Monday, April 19, 2010

Guerin opposes an override

Guest editorial by Bob Guerin, candidate for school committee

It’s almost Election Day and it’s still a little unclear to me which candidates are supporters of Proposition 2½ overrides as a budgeting tool. It will be interesting to see if anyone will stand up before May 6th and acknowledge that they’re proponents of overrides and then make their case.

Proposition 2½ does not prohibit the raising of property taxes. It simply requires the consent of voters before doing so.

Proposition 2½ limits the increase in the maximum tax take for a community to 2.5 percent plus new growth. But communities can vote themselves tax increases anytime they choose. The increase can be permanent or temporary, to pay for a one-time expense such as the construction of a new school or town office building.

It should be difficult, not easy, to raise taxes. Proposition 2½ forces supporters of a tax increase to justify their position. They must compile evidence that convinces a majority of their fellow citizens their stance is the correct one. It is the essence of democracy.

Proposition 2½’s critics argue the measure is divisive. It pits one segment of a community against another. But debate and division are part of democracy. There’s nothing democratic about unanimity. Such sentiments are more characteristic of dictatorships, where few dare question authority.

I am opposed to any override because I do not believe town leaders and town employees have done enough to control spending. I still believe that the Board of Selectmen, School Committee and Finance Committee have work to do and I am sure that an override now will eliminate any desire (as well as the need) for real reform.

Bob Guerin
Sandwich, MA

9 comments:

  1. Go at least one step further Bob, define what you mean by reform.

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  2. Good evening Mr. Guerin. With out question your honest evaluation in regards to the override is well taken. Having watched the debate night, it became clear that some were wavering on that subject matter. It also became clear to me that some were running with an adgenda. How can you get a cohesive board when some come to enforce a personal vendetta that does not serve the community or the town well.

    I know that you have a clear understanding of what the task is all about in operating the School Committee You have the honesty to expound upon it in a concise and practical manner.

    Therefore with out any reservation I find myself endorsing you as representing what the town of Sandwich needs going forward on the School Committee.

    Mrs. Barton has also proven to be an person of high character and one whom also has the children of our town best interest in place.

    It is my wish that the good folks of Sandwich vote to place both of you on the School Committee as one whom can compliment each other in the matters of grave concern for our present school system. The town of Sandwich needs the inner strenght you both bring to the table that has no hidden adgend, but common sense and character.

    Carl Johansen

    A concerned citizen in the wonderful town of Sandwich

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  3. Here’s a few steps further(5 to be exact) where the School Committee, Administration, staff and parents could begin their research and planning process and consider implementing real reform without resorting to an override:

    1. Transportation – it’s been estimated by members of the bus service company that our bus routes could be revised to obtain efficiencies and eliminate runs. At one point the bus company suggested 3 to 4 runs could be eliminated saving the District as much as $75,000 a year perhaps more. This is an idea worth exploring.
    2. Community School – its estimated that the Community School requires subsidies of up to $120,000 a year (perhaps more) from the School Operating budget to run. Its time to finish the audit, report results publicly and then partner with the Selectmen and Town Manager and allow the Community School to operate on its own with its own budget and finances and allow school officials to focus their time, energy and resources to education related activities.
    3. Increase web based learning opportunities – The virtual classroom continues to allow students to access curriculum and educational programs via the internet. This is a high tech solution that adds quality educational programs in a cost effective package. With shrinking enrollments and limited and shrinking resources for staffing, this program should be expanded.
    4. Consolidate select services – bill paying and purchasing, building and grounds maintenance and many other important non classroom functions happen in both Town offices and School offices. Its time to partner with the Selectmen and Town Manager and explore the consolidation of select services to pursue efficiencies and scalability wherever appropriate and allow school officials to focus their time, energy and resources to education related activities.
    5. Consolidate fields and recreation – The town’s recreation fields located at our schools are not well maintained and scheduling events and activities is burdensome. Its time to partner with the Selectmen and Town Manager and explore the consolidation of fields and recreation related activities under the jurisdiction of the Recreation Department to pursue efficiencies and scalability wherever appropriate and allow school officials to focus their time, energy and resources to education related activities.

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  4. Now this is a blog worth reading.

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  5. Hold on a minute, Anonymous. "Now this is a blog worth reading?" Now? Only now? What about such classics as You're (Urine) Trouble and May I Look Up Your Dress?

    Hmmmm... (Political wonk...)

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  6. Don't worry about being for or against an override. This town is going to make SOOOO much money renting cottages at Oak Crest Cove it will be flush. The success of this agreement depends upon a minimum wage employee. Is this the best this town has? Well...............yeah , I guess it is.

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  7. Negative, negative, negative. Have you done anything to help? Have you said your two cents to the Selectmen? probably not.

    You fail to see how well a job the town has done in handling their budgets.

    Next time you see Bud Dunham, thank him for what he has done for all of us and all the employees of the town.

    If I were Catholic, I would nominate him for Sainthood. The miracle is that he kept a three year override going for six. That's what I call the best that Sandwich can do.

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  8. I just read the comment from anonymous sent on April 19th at 8:63 PM with five steps that could be taken.

    I am interested in government, but do you have insider information. Is the school committee less than fully transparent.

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  9. What have I done to help? I told the engineer at the Town Hall renovation project where to put the vault to lock up the records when the employees from the Annex get moved over.

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