Time for hearings is over

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Teacher Ken Mullen was quoted in the Recorder saying of the Pioneer Valley Regional School Committee dysfunction, “We need to start exchanging ideas, making connections, coming up with solutions, instead of pointing out problems.”

I agree. The School Committee needs to do this. We need to stop taking up valuable meeting time with continued public comment. We need to deliberate, as a body, without having ideas opposed by the audience at every turn. We will never do our best four hours into a meeting. Let the committee meet. It is the inaction that comes of heeding every of the public’s admonition not to cut, not to RIF, not to change that got us here.

When we heed the public, we generate unrealistic paper budgets. We under-budget expenses and we make rosy revenue assumptions. In doing so, we fail our mission. The time for hearings is over.

My second point is, I think it better that we pick our own poison. From that view I find the message from Chairman Pat Shearer to the committee, and many who have written to us, troubling: “We will only do what the state agencies force the district to do to climb out of the financial hole we are in.”

Gads! I bet she meant to assure folk that we are not going to go overboard, we aren’t going to overreact. It sounds too much like what got us here: blind faith, hopeful optimism, denial. We 12 are in this together. Let’s work through it, compromise and get the job done of making and ranking cuts. From there we can seek more funds, track the next year and free up funds we prudently reserved for unemployment, health insurance, special needs as we prove we have a doable budget. We can’t risk more losses. Let’s be the stewards we were elected to be.

David Young

Pioneer School Committee Member, Warwick