How much will the tax rate increase next year?

Above: Advisory Committee members Tim Langella (left) and John Butler (right) at Town Meeting last night (photo by Chris Wraight)

If you’ve been reading the blog these past two days — and if you were at Town Meeting yourself — you already know that voters rejected nearly all attempts to further trim town budgets. What that means is your taxes are going to be higher next year, but how much higher?

Town Meeting approved a $44.4M budget for fiscal year 2012, with $41.7M of that to be raised through taxes. Finance Director Brain Ballantine says that translates to a tax increase of 2.4 percent, which means the average family will pay $191 more in taxes next year. Of course, the amount you will actually pay depends on the value of your home.

The 2.4 percent increase is pretty close to the 2.3 percent increase proposed by selectmen, but how we got there is quite different from how they recommended we do it. Selectmen arrived at their number by cutting an additional $570K from the schools and offsetting some costs with $400K from the town’s overlay reserve fund.

Voters soundly rejected proposals by both the selectmen and the Advisory Committee to trim the school budget. Instead they opted to fully-fund the schools, and use more than twice the amount recommended by selectmen from the overlay fund to help maintain town roads and pay for educational incentives for police officers, among other things.

Notably, Town Meeting voted to use $445K of the overlay money toward the town’s debt payment for the year.

Selectman John Rooney argued against spending the money on a recurring expense like debt retirement. “I compare our town’s past management practices to a heroin addict,” he said. “The town has been addicted to one-time revenue sources to fund operational budgets, and because of that, we’re not in a position to weather the state financial crisis.”

In total, voters decided to use $861K from the overlay reserve fund. That leaves just over $313K left untouched in the fund. The town will get the option of spending that money next year.

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Kathi Lengel
11 years ago

Good job, keeping the education budget in tact. Keeping the schools at a high level will benefit the town in the long run. Well done!

mike
11 years ago

BOS, Great; job on getting St Mark’s and Fay to buy a police cruiser each. Great job in negotiating the contracts with the unions for fire, police and othe personnel. Too bad the School Committe did not have the back bone to hold the teachers unions to no pay raise. You did try but too many mommies and daddies showed at Town Meeting. Again, their (teachers) golden benefits, which no one recieves in the private sector, and their pay raises, which no one has received in at least five years, were not touched. Woopee the teahcers are now paying 25% of their health care while the rest of us are paying 35-50%. And all the mommies get to keep the teachers happy and they can smile when they walk into the schools that basically are stil producing sub par kids as compared to the natilonal academic standard in the world. And we as a town did not have the back bone to say no to yet another kiddie park funded by another tax increase in the form of the CPA which the state will not contribute to next year.

Tessa
11 years ago
Reply to  mike

Mike, I usually try to ignore derisive, angry comments such as yours, but frankly, I’m a mother, and my children, one who has graduated from college and is in the midst of a successful career, and the other who is finishing middle school have not received ‘subpar’ educations here in Southborough. Isnt it time to stop the teacher bashing and get on with it? Let’s move forward. The Town has spoken and it is what it is. Move on.

carrie alpert
11 years ago

hey Mike, i am not a mommie–i am absolutely most definitively a MOM with a list of things i need to get accomplished in my “workday” and my kiddies? are not kiddies, they are children. I wish we had the educational system of Finland but we do not, if Corey Booker wants to become our Mayor I will support him; however, I work within the framework of what I have. Fighting the Unions is going to take more than a few scant people.
Next on my agenda is getting rid of the 6 studies my son and the other 6th graders are slated to have next year at Trottier because the specialist teacher was taken away (thanks!) and what is being sold to us as a bill of goods is that unless your child plays a musical instrument/chorus they can have 6 studies a week “to do their work”

footballdad
11 years ago
Reply to  carrie alpert

Carrie,

Enough of this about the six studies a week. Give Trottier an opportunity before you come charging in “with your agenda” Since your kids have yet to attend Trottier let me give you a little information. Trottier staff and administration is great. Overall I think it is the best school in the Southborough system.

