Monday, January 3, 2011

Save our Schools.. an uphill battle

For the record, I support Herb Chasen in his effort to bring attention to the budget shortfalls and the consequences on our schools. In various meetings that I've attended many questions have been asked of those in the know. What strikes me the most is how well those in the know clearly place the blame on Beacon Hill and just as clear, are those who say that there's nothing that can be done. New revenue sources, taking the ever shrinking meals tax to provide more school funding and an override are two ideas that didn't go over well.

The Town seems to be more concerned with public safety as it was reported that police and fire will be able to fill vacancies and still spend 5 million in overtime.

Families will move here because of schools, location and affordability... not because we have 100 cops and 50 fireman. We must make every reasonable effort to down size police and fire and make our schools more attractive for families to move here. Schools must do everything possible to show the tax payers that they indeed feel our pain and spend our tax dollars as wisely as possible. The centralization of school administration is a good start, but it better save money. School choice... get the numbers done now... if it saves money... do it. Divert the meals tax away from the stabilization fund to the schools? maybe. But if the PEC does not agree or the court does not rule in our favor, we might as well file for bankruptcy and start a new.


At January 3, 2011 at 1:45 PM , Blogger Arnold said...

I got to say you have a good argument here for not funding the police and fire departments overtime budgets, but I am not sure you have sold me on the school issue. My kids go to Framingham schools, and on more than one occasion I have been in a Framingham School during the day to see teachers/aides or others on our payroll in a room drinking coffee or in the hall taking about something unrelated to their students. I am lucky to have a lunch break at my job, let alone time to sit and have coffee with a co-worker or discuss some issue not work related in the hall. When I see that, I think there has got to be other waste in the budget that we don’t see. You would have to go some to convince me there are not more cuts that can be made in the school department budget. I do support what you say about public safety getting a free ride, time for that to stop also.

At January 3, 2011 at 2:05 PM , Blogger Michael said...

Level funding has been talked about in the past. My understanding is the school department budget is for more money than last years budget, that is not level funding. By the way, for level funding to work, income has to be level also. If income drops 2%, then budgets have to drop 2% across the board also for level funding to work. Anyone know what the status of Framingham’s income is for 2010 compared to 2009? Did we take in more, less, or the same amount. That information should impact every town department’s budget this year.

At January 3, 2011 at 3:32 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Budgets are about dollars and cents, facts and figures, not about who organizes a group of people to garner sympathy. I support the shools 100% and don’t want to see their budget cut at all. But you need to show me facts and figures so I can make an informed, wise decision that is the right one. I understand what Herb is doing, but I can not let that influence my vote at town meeting. I urge other town meeting members, including you Jim, to remember that. Focus on the facts, not on the sympathy factor. Show me the school budget early enough so I can have time to look at it and understand it. If you give me that time, and you are being honest, then I will agree with you that there is no where to cut the school budget anymore. If you don’t give me the facts and the time to understand and review them, then I have to think you are hiding something, and that is not going to win you my support.

At January 3, 2011 at 4:18 PM , Blogger James said...

Not sure where I give me support on this issue. Schools are important, as are public safety. I need to hear more and think more on this one. I can tell you that Chasen is not doing the schools any good. First, asking those who make more to pay more is ridiculous. And second, it worries me that the loudest voices we hear are not coming from parents or teachers. If it is as catastrophic for kids as he says, why aren’t more parents on the band wagon with him. I think he is pissing off a lot of people in town and that is not going to do the school department any good when it comes time to vote on their budget for next year.


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