Marshall Miles editorial on Region One Budget Referendum May 31
The following opinion is that of Marshall Miles, individual, resident of Salisbury Connecticut, and Region One Taxpayer. The opinion in no way reflects the views of Tri-State Public Communications, It’s Board of Directors, or any of the staff, volunteers, or underwriters of WHDD or CATV 6 or Tri-State Public Communications Inc.
We here in the northwest corner of Connecticut and The Region One School District in particular, find ourselves at a precipice. We can either continue with the same old same old from the Region One Administration and Region One Board, or have the Region One Board and Administration take on a partner in evolving, and creating budgets for the region by actually listening and responding to the concerns of taxpayers.
For way too long taxpayers have let budgets come and go, let contracts come and go, without becoming involved. In my view, this lack of oversight has contributed to a feeling of entitlement by both the board and the administration to exclude the public from the budget process. Yes, there are budget hearings, but those hearings are little more than the board reading off the budget line by line, the budget process already apparently finished.
And these budgets have passed. Until the last time. Why?
Well, we as taxpayers are no longer willing to accept that. We as taxpayers want a true VOICE in the budget, a true VOICE in financing decisions concerning contracts; we want the board and the administration not only to just listen, but when prompted by the taxpayers, TO ACT.
After the last referendum, the message was loud and clear: reduce the budget, and no extensions of the administrator’s contracts. What was the board and the administration’s response? To cut programs and services, to anticipate more revenue, and to leave the new annuities, new vacation days, new sick days, and additional pay raises intact for the administrators. The purported concession? To cut off the final year of the NEW administrative contracts. The contracts that were not approved by the taxpayers. All of this while still currently in year one of a new three-year contract negotiated last year. The board and the administration called it a concession, I call it a horrible joke, or worse, a total lack of respect for the over 500 voters who defeated the last budget proposal on May 17.
Exactly how hard would it be for the administration to just simply HONOR the three-year contract they were given just last year? Exactly how hard is it for the Region One Board to understand not to offer three-year contracts every year? Apparently it’s very hard as they refuse to take this request seriously.
Well now is the time, and this budget vote is the place. This is a chance for the public to reinforce to the board and the administration that enough is enough! Honor three-year contracts, listen to the public, and don’t turn your back on the taxpayers, the students, and the future success of Region One. A NO VOTE on this budget proposal will do just that.
For way to long the public has let the board and administration have free reign on the financial side of our educational system. Well, that has changed. We are now involved, we have ideas and proposals, and we not only want input, we want action on what we propose and then vote on. When we say NO, we mean NO. When a budget is defeated for two VERY important issues, we want BOTH those issues dealt with, not a hybrid budget that barely deals with one issue.
With this second budget proposal, the board and administration have ignored the message of the first referendum.
It’s time to let the board and administration of Region One know in no uncertain terms:
1) Get spending under control
2) Have the administrators honor their three-year contracts
3) Change the way you negotiate the administrative contracts so that a three-year contract is just that, a three-year contract
4) Listen to the input from taxpayers on the budget process, and most importantly, welcome the taxpayers of the region with open arms, not with hostility and doubt.
On May 31 VOTE NO on the Region One Budget, let the Region One Board and administration know we want to be full partners in the education of Region One students. Not silent partners.
The preceding opinion was that of Marshall Miles, individual, resident of Salisbury Connecticut, and Region One Taxpayer. The opinion in no way reflects the views of Tri-State Public Communications, It’s Board of Directors, or any of the staff, volunteers, or underwriters of WHDD or CATV 6 or Tri-State Public Communications Inc.