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Letter: Do your homework

An editorial is not an article. But does this entitle The Recorder editors to get their facts wrong when commenting on the recent staff cuts at the Gill-Montague Regional School District?

A recent editorial implies that a lack of local funding was the main reason the district was declared “underperforming” a few years ago and is now the cause of the FY ’15 cutbacks. Neither assertion is true. The Level 4 “underperforming” designation was primarily the product of governance issues, particularly the perceived conflicts on the Gill-Montague School Committee. To the degree that funding was an issue, the member towns, whose education assessments had increased more than other local expenditures, were hardly the problem.

The FY ’15 school district budget and local assessment that The Recorder complains about are consistent with the long term plan that ended state fiscal control. That plan was supported by the state, as well as the school district and its member towns. It is in fact the state that has not met the required funding targets. Apparently that does not warrant an editorial.

Similarly, The Recorder also ignores completely the causes of this year’s funding gap. These include a negotiated wage and benefit increase that was more than double projected revenues; flat state Chapter 70 aid yet again; and very large School Choice and charter school losses.

No one is happy with the staff cutbacks but the causes must be addressed. Understanding the causes requires doing a little homework.

JEFF SINGLETON

town representative to School District Collective Bargaining

Montague

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