To the Editor:
It’s important that public comment be made at the Tuesday, April 5 (tonight’s) Board of Finance meeting at 7:30 p.m. at Comstock Community Center (and via Zoom) specifically on the actions taken on Monday evening with respect to the BOE budget. in light of the decision made at Monday’s meeting that severely compromises the well-thought-out provision for our students’ education that has been made by the Board of Education and our school administrators in their already tight, and reduced, budget proposal.
That BOF decision on the BOE budget as articulated in the reasons given on Monday evening was based apparently on an acknowledged to be far-from-scientific “polling” of resident opinion and with BOF members freely acknowledging the excellence of our school administrators and the BOE and acknowledging also the BOF members’ own lack of knowledge of educational pedagogy and clearly demonstrating significant confusion as to what can be accomplished through town bonding — both altogether and in the immediate term.
While quite a few numbers for cuts in the BOE’s proposed budget were bandied about at Monday’s meeting (and while in my view, wisdom strongly counsels no cut at all, as several BOF members strongly urged), as I understood the BOF’s discussion, instead of an approximate $900,000 cut in the BOE’s proposed budget that the BOF voted to approve last night, it could have adopted a result that would be less devastating for our children’s education of a $635,000 reduction. That reduction was at one point on the table and apparently could potentially have marshaled the required four BOF members’ votes.
So the BOF will be hearing public comments Tuesday evening, and hopefully will consider revisiting its BOE budget decision. The difference for us taxpayers amounts to a less than $35 “rounding error level” change in our tax bills (by one of the BOF board member’s own calculation methodology last night), but its impact on our students in required cutbacks will be very significant and unfortunate and far transcends such a truly modest number.
In short, the BOF’s Monday evening decision on the BOE budget can be, and deserves to be, revisited in the light of a new day.