Thursday, May 30, 2024

BOE Budget Not Set In Stone

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Letter to the Editor

by Mike Suntag

I am speaking as Chair of Citizens Addressing Racial Equity (CARES)

CARE was established 16 years ago as a result of a racial incident in order to resolve issues between the community of color and the police.  Our mission has always been to respond to instances of inequitable distribution of resources and personnel that impacts those in the community who have the most need for them.

We see the proposed town budget for the school system as such an issue. Any budget that falls below 6.96% will fall hardest on those students and parents that do not have the financial ability to offset the damage to their children’s education.

This shortfall can be blamed on the pandemic and the use of esser funds to pay for positions and programs. We can blame the shortsightedness of those who, over the last three years failed to move positions incrementally to the town budget. 

That is the past. This is now and the fiscal cliff that we are facing is nothing like the chasm upon which our school system teeters. If it falls into this abyss, it will not recover for years. This fall will take our children and their hopes and aspirations with it.

It is no easy task to balance the needs of an entire community at budget time. Courage is necessary to absorb some pain now and not hope that funding will come from other sources that will then sunset and put us all in a worse place than we are now.

We are recommending that you come as close as you can to the 6.96% original school system proposal.  Give our town some hope that we are not sacrificing the future for short-term solutions

Nothing is set in concrete until it hardens. You have the opportunity to change the budget based on what you have heard here today. We recommend the 6.96% budget

2 COMMENTS

  1. So on point Mike Suntag! Our fingers are crossed that our Council does the right thing and fully funds the schools.

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