I am writing regarding the issue of the vote Monday on whether to close the Little Valley campus of the Cattaraugus-Little Valley Central School District. Various articles in several papers leading up to this juncture have cited opposition to the proposal being articulated by Little Valley residents.
This is certainly understandable, inasmuch as no village wants to be without a school to help attract the younger homeowners with school-age children that help make a community vital. What is not understandable, however, is that there has been no corresponding outcry from members of the former Cattaraugus Central School District.
After all, if the Little Valley School is closed, it is they who forever will be branded with the large capital L (for Liar) for having reneged on the assurance given by their community through its elected representatives. We do not need to hear from the superintendent, BOCES, or the school attorney, that ignoring the assurance is perfectly legal; we knew that when it was provided.
It is a matter of honor, not a matter of law. When Little Valley agreed to be annexed (we did not merge to use the technical language of NY State Education Law because doing so would have thrown out the collective bargaining agreements of both districts and required re-negotiations from zero) by Cattaraugus, we trusted our neighbor to do right by us in perpetuity.
In fact, those are the exact words I spoke to their school board as we finalized preparations (I was president of the Little Valley School Board at the time).
The approximate $16 million in incentive monies accruing to the combined district as a result of Cattaraugus' favorable vote on its second attempt have certainly benefited all, but undeniably Cattaraugus the most since the majority of physical plant is in their community.
For there to even be consideration of closing Little Valley's building to save less than $200,000 is shameful to say the least. Now is the time for that community to recognize that "fair is fair"and insist the commitment they gave to their neighbors be honored.
Maj. Richard M. Williams, U.S. Air Force (retired), lives in Salamanca.