The amount of work for the students will be much greater what they have encountered up to this point. Having a study once a day is actually a good idea. It is one period a day (I believe the 6th is because each day they have a double period which rotates during the week). The value of the study is that it teaches the student how to use their time and prepares them for when the go to high school. Give it a chance. Let your kids experience the school before you get all excited.

Also, you keep mentioning the specialist that was lost. What specialist is that? They still have gym, music, art, Spanish, French and Latin (I think).

carrie alpert
11 years ago
Reply to  footballdad

I do not remember ever saying anything in reference about the staff or administration. My point was that if your child is not interested in band or chorus their choice is a study. My oldest child would benefit from not having 6 studies a week; and before the cuts there were not so many offered. What specialist was cut I am not sure but at the Principal Coffee I attended a few weeks ago for incoming parents I was told that if there were funds they would have loved to have added an additional choice for those kids who would have liked an option.

carrie alpert
11 years ago
Reply to  carrie alpert

i stand corrected that there are actually tons of clubs to join during a study. i am looking forward to Trottier–be well

Sobo Dad
11 years ago

As someone who has read this blog for the past few years now, I have never been more angry than after reading your post. Whether we all agree or disagree on the school budget, we should all at least act in an agreeable fashion to our fellow neighbors. I strongly believe that our kids (my kids) are far from “sub par”. Your categorization of the town kids is both untrue and unfair. It is in the best interest of the community that we all get behind the results of vote from a very fair process and come together for the good of all of our neighbors in town.

Neil Rossen
11 years ago

A fair process? A well organized turnout by those who were not prepared to listen to economic arguments, or comparitive statistics, but voted simply in their own perceived interests. Forget about taxpayers on fixed incomes. Forget about the fact that the vast majority of the increase in funding over the years has been devoted to teacher salaries. Forget about the union not being prepared to indicate the increase they have just won.
The rude applause for anyone who spoke in favor of the outrageous increase in funding was particularly egregious. Oh, and did anyone notice that all the “contributions” given by the teachers last year have all been taken back with interest.
There is no way I’m “getting behind” the vote and the “fair” process.

Mike
11 years ago

Well Neil, I can tell you this. For the next twelve months I will be canvassing Southboro like a religious zealot to get more of the “common” folk at the meeting next year. Like I said the BOS, the Advisory and the Budget Committee all did a great job in bringing forth a budget that would work with no new tax increases. And there were basically too many mommies and daddies (wicked rude and immature I might add wiht the cat calls and hissing) there supporting the teachers and hence the unions. Keep in mind, none of us are attacking the teachers. But yes the teachers unions. The second objective will be to do away with the now unfunded mandate from the state called CPA which paid for the Rec Dept.’s new kiddie park (like we need another one in this economy – and bull it is paid for with my CPA Taxes on my tax bill). So with this latest tax increase for me it is $400. Plus the 1% CPA add in another $200. THat is $600 dollars that we simply would rather keep in our own pocket thank you. And the Trottier school is the best school in the southboro district by far.

carrie alpert
11 years ago
Reply to  Mike

Mike,
what exactly are you basing your blanket “Trottier is the best school in the district” statement on? nothing against Trottier, my child is super excited to enter there and Keith Lavoie is not only approachable he is also well suited for that diverse population (not a blanket statement as most of us (moms and dads feel that way); however, the 6 studies the 6th graders face entering that school leaves me questioning how you can say it is the best school in the district–and this is no fault of the administration at all as they can only work with the funds they have, thanks again for taking away the specialist teacher. The fact that each school in the lower elementary grades is broken up into 2 year grades allows one to see how each few years educators and parents alike are faced with different social and educational challenges and I think that each school does a great job meeting those challenges. Thus far I feel as though Neary is where my head is spinning as a parent: i spend half my day telling my child to “dial it down” or at minimum thinking it. How can they be so social and never be *tired?
and as far as the chaos or hooting and hollering we did –when you compare our school system to towns like Medway and Upton-Mendon and use comparative class size models and try to sell us those bill of goods you are going to hear vocalization.

