Gale Courey Toensing Letter To The Editor Reply

 Friday, April 27, 2012 9:11:21 PM
Subject: Letter to the editor:

There are multiple inaccuracies in the 4/26 issue. I’ll begin with the editorial. Neither the Sharon representative nor I voted against the budget on March 28. We voted against giving the “central office” administrators raises and contract extensions.  I voted against them this year as I did last year because — in my opinion and according to my conscience — giving these pay raises and extensions would express a lack of consideration for the taxpayers of Region 1. We are still living in a time of economic uncertainty. The majority of people here are not wealthy business-owners, they are hardworking employees, some of whom have lost their jobs, some of whom have lost their homes, many of whom make well below the middle class median household income of around $50,000 for a family of four, and most of whom have not had raises for the past few years. The administrators’ present compensation packages range from over $100,000 to around $180,000 for the superintendent. Taxpayers will be asked to bear an additional tax burden for necessary and mandated repairs to the high school building. To ask them to pay for raises for people who already earn so much money is – in my opinion and according to my conscience – untimely. Any budget increases at this point should be to improve student learning.


The editorial says that I didn’t attend the April meeting “when the budget and bond issue were voted unanimously to be sent to referendum by the board,” perhaps leaving readers wondering if I didn’t attend in order to avoid that vote. In fact, I was away on assignment as I have been every April at that time for the past three years.


The superintendent, chairman and Becky Hurlburt in the Cornwall Board of Education story and Irene Hurlburt in her letter are wrong in claiming the contracts can’t be changed if the budget is defeated. Of course they can. The raises are included in the proposed budget and if the proposed budget goes down, the raises don’t magically remain in place — they go down too. The chairman’s claim that if the budget is defeated programs will be cut is also nonsense. If the budget is defeated the region continues to operate and bill the towns based on the current 2011-2012 appropriations. If the budget is defeated, the board needs only to eliminate the contract extensions and raises of the administrators – with the exception of the principal and assistant principal whose contracts expire June 30, 2012. Contracts extensions and raises for the “central office” administrators are what people object to. Get rid of them and the budget will pass easily.


As for Irene Hurlburt’s claims about “innuendos,” if she’s referring to me she should know that my objections to the questionable actions of the board and superintendent over the past three years have not been by innuendo, but rather in clearly articulated written statements that are part of the public record and available to any citizen.


Gale Courey Toensing

Falls Village, Connecticut

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