My involvement with RB goes back over 50 years. I was a freshman in 1960, graduated in 1964, served on RB’s board of education from 1989 to 1997, and had two children attend RB. In the nearly 40 years I have lived in Riverside, I never voted against an RB referendum. This year will be different.

The current tax increase is proposed by a board, the majority of which created the present financial disaster at RB. I have no confidence in the judgment of these four individuals nor, in my opinion, should anyone else. All four will be gone next month and their positions will be filled with more qualified and responsible individuals.

RB may need a tax increase or it may not. However, I will not vote for any increase until: 1. A new board is sworn in; 2. There is in place a new collective bargaining agreement which is actually negotiated by RB’s board and not merely rubber-stamped; 3. Serious cuts are made in the number and amounts of RB’s teacher stipends (as opposed to salaries); and 4. Dr. Skinkis places his personal and professional reputation on both the necessity of a referendum and, if necessary, the minimum amount of tax increase needed.

The new board must understand that it has to share real estate taxes with other taxing entities. The villages of Riverside and Brookfield are running on fumes, and they shortly will have to seek increases in order to maintain essential public safety programs. Every taxing body must be satisfied to make do with small increases. RB’s proposed increase is not small (in my case, it would be over $900 per year).

RB is an excellent school and Dr. Bonnette deserves credit for bringing stability and professionalism back to the school. However, the newly elected board, the group responsible for setting the school’s policies and finances, must restore the community’s trust in RB’s leadership. Once that trust is restored, I’m more than willing to listen to what they have to say.

Paul F. Stack