Kate
11 years ago
Reply to  carrie alpert

Carrie:
I have three children, and only one has gone all the way through Trottier (the others left for charters)- he is getting ready to finish up 8th grade & move on to St. John’s after an excellent middle school education. Each of my children has had studies in their respective schools. They have shared that learning how to use this time has been invaluable to them. Middle school students have a lot of structured time, so making constructive use of unstructured time can help to prepare them for high school and beyond. Teachers are available for questions and support during studies. Students can work collaboratively. I realize that this issue has long been a contentious one, however my high school-aged son still insists on having a study in his schedule, as he learned to use this time wisely in middle school.

Just my thoughts.

Karen
11 years ago
Reply to  carrie alpert

Carrie,

From the Town Warrant on page IV under the section “Participation”:

“It is improper to indulge in references to personalities and all expressions of approval or disapproval, such as applause or booing are out of order.”

I think it is great that people are passionate about their particular views, but the rules of the meeting should be kept in mind. We don’t need added divisiveness in our town.

footballdad
11 years ago
Reply to  carrie alpert

Carrie,

Please slow down for a moment. Mike, whose comments I ignore, did not state that he felt Trottier is the best school, I did. I made the statement based on the fact that I have had children attend all the Southborough school and have seen how they are prepared for high school, both Algonquin and private.

Give your child an opportunity to experience the school before you feel you need to exercise your agenda.

Also, as I asked in my previous post, what specialist was reduced that created the need for 6 studies a week.

C. Nicholas Ellis
11 years ago
Reply to  footballdad

Minor nit:
Mike did in fact state his agreement that Trottier “is the best school in the Southborough district by far.” Since you habitually ignore his comments I can see why you would have missed that. Just felt it was worth pointing out.

Hopefully everyone can keep their tempers under wraps so that we can discuss the issues before (and behind) us in a calm, civil manner. Passion is all well and good, but so is knowing when to express that passion fervently, and when to express it calmly. Perhaps a more constructive use of passion is to research your position to come up with supporting facts, in order to present a compelling argument to the populace – in a calm, rational manner. Debates are not won by loud voices. Debates are won through calm, civil discourse and the discussion of facts. Anyone who’s had to do a debate in school (and there should be plenty of you out there) would have learned this lesson, even if we often forget the lessons (all of them, in school and outside) we’ve learned.

I’m often reminded of a great classic that perfectly illustrates the nature of man, especially when it involves passion and opposing views: Twelve Angry Men. If you have never seen the movies, of which there are several (and they are all good at presenting the intended subject matter), I suggest you rectify the situation. It mirrors very closely the situation we are observing today in our town with regards to people’s reactions to the issues, even if the subject matter itself is wholly different.

Bottom line:
What’s done is done. We are all free to adhere to our viewpoints, or alter our viewpoints to match those of others, but we should always remain respectful of one another – especially when our viewpoints diverge in opposing directions. That goes for everyone equally – there is no “side” that is and has been better or worse, only individuals. When all else fails, there’s an old saying for dealing with uncivil people over the internet – “Don’t feed the trolls.”

Frank Crowell
11 years ago

Was the first night of Town Meeting a “civil discourse and discussion of facts” when it came to the school budget?



We are just now getting the details of the teacher contract.



The presentation by Dr. Gobron was only lacking high school cheer leaders unless you count the Amen corner that was on his side. The former town moderator would not have allowed that behavior and would have shut it down quickly.



Anyone who dares challenge (on this board) the teachers union is a “teacher hater” as a poster here has already pointed out. With this as a known and the “rah rah” going on, did anyone even feel comfortable challenging what Dr. Gobron and school committee at TM.



Well, what is done is done – you got that right.



How about some answers now from the good Doctor.

Lower student population – higher cost – state rankings sub par?



Too many schools now? 



Too many teachers?



I am going to do some homework on how a troll lives.

footballdad
11 years ago

You are correct I did miss his comment about Trottier since I no longer read his post. However, I made the comment earlier in the thread that I myself felt that Trottier was the best school in the town system.

