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What Does a No Vote Look Like? A Letter from the Future Scarsdale

crystalballWhat would happen if our budget didn't pass a second time around on June 18th, 2013? This is the question that inspired me to write a parody in the style of David Sedaris. Get it? A spoof? Meant to be funny, in an honestly scary sort of way? Good. Now read on.

June 17, 2017

Dear Jen,

Thanks for the recent email. It was great to hear from you after so long! I know, I know, we said we'd stay in touch when you left Scarsdale back in the spring of 2013, but then things got busy with life and we drifted apart. Anyway, it sounds like Marin is great. I agree -- what fortunate timing you had with your move! I hear that the people who bought your house in Heathcote for $2.8 million are now sending both of their children to Horace Mann and trying to sell. (Asking price is $900k – you should totally come back!) But seriously, I'm happy to hear that you, Matt, and the kids are enjoying your West Coast lifestyle.

I would say that I am jealous that you paddleboard regularly and spend so much time exercising out of doors, but the truth is, I walk about five miles outside every day! After the budget didn't pass 4 years ago, they eventually stopped having the funding for school buses, so I walk Zoe to the middle school while Andrew rides his bike to high school. Why don't I drive Zoe, you ask? Well, there is so much traffic on the roads at that 8:00 – 9:00 hour, with hundreds of families trying to drop their children off at all the schools simultaneously, that I just got tired of waiting in line. (Luckily, with all the cuts, the children in Scarsdale attend school only three days a week now, so the walking is not that bad! Austerity keeps me in shape!)

Remember that awesome elementary teacher, the one who taught Ryan to read fluently by the end of first grade even though he was having problems? You were so worried about him until that teacher came along. Well, I saw her the other day at Starbucks! She made me the best Venti Skinny Caramel Frappucino ever! Seriously, that woman is multi-talented! She says hi!

It's great to hear that Paul made the high school tennis team. Everyone in the 'dale plays for their country clubs now that there are no more organized sports in the district. Brett and I don't belong to a club, so Andrew plays A singles against that wall at the middle school. You know the one, in the middle of the parking lot? He's getting really good! We're going to list it as his only extracurricular AND sport – may help him get into Stanford?! We are singlehandedly proving that there actually IS an "I" in TEAM!

Zoe is great, thanks for asking. I thought she might be bummed when they stopped the soccer program, and the afterschool clubs, and the music program, and the chorus. I thought about trying to supplement with outside tutors, but then I bought her an iPhone and an iPad and so now she sits around with her friends for six hours after school and on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It really fills her time and keeps her out of my hair! I mean, she's probably getting into God knows what kind of trouble on the World Wide Web, but at least no more carpooling to Tuckahoe and Chappaqua, am I right?

And, what about me? Well, it's been a long road, but I'm finally sleeping better now. The recurring nightmares have stopped for the most part, and I only awake once in a while at 3 am in a cold sweat wondering what I could have done to turn around that darned budget vote all those years ago.

Anyway, when I come visit this summer, just don't worry about it if you hear me scream out in an anguished cry, "VOTE YES!" a few times a night from the guest room. It's called Scarsdale Syndrome and everyone here has it.

Doctors think the collective subconscious of the townspeople would have been okay if only we had voted YES on that fateful day, June 18th, 2013.

Oh, Jen, how I wish I could rewind time and encourage everyone in Scarsdale to just VOTE YES.

Signing off,

Julie

gerstenblattColumnist and blogger Julie Gerstenblatt writes with humor and candor about her life in Scarsdale, her friends and family, and the particular demands of motherhood and wifedom in modern-day suburbia. Read about her new book Lauren Takes Leave and keep up with the latest from Julie Gerstenblatt at http://juliegerstenblatt.com.

Comments   

0 #6 Speaking of the Future 2013-06-13 22:04
Here is a question from the most recent SAT:

Pick the item that does not fit: (A) The NSA spying on every person in the United States who uses the internet or makes a phone call; (B) Carbon dioxide levels exceeding 400 parts per million; (C) The United States arming the Syrian rebels, who are aligned with Hezbollah, as a probable prelude to US entry into yet another war: and (D) The Scarsdale school budget not passing in 2013.

It's a trick question -- they are all catastrophes. With D being the worst, to some Scarsdalians. Not a parody. Sturm und drang.
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0 #5 DavidJ 2013-06-13 09:46
Here's BillC, complaining again.

I didn't find this satire counterproducti ve. I found it funny, if it weren't so true. You are living proof of it, BillC.

I think this particular board has done an amazing job at responding to the thumping their first budget got. I think Superintendent McGill, who is internationally known in his field, has been a fantastic administrator, and I like the fact that I can help give to my daughter's teacher a nicer quality of life for her family that hopefully approximates all that she has given to mine.

Gym teacher's too.
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0 #4 Count me in for the budget 2013-06-13 07:22
This is your best article yet. Julie, you hit the nail on the head. While there are few that can say they want an increase in taxes, there are also few that can say that they send their children to a school system that exceeds most others in programming, academics, teachers and opportunities. That is why we all moved here. Our schools are our crowned jewel and the reason our homes are worth so much. While the budget should be an efficiient use of our money, we cannot pander to state tax caps and mandates. That is not what we are all about and we will ruin our schools and in turn lower our property values because we won't have anything unique to offer. If we want to maintain our high level of education then we have to pay for it. If you want mediocrity and cuts in areas you have grown accustomed to then vote NO. If you care about maintaining the quality of our schools then vote YES. It really is very simple.
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0 #3 Scarsdale Budget Comments 2013-06-13 05:47
As someone who has been a financial analyst and institutional investor for more than several decades, , I'd just like to comment that when you are reading a financial statement, i.e. "The Budget", the words "Efficient" and "More" don't have any clearly defined meaning to anyone actually reading and discussing such an important tax-payer document. Please mark your calendar right now, so you can attend all the meetings for the upcoming school year, and start learning how to actually craft a "one size fits all" budget. You will become more familiar with the language needed to discuss financial issues - and the experience will certainly help you with your personal finances, as well.
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0 #2 BillC 2013-06-13 05:10
I get that you're trying to be funny but this sort of thing is counterproducti ve. The 'yes' voters argue that education is important and that 'people who understand the issues' have picked over the budget and made it as efficient as possible. The 'no' voters argue that education is important but that there is a lot of fat in the budget and money should be spent more efficiently.

After reading the article linked below it seems like the 'no' votes are clearly correct - no one is making a serious effort to make the budget more efficient. That usually happens when one group of people spend another group's money. How is it wrong for the people paying for the schools to demand efficiency? Why don't we rally around 'spend efficiently' instead of 'spend more'?

http://www.scarsdale10583.com/201306043309/schools/board-trims-almost-$1.4-mm-from-second-scarsdale-schools-budget-proposal.html
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0 #1 Nice parody 2013-06-11 21:03
Hahaha. That's a pretty funny parody. But I'm sure those "no voters" who probably have no sense of humor won't get it and will take offense that you have stolen their scare the voters tactic. Thanks for making me laugh this morning.
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