Before you walk into your town hall today and slam our regional school budget — for the fourth time this year, no less — please do a cost-benefit analysis. What exactly is to be gained and what is the price to be paid in sticking it to the much despised Region 1 Board of Education and its top administrators?
From what I can tell, this habitual rejection of the budget is all about making people feel good about themselves: “We told them off. We showed those bastards how we feel!” Set aside your feelings for the moment and ask yourself what a fourth rejection accomplishes. Housatonic parent Karen Dignacco has done that much better than I could in the post previous post.
Sure, a no vote means we proceed on last year’s spending plan, so it’s not as if the region will be crippled by spending cuts. But the ongoing lack of a budget casts a pall over the high school. As Principal Matt Harnett told Dignacco, the school will be ready to open late next month as scheduled, but “Unfortunately moving anything forward, trying new strategies, implementing new plans and initiatives is difficult if not impossible – so we sort of maintain and wait for the dust to settle and see where we go from there.”
Furthermore, if memory serves, each referendum costs about $8,000. Is this really a good use of taxpayers funds?
So let’s spend another several thousand dollars on a fifth referendum so that we can send the board the same churlish message: “Listen to us, be respectful to us!”
The question is: once the board has been replaced and the top administration fired (as is likely in a few months), what will the shrillest voices do with all that spare time?
Will they harness their considerable energy to actually make Region 1 a better school district? Focus on educational issues rather than sexy distractions like administrator contracts and board personalities? One can only hope.
Region 1 has become a laughing stock. The clueless BOE stumbles along as its enemies continue to stalk it, waiting for the next opportunity to stick a fork in it. The situation is one giant clusterfuck. Please don’t make it even worse by forcing yet another stupid referendum.
P.S. Polls are open today from noon to 8 p.m. in the town halls that comprise the district.