We still have the two financial articles that will be presented monday:
Article 7, to see if Town Meeting will vote to “advise the Board of Selectmen, School Committee and Finance Committee to agree on a road map by Feb. 1, 2014” to pass a debt exclusion of between $1 million and $1.5 million to modernize the town and schools’ technology and Internet access, was submitted by Kellie Liakas, a lifelong resident with three children, 6, 8 and 9, in the Dracut schools.
Article 6, “to see if the town will vote to appropriate $100,000 from free cash for the purpose of allowing the Dracut Public Schools to immediately purchase “textbooks, paper and instruction supplies for classrooms that currently lack these necessary items,” was submitted by resident Laurie Cheetham.
The Sun this morning says “Cheetham and Liakas said the school-funding related articles were co-authored by a newly formed group of concerned Dracut public-school parents who became acquainted on Facebook in the days after a proposed $2.9 million override of Proposition 2 1/2 was defeated at the polls in the Sept. 9 special election.”
“Once the override didn’t go through, a few of us parents realized, that nothing was being done (to increase school funding) and that our hands were tied, so we got together and decided we wanted to do something at Town Meeting,” Liakas said last month.
Article 6 is dangerous, calling for spending out of free cash to pay for operational expenses. The town management is already looking for additional funds for the schools, so this one is redundant. It may just be ruled out of order anyways.
Article 7 is harmless, as it is advisory. It will give a sense of the attending town meeting participants, but is not binding. Some question why you would propose a debt exclusion for something without knowing what it would cost.
I believe article 8 has already been withdrawn by its author, as it is definitely beyond the ability of the town meeting to interfere with current contracts.
I don’t fault town residents for proposing something after the last ballot election, but these feel like they were knee-jerk proposals by people frustrated with the loss.
The town leaders see the budget problems in the school district, and are working towards resolving them.
There are redundancies that can be dealt with, someone else told me yesterday that there are “efficiencies and consolidations” we can look at on the spending side.
Mr Wilkie is pushing for more revenue, and I am all for that.. as long as it is not coming from the same set of residents who currently fund everything. New revenue streams must be developed, leveraged off of the assets that the town now controls.
We have parks, busses, buildings (used and unused), streets, properties, a web presense, and services that all have possibilities with regard to revenue streams that should be reviewed.
The Tri-Board meetings should not just be another sit-around the campfire chat session. The organization of the committee should be defined now, what its role is, what responsibilities are being transferred to that board from the other town boards, when it will meet, and how it will function.
The mission should be determined now, but not focussed just on today but on its long term position in the town.
I was still down sick this week (the first cold of the season is going around), so was glad that I missed the meeting after reading about it in the paper.. as all it sounded like was a bunch of people apologizing for their behavior during the last election.
Were there action items that will be followed through to prepare for the next meeting? What was the outcome here?