The following was submitted by a reader in attendance at the second budget meeting/vote on July 29th. On behalf of our readers eager for news and perspectives, “Timbered Classrooms” thanks the contributor.
“At Tuesday’s budget meeting, several educators spoke out criticizing those in attendance that were in favor of reducing the budget. Many accusations were made stating that “you people” are not looking out for the education of the kids and that kids will lose programs should this budget be reduced. It is safe to say that everyone in attendance is pro education and wants only the best for the kids. People have finally just had enough of this RSU configuration, where money is being spent in ways that do not benefit the education of our kids. Do you honestly think that paying Mr. Malone, an inexperienced superintendent, $107,00 plus per year is providing our children with a better education!!?? Or that his office, the central office, which has a full time business manager to do his job and two secretaries besides is providing our children with a better education!!?? Or that it is necessary for this RSU to pay for four guidance counselors and four principals in a district with about 700 students!!?? A budget of almost 10 million dollars is bizarre for a school district with approx. 700 students! Our kids will benefit from quality teachers in the classrooms who are present in the classroom every day, concentrate on teaching, forget about “the standards” (oh, that is for another time!), and truly care about kids! Yes, the RSU spent $200,000 on substitute teachers last year! Another way to reduce the budget! Allow teachers to stay in their classrooms rather than send them to conferences/workshops every other day that cost thousands of dollars each year! There are ways that this budget can be reduced without hurting the education of our kids – the board is just not willing to take action and reduce administrative costs! Of course, we (the people) have no control or say over how Mr. Malone and the board reduce the costs. They know what we want – they know it is not the intent to cut teachers and support staff, but will they respect what the people are asking for? Stop using scare tactics and make some reductions that will not reduce the educational benefits of our kids! As we found out on Tuesday night, people are ready to make their votes count and stand up for what is right. Taxpayers, citizens, parents, students have been wronged by these outrageous administrative costs and others. When people in these communities are living week to week, many are out of work, many are retired and living on fixed incomes, they cannot justify their tax dollars paying for Mr. Malone’s inflated salary! People would honestly be more supportive of this budget if they could see that it was benefiting the education of the students, but they do not see that or trust that. Trust is a big word in this RSU right now. No one trusts Mr Malone and the board and for good reason. Many, many people have attended board meetings, met with Mr. Malone and principals, written letters, and discussed with board members their concerns over the past year or two. They have not been listened to and have been “dismissed” in many ways and have absolutely no trust in this administration. The lack of trust is also the main reason for the motions made for written ballot. This was proven that people needed to feel they could vote privately as they did not feel safe voting the way they truly wanted to if voting by a show of hands. If administration had been listening and respected the people’s concerns, we may not have gotten to this point of frustration that created Tuesday night’s budget cuts. We are a community that rallied together and stayed to the end, making our votes count and I, for one, am proud of the citizens in the RSU that attended and helped to make a difference! As citizens from the Town of Sherman communicated and met prior to this meeting, we had a plan of action, but incredibly did not have to use our plan as it was taken care of by the voters and by prayer. Let’s continue to rally together and vote YES on Thursday, August 7 in your respective town offices for this reduced budget! There will be great support from people who are against this reduction so every vote will count as we found out on Tuesday! In closing, thank you to Debbie O’Roak and Linda Smith from the Sherman Town Office for their leadership and dedication and to David Robinson and others for speaking out and making the motions to make a difference! ”