At the end of the day: putting the question to voters costs the Town of Belmont nothing. Not giving the voters a choice to throw a lifeline to the Town, on the other hand, has very high costs associated with it.
With per pupil spending in Belmont already about $3,000 per student/per year below the State average per district ($12,700 in Belmont vs. $15,900 avg.), our public schools entered the pandemic stretched to the breaking point. Now we risk plunging into a full-blown fiscal crisis with layoffs of instructional staff, increased class sizes and cuts to supplies.
We’re back at Belmont Town meeting and waiting to get going here. This should be an abbreviated meeting, with just three articles to consider: the vote on the Community Preservation Act (Article 21) that the Town approved in November. The…
Nobody was smiling at last night’s Warrant Committee meeting, least so the scores of concerned parents worried about cuts to music, art and foreign language instruction, who were told by Board of Selectmen Chair (and candidate) Ralph Jones that the School Administration and School Committee were lying to them, hiding money, and favoring grown ups (i.e school employees) over kids. None of it is true… Read on for more on last night’s meeting.
A proposed budget using the Warrant Committee’s “Available Funds” for the school proposes eliminating five full time teaching positions, art and music instruction at the elementary school level, language instruction at the middle school level and steep cuts to support services district wide. Time to get angry, people!
Just a heads up, y’all, that there are a slew of important budget meetings looming, starting this Tuesday evening, January 11, when School Superintendent, Dr. Entwistle will present the proposed FY 2012 budget to the School Committee. This meeting is in the Community Room at Chenery Middle School and will be the public’s first look at the budget for next year. From what I’ve heard, this is a “make the best of a bad situation” budget with some sobering numbers. We’ll need your help and involvement to win the funding our teachers and administrators need to preserve critical programming. Here are some dates to put on your calendar.
Two events to put on your calendar: an October 13 chat with Massachusetts House Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Murphy on the state of the State’s budget. Then set aside the evening of October 27 for an important Community Dialog on the future direction of the public schools.
The Belmont Citizen Herald is reporting that Belmont’s legal counsel has issued a response to the Middlesex District Attorney that claims town officials who met behind closed doors to formulate plans to discuss the consolidation of School and Town services were not doing so in violation of the State’s Open Meeting Laws.
The Middlesex District Attorney’s Office is inquiring into the doings of an informal, private gathering of some of the Town’s top elected officials with questions about whether the group ran afoul of the State’s Open Meeting Law, according to the Belmont Citizen Herald.
Belmont’s latest consolidation plan is the product of an informal and closed door group of the Town’s senior elected officials that some have dubbed the “Officers’ Group.” Is Belmont closing the doors on Open Government?