The above writer has changed her position:  see “Why I Changed My ‘No’ to a 
‘Yes’ On the ICSD School Budget,”  Ithaca Times May 9-15, page 6. 

> On May 6, 2018, at 3:08 PM, Sandy Wold <> wrote:
> Opinion Submission to Ithaca Times: Why I'm Voting NO on the ICSD Budget: the 
> Need for a Climate-Appropriate Budget and Why We Need to Talk About The 3 
> Elephants in the Room (936 words)
> Dear Members of the ICSD School Board:
> I expect to attend and comment at the ICSD Budget Hearing meeting tomorrow 
> evening, and want you to have my thoughts about why I oppose the budget ahead 
> of time. I will also name and speak of the three elephants in the room: the 
> urgent need for Carbon mitigation and sustainability and social justice 
> education, the equally urgent and important need for methane mitigation and 
> plant-based nutrition education, and Cornell's ongoing underpayment of taxes 
> and the impact that has on the lack of affordable housing for working 
> families, child poverty, the trauma eviction causes children, and child 
> homelessness.  
> First Elephant: ICSD needs a CARBON-NEUTRAL PLAN and needs to integrate 
> SUSTAINABILITY and SOCIAL JUSTICE into all aspects of classes and school 
> culture. Given there is less than 1.5 years to meet the Paris Accord 
> Agreement, that we are nearing 1.5 degree Celsius, that 1.9 degrees Celsius 
> is not going to be that much different than 2.0, that scientists predict 2.0 
> will leave our children with an unlivable planet by 2050, and that we need a 
> new mindset to solve problems stemming from the old paradigm, I vote NO on 
> any budget that lacks a Carbon-neutral plan in the budget.  In short, I 
> propose we shorten the 5-day school week by at least one day to divert money 
> that would otherwise be spent on salaries ($11,000,000+) and water/sewer, 
> electricity, and transportation fuel, to finance and promptly begin to 
> install solar panels, efficient lighting, ground or air-source heating 
> systems, and zero-emission buses.  All ICSD staff (including administration) 
> would necessarily take a 1/5 pay reduction in order to finance our transition 
> to carbon-neutral schools. This is not just for the common good, but for all 
> ICSD long-term job security.
> I further propose that the mayor and superintendent declare a state of 
> emergency for our city, county, and state and call on the governor to ensure 
> state funding will not be interrupted due to lack of student attendance.  
> Students staying home would have online reading assignments on the topics of 
> climate science, sustainability, plant-based nutrition, and engage in 
> moderated online discussions on race relations.  Moderation would be done by 
> scholars and community leaders who would take live questions by Tweet, such 
> as the one held at the Brooklyn Historical Society in response to Ferguson 
> (CSPAN, 2014). In addition, students could also opt to spend the day 
> shadowing adults who work in sustainability and report back to their school 
> or class via podcast or Youtube channel.  Food security for students who do 
> not have enough to eat at home shall be addressed.  Lastly, when back in 
> school, the learning that happened on the day off would be documented and 
> connected to all subjects.
> In addition to carbon-neutral and energy conservation planning, I recommend 
> we not buy the proposed 8 full-size gasoline buses ($500k each).  Rather, let 
> us lessen the demand on the ones we have and/or buy 5 zero-emission buses 
> ($800k). I also recommend we begin to replace all ICSD fountains with Elkay 
> wall-mounted fountains ($961 each), which filter out lead and other harmful 
> contaminants.  It would be even more climate-friendly if we could find a 
> filter fountain without refrigeration.
> The second elephant in the room is METHANE MITIGATION.  With or without NYS, 
> ICSD should promote and embrace Meatless Mondays to educate ICSD staff, 
> students, and families (K-12) about the health and environmental benefits of 
> eating less animal products. ICSD should offer plant-based nutrition 
> education to counter the racial and ethnic bias in the US Dietary Guidelines 
> and educate about how racism, racial bias, and government policies resulted 
> in cultural destruction and the loss of community-specific food production 
> methods.  They should also educate how the US Dietary Guideline programs 
> promote excess chronic disease in minority communities and perpetuate 
> poverty.  Finally, ICSD should educate ICSD how to ameliorate the negative 
> impact of federal guidelines and food support programs on the health of 
> minority communities.  To not do this is to be complicit with animal 
> agriculture industry and pharmaceutical greed.
> The third elephant in the room is CORNELL'S UNDERPAYMENT OF TAXES and 
> "voluntary contribution." Many towns complain that universities and big 
> businesses like Amazon contribute to gentrification, loss of affordable 
> housing, poverty, and homelessness due to evictions for non-payment of rent.  
> See Seattle/Amazon clash (Slate, May 2018). The Green Street Parking Garage 
> Project may be our last strong-hold on this topic.  While most of the wealth 
> in Ithaca is held by white academics and white real estate developers, our 
> poverty rate is the third highest in the state, and that is not acceptable. 
> The working poor have been forced to move 30-45 minutes away, making their 
> children (our ICSD children) more vulnerable to the rise in gas prices and 
> food insecurity in many areas.  We need a formula that is transparent and 
> correlates Cornell wealth with our poverty rate and a formula that itemizes 
> the City services that Cornell staff and students have on our roads, 
> water/sewer, and fire/police, plus the accelerated deterioration of 
> infrastructure. Cornell's voluntary contribution of $6.2 million per year is 
> considered very low compared to other universities, and is inadequate. Given 
> our lack of affordable housing and that we have the third highest poverty 
> rate in New York State, this is not acceptable. 
> In conclusion, like the air we breathe, sustainability, equity, and social 
> justice need to be woven into every school and City decision. Please see 
> links below for background info, and I look forward to seeing you tomorrow. 
> Sincerely,
> Sandy Wold
> Ithaca, NY 14850
> ICSD Budget Hearing: Monday, May 7, 2018 at 6:00 PM in the District Office 
> Board Room at 400 Lake Street. If you cannot make it, there is a tele-Town 
> Hall meeting that same night at 7pm.
> <>
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> <,%20LZS8WSSK,%20LZSDWSLK,%20LZSDWSSK%20Spec%20Sheet.pdf>
> ---
> CLIMATE CHANGE ACTION YOU CAN TAKE: Divesting from animal agriculture by 
> switching to a plant-based diet can help our planet transform.  A vegan diet 
> is heart-healthy, non-violent, anti-colonial, and sustainable! Pledge the 
> Ithaca 10 or 30-day (Plant-based) Vegan Challenge!
> <>
> Instagram #VeganPlanet2020
> ---
> Sandy Wold, sustainability educator/artist 
> B.S. Chemistry/Biochemistry, University of Florida
> M.S. Science Education​, UC Santa Cruz/SUNY Cortland
> <>
> <> 
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