consolidate. We need to disrupt the status quo. The need for experimentation, innovative thinking and vision is right now.
The school district needs a transportation facility. The village needs office space. The local library needs renovation. And the community needs the courage to become progressive, unified and less territorial.
Our school can be the hub that provides health care, meals and other services to assist families in need. We can, and should, be open longer daily and throughout the summer. Longer school days will benefit our students. Community members should have access to our facility. The school is not just for students and staff. The school belongs to the community. We have libraries, computer labs, classroom space and office space. We can provide access and time for everyone to benefit from our facilities. Why isnít there a community transportation facility available? It could accommodate school buses, village equipment and other maintenance equipment.
Redundancies are ubiquitous; fuel stations, supply purchases, snow plowing, technology integration and training are some examples. We are quick to fix without proper analysis of other means and measures that save us all money. We need to come together in unprecedented fashion to change the status quo and to be visionary. We must look at ways to adopt policies and procedures that will benefit our community as a whole. If there ever was an opportunity staring us in the face, it is sharing and saving together. The adversity of our economy is clearly presenting us with a reason.
All of our community leaders and interested citizens need to recognize this challenge. I am offering my time to meet with the village and town officials as well as community representatives. The goal will be to address our needs and establish a plan to work together to benefit the entire Richfield Springs community. I can be reached at 315-858-0610, x201 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Robert Barraco is the superintendent of schools at Richfield Springs Central School District.