Town Meeting is March 3 and voters from The Valley and Waterbury face some tough choices this year in terms of the Harwood Unified Union School District budget.
This year there is a concerted effort to express voter discontent with the school board’s actions by voting down the budget. This comes after the school board’s attorney argued, and a judge then ruled, that voter discontent over school board action could be remedied by voting down the budget. It comes after a member of the school board stated the same thing in public.
At issue is how the school board handled two petitions seeking to change the Articles of Agreement (by rejecting them) and the fact that the board’s proposed budget imposes a redesign plan on the district that the board previously rejected multiple times. That redesign plan moves all seventh- and eighth-graders in the district to Crossett Brook in addition to Moretown fifth- and sixth-graders.
That leaves voters with tough choices, especially in our communities where support for our school budgets has been strong for decades and certainly since the district voted to merge in 2016. It’s hard to recall the last time a school budget was voted down.
There are many, many voters for whom voting against a school budget would be an anathema. Nobody wants to be “that guy,” the one who rails against taxes and the cost of educating kids.
It might be tempting for some to simply not vote on that Australian ballot item at Town Meeting next week. But that’s even worse. That’s how we ended up with our current president. Out of some 214 million eligible voters who could have cast ballots only some 138 million did so in 2016. An estimated 76 million voters did not vote, more than did cast ballots for either presidential candidate. Recall that President Trump received 62,980,160 votes and Hillary Clinton received 65,845,063 votes.
Our communities are at an important crossroads as we look ahead. Voters are going to need to take a stand on this issue and cast their ballots.
It’s time for all voters to get informed, make up their minds and vote.