School committee must cut more expenses

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To the Editor and citizens of SAD 4/RSU 80;

On Tuesday night (July 18), the SAD 4 budget committee met and applied the additional state money in excess of $200,000 as revenue to the 2018 fiscal year budget. That will help to lower town assessments. At the beginning of the meeting, the committee skipped the time for audience input, but later asked if there were questions, which it tried to answer. However, at no time did the committee solicit recommendations for further cutting of expenses. At a later point, though, one of the members said there being no suggestions for cuts, it was time to make a decision.

I was puzzled by the summary, since the committee had never asked the citizens for suggestions! At a previous meeting, I had given the committee members a letter detailing over $100,000 of expenditures that could easily be cut and that would not affect student programming in any way. It was totally ignored. The moral of the story is clear. Once again this sub-committee steadfastly refuses to cut expenses as a way to bring the assessments under control.

People must get a grip on the fact that budget reduction must include cutting expenses. Otherwise, these dubious pads to the budget get rolled forward each year as part of the base budget, used as a way to add extra financial flexibility to the committee. The worst case scenarios projected rarely happen, and if they do, there are mechanisms to handle them. The strategy is simple, totally ignored by the subcommittee.

This budget will be recommended to the whole school committee on Tuesday, Aug. 8. I fully expect it will be put to the public with no further reductions in expenditures. It is not acceptable. The district budget meeting and referendum validation vote in your individual towns will follow closely thereafter. Get out and vote “no” on this budget at all levels. Only your voices and votes will eventually force this committee to wake up. The school committee must cut more expenses!

Ann B. Bridge

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