Submitted by Benjamin W. Tartaglia, Sr. town meeting member, precinct 6, Shrewsbury
If you watched the Shrewsbury public hearing on the school administration’s proposed $52,000,000 budget for FY2014, you might have noticed two characteristics of the hearing. First, the meeting was sparsely attended compared to previous years. The poor attendance may indicate taxpayers, (including parents of school children), are weary of the School Administration’s annual appeal for unrealistic and unsustainable funding. The second was, only one point of view was voiced, namely, to support the proposed budget, even if it meant attempting a prop 2-1/2 override. Proposals allowing the school administration to live within its means were noticeable by their absence.
The proposed 2014 Shrewsbury school budget has a $4,000,000 deficit. Planned increases in salaries amount to about $3,000,000. In FY2013, teachers’ raises included increases of 4 percent, 7 percent and even 12 percent.
These increases are part of the contract between the Teachers’ Union and the school administration as approved by the school committee. The administration is negotiating a new Teachers’ Union contract. Hopefully, the new contract will reflect realistic and sustainable personnel costs. A contract that ignores financial realities will exacerbate the situation. An unsustainable contract will cause more
reductions in staff, lead to even larger class sizes and a less effective education for the children.
Those who have criticized the selectmen through letter-writing campaigns may want to write to the school committee and the administration demanding out-of- the-box solutions to our educational funding challenge. It is their responsibility.