I voted to support the school committee budget although I do understand the concerns of the those that opposed it. Moving forward I thin there needs to be more transparency in the school spending.

The statement on this site was made that since a specialist was eliminated at Trottier the students have 6 studies a week. I’m trying to identify what position was eliminated.

Kelly Roney
11 years ago

Taxpayers on fixed incomes exist. They also have several ways to receive tax abatements. For some reason, despite not needing baby sitters, they didn’t turn out in large numbers for Town Meeting. Or at least they didn’t vote against the school budget.

Maybe that’s because it’s mainly reflexive anti-taxers who voted against the budget, rather than people who are actually on a fixed income.

Mike
11 years ago

You are right it is anti – taxers and folks who happen to be self sufficient and dont rely on the government, the town, the schools to provide raising their kids, medical supplies, kiddie parks et. Taking 50% of my hard earned income is simply and undebatably immoral at best. Who in Gods name gave you and the rest of the people the notion that you can reach into my packet and take my cash. That is stealing. But the government does it and redistributes it to your special needs teacher – wrong. You take care of your special needs child. Not me and my money. That is immoral. And the cash my dear can only come form one place. Taxes. I would be and am embarrassed for all you who take from the hard working folks, (whether you make 25, 50, 75 or 750K) and think it is ok to hand it to people I dont even know. Or to build another kiddie park when we have several already. Or that union personnel think that they have the right to make more, have better benefits, and force bad cirriculum down everyones throats. I dont care what you say the teachers do not in any way or form work as many hours as I do or the average private employee. Thats ok. That was one reason at one time to go into teaching. And yes my hard earned money is being taxed too high for the services rendered. And the immature audience at town meeting should be ashamed to be playing my clap is louder thatn your clap childish games.

earl
11 years ago
Reply to  Mike

Mike,
Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts on this blog.

Your presence reminds me to be that much more grateful for the many kind and loving people that have been, and are a part of my life.

Like you, I love the idea of keeping more of my money and I too love the idea of maintaining or better yet improving the quality of our schools.

You’ve proven you are more than able to define and describe the problem – lower cost and improved educational opportunities. Are you able to identify solutions that benefit more than your bank account?

Responses along the lines of “let the teachers go on strike and let volunteers teach”, and “ignore the SPED kids”, reflect the world as you want it, not as it is. Is there any part of you that believes those solutions are realistic in the town you have chosen to live?

The challenge in life is not finding problems, it’s finding solutions, and convincing others to implement those solutions. Solutions without the ability to convince are worth nothing.

Without solutions that manage costs and maintain or improve our schools, we’ll almost certainly be faced with two bad choices at TM next year: Lower the perceived quality and, or gamble with my child’s education, or pay more.

Resident
11 years ago

After town meeting I wanted to see where we compared to the towns mentioned by Rooney. I cared only about the 6th grade since I have one child and she is in that grade. I looked at the MCAS scores which at least give us data.

Statewide in 2009

Trottier ranked 92 in English and 167 in Math.
Mendon Upton also ranked 92 in English and 158 in Math.
Medway ranked 105 in English and 83 in Math.

That same year, per pupil spending:

Medway $10,315
Mendon Upton $10,534
Sboro $12,639

So the information is that we spent more per child, had smaller classes, but our 6th graders did not excel. Seems to me to be a valid comparision at least for that grade and year.

Not sure how smaller class sizes helped our kids in the 6th grade in 2009. Maybe they needed more study periods and not less!

People will say that MCAS tests do not measure correctly. I’ve heard that before when people don’t like the results. Can’t argue that we spent more that two thousand dollars per student though.

Kate
11 years ago
Reply to  Resident

Resident:
With all due respect, “excel” is an extremely subjective term, wouldn’t you say? It might be helpful to look at all of the MCAS data when making comparisons, not just the rankings. I must admit I just read your post, and haven’t checked DESE numbers yet, but I’ll be looking at special education/ELL statistics, which can definitely skew things. We all know that statistics & numbers can be found to support whatever position one wishes to support. It’s not that MCAS tests “don’t measure correctly,” it’s that making comparisons are difficult, as you need to take into account a number of factors, including student populations, etc.

