Vote to provide our children the best education we possibly can

To the Editor:
This Thursday, Oct. 7, is the referendum vote for Guilderland schools. While much (most) of the attention of a select group has been placed on the turf field, we all need to remember how very important all the improvements in this referendum are to all of our students and therefore to all of us.

I am retired, no children in the schools, and on a fixed income. But these improvements are so vitally important to the future leaders of my community that I am willing to spend the extra $5 a month. That is why I encourage everyone to vote yes and I will explain why.

Let’s address the elephant in the room first.

Regarding the turf field, the Federal Research on Recycled Tire Crumb Used on Playing Fields [posted on the Environmental Protection Agency website] states the following:

“In general, the findings from the report support the premise that while chemicals are present as expected in the tire crumb rubber, human exposure appears to be limited based on what is released into air or simulated biological fluids (gastric fluid, saliva and sweat).” 

Does anyone really believe that Guilderland, or any of the several area school districts that already have turf, are intentionally trying to harm our children? Ten out of 15 schools in the Suburban Council have or will have synthetic turf fields in the next 12 months

Schools that already have turf: Albany, Shenendehowa (will have two turf fields), Burnt Hills, Shaker, Columbia, Saratoga, Troy, and Schenectady.

Schools that will have turf within 12 months: Christian Brothers Academy and Niskayuna.

Does anyone really believe that New York State would approve the use of turf on school properties if it would cause serious harm to our children? Of course not! In fact the State Education Department turf fact sheet states: 

“Studies have been conducted by the California Environmental Protection Agency Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health to assess the potential for ingestion exposure to the chemicals in crumb rubber by children playing on synthetic turf. Both studies concluded that health risks to children resulting from the ingestion of crumb rubber are low.” 

Technology has evolved since the inception of turf fields to allow the processing of this material into a safe product.

This improvement not only benefits athletes, but physical-education classes can extend their outdoor time. Students with physical limitations or in wheelchairs can safely participate and not worry about tripping in ruts or getting stuck in divots.

Environmentally, this is a solid choice. Among other things, it will help to conserve water (California encourages the use of turf at homes), and no gas emissions from mowers needed for upkeep!

But this is more than a turf-field vote. This is a vote to provide our children the best education we possibly can.

We all learned from this pandemic the importance of technology. A yes vote strengthens technology in our district. Outdoor learning is vital as we have learned from COVID.

New boilers and security will let our children learn in a safe, warm environment. Research shows children will do better in schools where they feel safe and where their surroundings are warm in the winter and cool in warmer months. These improvements speak to the heart of this referendum.

I encourage everyone to vote yes on this referendum. Our children cannot vote to improve their educational environment, but you can vote yes for them!

Mary Schmitz


More Letters to the Editor

The Altamont Enterprise is focused on hyper-local, high-quality journalism. We produce free election guides, curate readers' opinion pieces, and engage with important local issues. Subscriptions open full access to our work and make it possible.