A recent social media post asked, Why do we need an early vote to extend the superintendent’s contract? Why not wait until the fall once the final budget is known and how/when the schools will open with COVID-19 limitations. Why rush the vote? Why not give the community time to have input? Warren and Fayston had a “no confidence vote” at Town Meeting against the current superintendent and her administration. Why are we rushing to extend her contract now?
And as far as the current budget proposal, it seems a bit deceptive for some people to state: The budget is $20,000 lower than the budget defeated in March [true], but the actual budget being proposed has an increase of approximately 2.8% over this year’s operating budget. With millions of Americans out of work, with thousands of small businesses closed and likely never to return and thousands of people having their salaries reduced to 70-80% of normal income I ask this:
Why can’t the school board present us with a level budget without any increase over this year’s expenditures? Why haven’t the board and the teachers been willing to consider temporary salary reductions to achieve a no-increase budget for next year’s school term?
Just because we can legally pass budget increases onto the taxpayer (because health insurance and other contract expenses are mandated), why doesn’t the school board and the teachers voluntarily reduce their salaries for this next year to present the community with a level budget alternative? Why not selectively reduce some programs? Why not increase class size, where possible, to temporarily reduce costs?
I believe the ability to simply pass onto the taxpayers budget increases is wrong. School boards and other government institutions need to be run like any other business. When times are difficult (like now) you cut costs to survive and live within your means.
Some will say we value our teachers. I agree! I value them as well. But with no more value than that of our small business owners who may never reopen. Or for that white collar person who is learning to live on 70-80% of their normal salary, or who will not receive their annual bonus this year so their company can financially survive into the future? Everyone has value and should be treated equally.
But does this mean the school administration and teachers are any different than millions of other families who have lost their jobs or are living on a reduction of 70-80% of their normal income? Does it mean that our small business owners, our inn owners and so many other regular people should be required to live under reduced incomes while our school administration and our teachers look forward to status quo in 2021.
I don’t believe this situation is fair or reflective of the shared sacrifice our country is going through with COVID-19. I will again vote no on this proposed school budget.
Simonini lives in Fayston.