Karen Gadbois
11 years ago

Mike-
I am sure you think it is immoral for the Town of Southborough to pay for special education teachers, however they are required to do so by state and federal law. Perhaps you can put your energy into trying to overturn those laws – good luck with that.

I am sure it is frustrating for those who voted against the School Committee budget that they were unable to motivate enough like minded voters to show up at Town Meeting but that is how democracy works. The idea that being willing to pay additional taxes to maintain the quality of our schools is the emotional reaction of irrational “mommies and daddies” who don’t listen to statistics (about education in Medway!) is ridiculous – it is a well thought out economic decision about our home values and our childrens’ future.

choosing anonymity
11 years ago

Some thoughts that I can no longer contain…………………..

Did it ever occur to the people who show up “to win” and to those who participated in the hootin’ and hollerin’ ……that perhaps if the teachers union actually cared about the
students, they would have come to the table with some sort of concession? The other
unions in town (police, fire) managed to come to the table taking a hit given this towns budget woes in addition to the problems the state and country face fiscally. Once again the teachers union did not. (I am aware they have upped their participation in health care costs….but, it should have been done long ago).

I still have a child in the school so, I agree that cutting the schools budget further will take away teachers and important programs like music, etc. I do not want that. I would LOVE for teachers to be paid more but not as a mass entity across the board and not with our current fiscal picture. Just like every other profession, teachers should be earning their raises as individuals not as a mass. I used to have to sit in front of my boss, face to face, eye to eye, and show what i had done the previous year to prove why I had earned my raise. Just like every other profession …they should be taking a hit.

Having said all that…..did it ever occur to these people that when the schools DO make cuts in the budget it directly impacts our kids in the classroom on a daily basis? In other words, they are having to take things out of our kid hands in order to appease the unions with yet another raise. This doesn’t seem wrong to you?
Remember…..I don’t agree with slashing the school budget so that it compromises
my kids education BUT I also don’t want my taxes higher just to fund another teacher raise at this point in time. Let the cuts and the cost saving come in the form of
more concessions in the teachers contracts and not directly from the classrooms.
THATS what I have a problem with. Why does the money always have to come from
line items that directly impact our kids………why can’t the money come from the
teacher union contracts?

When you look at the big picture, the teacher’s union really hasn’t given up
much. The small concession they gave last year (having to do with professional development) wasn’t made again this year…. and mind you, they did get a raise last year and two years prior as well, which was part of their 3 year contract from prior negotiations.

It is quite curious and convenient that the contracts were not finalized before
Town Meeting and the school committee didn’t even vote on them before Town Meeting….although we know how that voting will go. It is all done is such secrecy
and in a vacuum and if we question it we are immediately labeled as teacher haters.
I have no problem being called a union hater……..but I am not a teacher hater.

One final thought……..has it ever occurred to these overzealous parents that
one of the reasons the Southborough school system is so coveted ( how many times
do we hear…..”I moved here because of the school system”) is because of the
very people they choose to attack…..our seniors and the people who no longer have
children in the system? For many years, they have agreed to tax raises and they have voted in favor of prop. 2 1/2 overrides to help maintain this towns “premier” school status. And now these parents are so quick to give them the boot……….”if you can’t afford the taxes anymore, than move!” How disgustingly cold, one sided and short sighted.

I sadly admit that I am embarrassed by some of my peers. The behavior that took place at Town Meeting was crass and tasteless…… bullying, almost. Not the
proper venue to whoop it up. This was not a soccer match with “in your face” attitudes of “we will win this”….this was a Town Meeting. I have no problem with people being passionate about their causes but do it with some class. And please don’t display that kind of behavior, try to gift wrap it with the excuse of “being passionate” and then start quoting Eleanor Roosevelt. Quite frankly, if you knew anything at all about her, she would have been appalled.

