Dear Rush Henrietta School District Voter,
On May 16 you will be asked to vote to approve a budget for the 2017-18 school year, and elect trustees to the board of education. The teacher and staff unions have endorsed two of the four candidates on the ballot. However, all four candidates were not interviewed in the endorsement process.
As one of the candidates that were not interviewed, I believe the union leadership did a disservice to its community. Along with my colleague Diane McBride, I have been very active in the Rush Henrietta community, not only as a board member for nine years, but as an active member of several district committees for almost 30 years. Our commitment to open dialogue and stakeholder input is unwavering.
Every time major decisions were discussed, the board reached out to each of the parent groups and community assemblages (i.e. Rotary, Senior Center and Chamber of Commerce) for their views. Information was also shared at staff meetings and advisory boards.
I am disappointed that Diane and I were not given the opportunity to share our values and commitment to this community with the leadership of the Rush Henrietta Employees Association union.
This is the third year in a row RHEA endorsed candidates that have never attended a board meeting, never participated in district advisory committees, or ever held leadership positions of any parent group. Why? What do they hope to gain by adding these candidates to the board?
The RHEA supported these candidates because “they are the best people for the job” and will support their concerns of “transparency and stakeholder input.” I disagree. Diane and I have been on the board through the rough times of shrinking state aid, property tax caps, mandates like common core, lead testing and remediation and training on mental health and violence prevention, all the while providing a sound educational program that the community can be proud of.
We were members of the boards that completed major renovation projects at no cost to the taxpayer and gained voter approval to move forward with a comprehensive reconfiguration project that will ensure a quality education for years to come. We have continued to keep the community’s interest in mind when making decisions on financial matters and have been very good stewards of your tax dollars.
We know our constituents and always considered their point of view when decisions are made. I am asking that as you go to the polls on May 16 that you have all the facts about the candidates on the ballot. Vote for what is in the best interest of the students and the Rush Henrietta School community.

Phyllis Wickerham