Letter: Budget cuts must look forwardAfter study of Ellsworth Supt. Barry McCain’s presentation Monday, we pose following questions before the School Board’s final action April 6
By: Nicolas Evan, Ellsworth,
To the Editor:
After study of Ellsworth Supt. Barry McCain’s presentation Monday, we pose following questions before the School Board’s final action April 6:
1. In view of the uncertain local, state and federal finances, which the school district heavily depends, do the proposed budget adjustments — which do not include salary and fringe benefit freeze — take into account that in the 2010-11 fiscal year, there will be another round of salary and benefits that will have been contractually obligated to be covered?
2. When the board takes up the 2010-11 budget, will member be anticipating a property tax referendum to meet this “unplanned” need.
3. Do the “budget adjustments” adequately take into consideration that Governor Doyle’s current budget proposal:
a. May repeal the QEO, which will have a significant impact on local school districts negotiations, although it will have no impact on state finances;
b. May change school districts’ contract lengths from two to either a three- or four-year period, which would put local school districts into a position of “blind negotiations” for the third and fourth years of a contract, as they would not know what the state aid would be in the state’s biennial budget;
c. May eliminate local economic conditions from consideration by an arbitrator, as is currently required. This would place local school boards at a considerable disadvantage at the negotiating table and would most likely result in compensation packages that were clearly out of line with the financial realities of local property taxpayers?
4. Finally, would board members rather plan for the worst and be asked why they did so, when it didn’t happen, or would they rather plan for the best and be asked why they did so, when it didn’t happen?
The latter results in management by crisis which seems to be common in a number of sectors in our society in recent years. Planning for the long term, rather than the short term, significantly reduces such critical and stressful situations for all concerned.
Bernard & Selba Schoeder
Leland & Joanne Skog