To the editor:
Recent articles about our bulging special education costs and school budget shortfalls, partly due to reduced state reimbursements, highlight how irresponsible it is to spend money on projects like the shuffle.
When we point out this problem to those who want to spend $2.6 million to “shuffle” the education administration from one building to another, another $4.3 million to renovate town hall for our seniors (freeing up their original location for ... take a guess ... ANOTHER BUILDING PROJECT—bungalows for senior living, across the street from the middle school and athletic fields!), we hear what I refer to as “government speak.” It goes something like this: “But this money has no impact on education spending because that is not my responsibility. All education budgeting is done by them.” (The finger is raised and points to the Board of Education building—soon to be replaced, mind you, by a building so oversized a section will have to be closed off).
Special education is highly regulated and most costs are mandated by independent education plans that, by law, cannot be changed unless in the best interests of the child. Those expenses are therefore extremely hard to tighten. So if you spend freely in other areas—like refurbishing buildings and shuffling government employees around, increasing debt servicing and operating expenses—then you have to tighten spending in areas that may be easier to get at but painful to live with. Or we all have to cough up more money.
If you want to tighten other areas or cough up more money, then that is fine, vote for the shuffle and we will spend $7 million to move people around.
If you don’t want to spend $7 million to move people around and aren’t particularly excited about yet another poorly thought-out building project (the senior “bungalows”) down the road that we all know will be shoved through every committee just like the shuffle ... Then vote NO.
It’s that easy.