John Kendall
11 years ago

Thank you for realizing this. Sometimes it seems that I’m the only one who understands that everyone made concessions, while the teachers never really did. And keep in mind that the other unions have been paying more towards health insurance for a few years now, while the teachers have held out.

Southside Gadsden Flyer
11 years ago

Well said, choosing anonymity. I have attended Town Meeting every year since I moved to town, and was extremely surprised and appalled at the yelling into the microphone and the applause/hooting after people spoke. No matter which side of the issue you were on, it certainly was no way to act and very childish. I understand our Moderator had difficulty hearing things, but I’m hoping next year that this type of behavoir will not be tolerated. Let’s just get business done.

Neil Rossen
11 years ago

This home values argument is impossible to quantify. There is a point where the distance from Boston plus excessive property taxes for the relative goodness of the schools just won’t match. Like the Federal Govt. , and all the red states, the accounting has begun. The screws will turn here in due course, as people wake up. The best you can hope for is that we will continue to spend too much on YOUR children until they leave the system and the axe falls. Until then, selfishness may prevail.

Kelly Roney
11 years ago
Reply to  Neil Rossen

Yay Alabama! Go Mississippi!

The red states are worse off than Massachusetts in almost every respect, except for weather now that there’s air conditioning and and except for highways, heavily subsidized by the blue states to the point that every burg of 15,000 people has an Interstate bypass. Well, worse off unless you’re at the very top of the economic heap and determined to profit off the penury of your neighbors.

The red state model could be the doom of America. And yes, I’ve actually lived in one, having grown up in Tennessee.

Mike
11 years ago

Choosing anomity, That is a great analogy coming from a soccer and other sports coach dad I see it every game, every practice it is obnoxious as my son has said. And i t goes right along wiht the pious parents on the sidelines chearing on their own children and not others. In your face mentality. You are right and great post in every paragraph.

Anna
11 years ago

Why is it that some people have decided that it is no longer proper to continue to have similar schools as we have had in the past? Times may be difficult but the attitude seems reactionary. The schools have have sustained cutbacks over the years. The loss of state funds is truly awful. We as a town are not in an easy position, but why the anger towards the parents and children? You had schools with art and gym and all of the usual stuff. Now it seems that some feel that it is no longer OK for a child to have the type of things that all of us received as children.

We apparently are meant to feel bad for carrying on the intergenerational tradition of educating our future workers. I don’t mean to exaggerate too much here- it would be much better if we could all work proactively going forward, but I hear an attitude of “I WANT TO PAY LESS SO THE SCHOOLS ARE GREEDY AND NEED TO BE CUT MORE! I’VE NEVER SEEN ONE TEACHER TEACH ONE CLASS BUT THEY THEY TEACH BAD CURRICULUM POORLY. I KNOW THIS BECAUSE I AM MAD AND FEEL DEEPLY.” I know, I would prefer to pay less too. Remember the working parents fork over the Medicare, Social Security and unemployment dollars, too! It is so sad to see hateful remarks, and some are perceiving selfishness? I am sure even though I have paid a lot of Social Security taxes, I will not see much of that benefit. The math is not working out there. I’m not going to spew vitriol towards our wonderful seniors for that. It’s not their fault. It is just tough.

Those kids are going to need a solid foundation for this crazy world we are giving them. Good luck to all of us. I care about this town and all of its residents with all of their opinions. If we remain constructive with our comments, we can better address the issues we continue to face. Now, let’s get to work on where we can maximize the effect of our tax dollars. Where can we realize additional savings? Are there more opportunities for volunteers, for instance? One of my neighbors has volunteered with photocopying in the schools. Where else can we do that? The Town House seems to have a lot of workers without very many people waiting. Fayville Hall, well we tried didn’t we?

