Marshall Miles Letter To The Editor Register Citizen, Litchfiled County Times and The Lakeville Journal Reply

Contrary to what some people believe, when one opposes the Region One Budget on the grounds of administrative contracts, it does NOT have to affect the education program of Region One. The reasons are simple and irrefutable:

1) The total dollar amounts spent on education programs will not change (the only change to the proposed budget would be that the new additional annuities, the new vacation days, and the new sick days for administrators would be eliminated).

2) Should the budget be defeated, the Region One Board would simply have to re-submit a budget that keeps the current administration contracts (which include already negotiated raises for all administrators) in place for the remainder of their current contract term.

New contracts can be negotiated when they enter the final year of their current THREE YEAR CONTRACTS, as specified in their current contracts.

I, along with many others, oppose the Region One budget for very simple reasons:

1) If one negotiates and signs a three-year contract, common business practice dictates that one honors that contract, and opens new negotiations as previously agreed upon, in the same way that the teachers do (the same way that is stated in their current contract).

2) It insults the collective intelligence to claim that contracts that are being renegotiated (additional vacation days, additional sick days, additional annuities …) are extensions. Extensions are just that, extending the current contract with no changes and no additions. It further strains credulity to the limit by claiming, as some have done, that the new contracts cost nothing. That is not true. “Extended” contracts that call for additional vacation days, additional sick days, additional annuities, etc. are by their very nature not free.

No one is asking for, or has asked for, anyone to lose their jobs of be laid off. No one is asking for, or has asked for, money for the education programs to be taken from the budget. What is being requested, as we have been requesting for two years, is that the administrators in Region One honor their three-year contracts, plain and simple. It’s not about personalities and it’s not about vendettas. It IS about honesty, it IS about a transparent, open administration of our school system, and it IS about one principle: Honoring your word, and your signature on a contract that you negotiated, and signed for a three-year commitment to educate our children.

For the record, all of these concerns were raised prior to last year’s budget vote, but were never addressed in this year’s hearings. In fact, any attempts to raise the issues were shut down by the Region One board before any discussion could take place. It is about time that the board acts as our representatives, rather than the administration’s rubber stamp. For these reasons, I will once again vote no on the Region One Budget May 8th. A no vote will send a message to the board to start acting like an independent entity that leads, oversees and interacts with the administration, instead of the other way around.

Marshall Miles


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