Letter: Board of Finance should listen to residents

To the Editor:

At the Board of Finance’s public hearing on Thursday, March 2, there were two distinct messages.

One came from the Board of Finance, which claimed they heard us.

The other, much louder, came from the voice of the community that actively showed up and begged the Board of Finance to not just hear us, but to listen to us. To listen to everyone: from the longtime residents of the town who no longer have children in school, to the parents of children in our schools, to the education professionals who have developed the budget.

To listen to everyone saying, Put the Redding education budget of $21,002,268 — a 0.35% decrease, as presented by the Board of Education — to the public and voters to decide.

Board of Finance, don’t default on Redding’s commitment to our schools and our community by continuing down the road of arbitrary budget cuts. By listening and maintaining that covenant with our community we can start to rebuild trust.

Carolyn Baker

Redding

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  • Normnutman

    Dear Board of Finance,

    While you have had to endure recent criticism and angst over the new BoE budget, please put a reduction to a vote. While parents came out for the latest meeting, those in support of a reduction have been vocal for months now. The budget is already overblown as evident by past surpluses. In fact, even with salary increases to the teachers, if the surpluses were removed, the budget would still be lower this year, even before the cuts.

    Many in the town can no longer afford to live in the beautiful town we call home do to increasing tax burden. Please put forth a budget with a decrease as the community will stand behind it. The education will not suffer. Some ancillary programs might, but that is all. There will be no reduction in core classes as those will remain strong. It’s time to make the tough choices, and not just with education, but with the entire budget.

    Barlow was recently ranked a top ten HS. Not too bad at all when all the detractors said the education would suffer last year during the prior year budget process. Why should anyone expect anything less going forward unless the teachers decide not to do their job?

    • Chris

      A. This letter isn’t about the Barlow budget, which is not controlled by the RBOF.
      B. The tax burden has not increased for several years. The education budget has been negative year after year and the mill rate flat. If people can no longer afford to live in this town it has nothing to do with the municipal tax rate.
      C. Point me to “those in support of a reduction who have been vocal for months now.” Meeting minutes are all online.
      D. The education budget is already negative, as Carolyn’s letter makes pretty clear.
      E. Past surpluses don’t prove anything about the current budget. Frankly, we should appreciate that the district runs a surplus rather than finding ways to spend every last cent to avoid having to deal with this very argument. Some years it snows more than others. Some years more teachers and their families get sick than others.
      F. Who said education would suffer during last year’s budget process? The superintendent who said you could cut 225k and not impact the quality of the education?
      G. Asking teachers to do more with less year after year is death by a thousand paper cuts. I don’t expect out teachers to “decide not to do their job” but I do recognize that when they are constantly under assault for 2% raises (offset by increases to health insurance costs by the way) and have their resources stripped away, it is near impossible, not to mention demoralizing, to carry on at the same typically excellent standard we’ve come to expect.

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