Mike
11 years ago

Anna, Keep in mind we are not talking abou the teahcers and that is where both sides loose. And that is what they want. We are talking about the unioins. Please folks get that through your heads. We like traditiaonl schooling as well. But unions are drainng the system dry of funds all over the country. Keep the teachers, the best ones and most are. And you made a very good point, “The Town House seems to have a lot of workers without very many people waiting. Fayville Hall, well we tried didn’t we?” However I would add the so called Senior Center and the sell the property on Central Street across from the kiddie park (with no shade :>)

choosing anonymity
11 years ago

Anna,

I think you are missing the point of my post abvove. Please re-read it. I point out that I DO want the schools of the past (with art and gym and music and decent sized classrooms) and I don’t want the cuts to hit the kids; I want the teachers to take the cuts in their contracts………….1) just like every other professional involved in the budget (and in the real world, for that matter) and 2) so the cuts don’t have to come from firing teachers or whittling down classroom supplies. No one is angry towards the children and people are only angry at the BEHAVIOR of the the parents (some) at Town Meeting.

You pretty much make a great point yourself ….”times are tough”. That’s it in a nutshell…….SO, how do you justify a teacher raise for the next three years and cuts coming directly from our kids classrooms and supplies? DPW, fire and police seem to get it………why can’t the teacher’s union?

You also ask how we can best maximize our tax dollars and realize additional savings….”perhaps with more parent volunteers in the schools” is your answer……………really? You mean you want to raise my taxes for teacher raises AND have me volunteer even more? How about maximizing our tax dollars by NOT having to fund another teacher union raise?

People are just looking for fairness during these tough times. No one is blaming
anyone………just asking everyone to step up to the plate and put a lid on
raises for awhile…. until this economic tsunami finishes slows down.

Anna
11 years ago

@choosing anonymity- Sorry if it seemed like I was missing the point; I was not directly responding to your post, more so @Neil Rossen. Actually I liked your post because I do understand your viewpoint and share some of the same questions. I did support passage of the school budget and feel that we are all in this together. “Fairness” is not going to be easy to define. There is so much passion on both sides so I was making a attempt to flush out ideas on what we can realistically do about our budget situation looking forward, but without cutting our school services any more.

@Mike- sell Fayville Hall (across from the kiddie park) is one that I threw out there! Yes! There are more- I would like to flush out ideas and listen to the suggestions of others because I feel there are others who are better informed about this than I. What future cuts are realistic and least painful?

I am also one who is extremely curious about the teacher contracts. @choosing anonymity- I don’t necessarily justify the teacher raises but what can be done about that process? Voting down the school budget wasn’t the solution in my opinion, but what is? In that sense I agreed with Advisory/Selectmen about the teachers contract, just not the approach of cutting the budget. The Southborough teachers union is comprised of our local teachers. How do we balance our respect for what they do and current good relationship with the need to hold the line on expenses? This week’s vote on the school budget does nothing to improve the transparency in the teacher contract negotiations, but here we are now locked into another contract. I really don’t know if taking a hard line with them would have got us any further with the contract. Lighting a few torches and storming into the session was really tempting however! How much was communicated with them in negotiations about our tenuous budget situation? Is there any way as a community to know we did the best that we could? Leaving money on the table in terms of paying them more than we should is foolish. So is an antagonistic relationship. Do we have the opportunity to change the process or not for next time?

This year’s town meeting is over. Next year will bring the same challenges. I am just making a simple plea for everyone to be constructive with their comments. I would like to personally feel that the town has brainstormed ideas fully before next year’s town meeting.

In the meantime, I will go and admonish the rest of the people that I know who cheered at town meeting. In speaking with a few, they did not mean to upset anyone but instead “thought that the speeches were great.” They got carried away. Let’s all try to not get too carried away and come together as best as we can as a community. I hope everyone has a lovely weekend :)

Neil Rossen
11 years ago

My take is that the School Committee is completely committed to the Teachers and their perception of what the parents want. So they agree to the teachers demands. The way to change this is to vote them out and get new blood on the committee with a charter to reduce expenses. Right now, thwe Committee act as spokesmen for the union. Or, if we can, just abrogate the contract and take the legal consequenes. Sooner or later, a la Wisconsin, this will happen.

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