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    Default John's Open Letter to the School Committee

    Below is an open letter to the School Committee, with what I think are some critcal points and some critical acition items they need to consider prior to voting on the administration's budget draft.

    Open Letter to our School Committee:

    You have before you a $30 million dollar draft budget. The room for error in a budget of this size is enormous and the amount of open vetting it has received prior to arriving on your desk is almost nil.

    With that as a background, coupled with the fact that there is almost no breakdown and the “detailed” version is just 10 pages long – roughly $3,000,000 per page – you have a heavy responsibility before you. This is always the case this time of year, but this time, considering the $90 million dollar high school project and the imploded economy, the effort you put into scrutinizing this budget will have a far reaching impact on every Wayland resident, in particular, the students.

    I believe that it is your duty as elected officials to ask probing questions and demand detailed breakdowns of the very general and scant information you have in the budget before you. To base a decision on the 10 pages you have been presented would be seriously negligent. In this technological day and age, you should have access to a detailed breakdown of each of the general items. It will take some time and you may need to lose some sleep this week, but this is precisely what you have been elected to do. Indeed, if you don’t put in extra long hours scrutinizing every bit of detail that you can on this budget and demanding far more detailed breakdowns to gain a comprehensive understanding of what you are agreeing to, you will be doing a disservice to your friends and neighbors and fellow residents of Wayland - most significantly, to our children.

    How does the Administration go unscathed time and time again while cuts that significantly affect our children make their way into the budget? While it may be easier to approve generalized cuts that don't have a face and name associated with them than to lay off a particular employee in the Administration, you as Wayland parents need to have the courage to do this and need to recognize the inherent bias and conflict of interest that comes with a budget that was drafted by the Administration itself. Indeed, you can second guess the administration. In fact, you must.

    Important points to consider:


    • FedEx laid off 1800 managers and administrators today (and presumably will still find a way to deliver packages tomorrow)

    • Wayland has more administrators per student than ANY of our peer towns (see chart)

    • This budget has 7 teachers slated for lay-offs, but no administrators

    • This budget has $1,000,000 of cuts that are close to the students, and only $20,000 that are not

    • Dr. Burton has 3 secretaries

    • Brad Crozier and Joy Buhler each have their own secretaries

    I have removed the line about Joy's secretary $112,000 for the time being, awaiting clarification. There is some ambiguity in the budget books about whether her assistant(s) are 1, 2 or 3 people, and whether this is 1,2 or 3 salaries

    • The combined salaries of our 3 top administrators amounts to nearly a half million dollars

    • Since FY08 our top 6 administrators (all at the Central Office) have enjoyed annual raises which have pushed their salaries up over 8% of what they were that year, at an annual cost to taxpayers that would easily cover a teacher's annual salary.

    • In that same time period, 3,499,303 unemployment claims have been filed in Massachusetts, with new ones still coming every week.

    ______________________________

    You have a duty to ask for and consider a detailed breakdown of the items on the draft budget you've been given. If it is not your job to question the Administration, otherwise, why even have a School Committee?

    On behalf of all Wayland residents with school age children, thank you.

    John Flaherty
    Last edited by John Flaherty; 01-11-2010 at 05:31 PM.

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