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Thread: Vote yes on article 6 for true transparency in our budget

  1. #1
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    Default Vote yes on article 6 for true transparency in our budget

    Article 6 is a first step towards opening and understanding our 30 million dollar budget once and for all.

    Here are a few examples of why this is necessary:

    1. The line-item detail of our budget, which used to be 9 pages, is now up to about 30, thanks to the ongoing pestering of some folks in town asking for more detail. However, this still pales in comparison to how some of our peer towns do it – Weston (133 pages), Lexington & Acton (over 300 pages each), Needham (559 pages). In spite of differences in sizes of the towns and Jeff’s rationale that these other towns take up entire pages with graphics and redundant reporting, I can assure you that Needham, for example does not have 500 pages of photos or artwork and that even factoring in their larger school district, indeed they provide substantially more detail, even down to things like bottled water, than Wayland does.

    2. The School Committee, which votes on this $30,000,000 budget each year does so with exactly the same few pages of breakdown that the public gets. Other than any questions the SC asks the administration seeking more information – questions which presumably must asked in open session in order to not violate the Open Meeting Law, so as anyone observing these open sessions can tell you, there have been precious few such questions – the School Committee has no more information than those few pages, and bases their usually unanimous decision on the limited information provided to them by the administration.

    3. This same administration that draws up the budget, left their own department intact (which sounds to me like a conflict of interest), save for a $22,000 cut to an administrative position, while cutting $1,000,000 in teachers and aides. This completely goes against their own mission, which states that any cuts to be made should be made as far away from the students as possible. However, as SC members Barb and Deb put it at in January when they were justifying why they did not ask for more cuts to administration, they said they didn’t feel they understood what the implications would be in making such cuts, so they approved it as it was handed to them by Burton, and instead went for the $1,000,000 cuts in teachers, where presumably they DO understand the ramifications, at least to the extent that they prefer it over risking making cuts in administration. It is extraordinary to me that the people on this committee who, year after year approve the budget and have supported multiple overrides have never taken a close enough look at our Central Office administrative costs to determine if it could be streamlined, particularly when they opt instead to cut programs, increase fees, close a school and cut teachers.

    4. Examples have come up over the last few years of controversial expenditures, i.e. ski lift tickets, bathing suits, a town-provided car and gas card, to name a few, that have people wondering why at times like this, we’re:
    • closing a school
    • using 10 buses to bus 170± kids to Loker
    • hiring a new BA at same $129,000 salary as departing 15-year veteran in that position
    • laying off 7 teachers
    • keeping the administration essentially intact where 7 administrative staff serve 3 administrators.

    It is very troubling to think that the few examples of controversial expenditures that have risen to the surface may well be the tip of the iceberg. The only way we'll know is to crack open the books and have a take a close examination.

    It is time.
    Vote Yes on Article 6.

    And when SOS stares you down tonight, you just stare right back at them with the knowledge that it is YOU who is pro-school.
    Don't let them hijack the schools the way Bush hijacked the flag.
    It is not only possible, but it is rational and responsible to be both a strong proponent and supporter of the schools, while being fiscally responsible enough to make sure that we have appropriate priorities in how we spend our budget.

    Click here to see Article 6
    John Flaherty

    Any views expressed are NOT mine alone.
    Wayland Transparency - Facts Without Spin
    http://www.waylandtransparency.com/

  2. #2
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    Nov 2005
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    Default I support Article 6

    I join John in supporting Article 6.

    An outside audit of our budget and processes may find cost savings, and if so that would obviously be valuable. If it doesn't, that's valuable, too, because it would give us more confidence in the way things are being done now. It's not a large price to pay to gain with either outcome.

    I share your desire for as much information as is reasonable and feasible to provide. For those of us who like to do our own internal audit, that's the only way we can say much that's useful.

    I am not crazy about the way you presented this argument though. For example, I certainly don't expect anyone to stare me down as I vote YES. I am wondering who this "SOS" is. I have a recent voter list, and couldn't find anyone with that name on it (or anyone with those initials).

  3. #3
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    Thumbs up Privacy is Priceless

    Quote Originally Posted by John Flaherty View Post
    And when SOS stares you down tonight, you just stare right back at them with the knowledge that it is YOU who is pro-school.
    If we had electronic keypad voting then all 'they' would be staring at is their keypad.

    Article 22 Monday night... YES !!!!! Couldn't resist.

  4. #4
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Reichelt View Post
    I am wondering who this "SOS" is. I have a recent voter list, and couldn't find anyone with that name on it (or anyone with those initials).
    You're not looking it up the right way. Look up last name Services, first name Save, middle name Our
    They may also have a website but it escapes me at the moment.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlanJReiss View Post
    You're not looking it up the right way. Look up last name Services, first name Save, middle name Our
    They may also have a website but it escapes me at the moment.
    Alan, John, I just honestly don't know who you mean by "SOS". Is SOS the few individuals who chair the group? Or is it everyone who ever voted with them on an issue? Is it everyone who supported the HS Project? Anyone who ever made a phone call for an override or held a sign, regardless of who they voted for on Tuesday? Am I SOS? If so, do I stop being SOS if I vote Yes on 6? Does SOS have a position on Article 6?

    What are "divisiveness" and "intimidation" and who is promoting them?

  6. #6
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Reichelt View Post
    Alan, John, I just honestly don't know who you mean by "SOS". Is SOS the few individuals who chair the group? Or is it everyone who ever voted with them on an issue? Is it everyone who supported the HS Project? Anyone who ever made a phone call for an override or held a sign, regardless of who they voted for on Tuesday? Am I SOS? If so, do I stop being SOS if I vote Yes on 6? Does SOS have a position on Article 6?

    What are "divisiveness" and "intimidation" and who is promoting them?
    I'd like to answer this in a more global fashion.
    Intimidation to gain power or control is a human affliction. Its not owned by any one group or town... its throughout the world and throughout history.
    Divisiveness is clearly in the eye of the beholder. Yes/NO single overrides to me are divisive because they create 'pork barrel' and force people to spend on what they don't want to get what they do want. Menu overrides may be divisive to others because they seem to create competition for resources... 'pit one department against another' . Now I think that the latter is good because it causes people to sharpen their pencils. Competition is another word for that and its seem hard to argue against the American apple pie standard of competition.

    The founders of SOS are SOS. People who believe in whatever issue of the day for SOS are SOS for that day. In fact, I've found myself agreeing with SOS a few times like on not repealing the state tax and even got a sign from SOS for my front yard. Does that make me SOS? Don't think so.

    But what I think John is referring to is what I have also been saying. There is peer pressure in society and that peer pressure uses different degrees of coercion. Some aggressive and some passive aggressive.

    I have been on town meeting floor and have been stared at to change my vote.
    I have voted against my friends and have felt bad about out and maybe they did too.
    This is why I believe privacy in voting are like 'two peas in a pod'... (Forrest Gump).

    There is no doubt that one group or N-groups will congregate tonight in some loosely connected bond and they will understand what the common theme is about a given article.
    There is always the hope that some great speech or some great idea will break through that but its rare.

    SOS has made itself highly visible in Wayland and has had an enormous affect on these dynamics so (I guess unfortunately for them) they get to be a poster child for the social intimidation phenomenon that John F is illuding to.

    Have I answered your question?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlanJReiss View Post
    The founders of SOS are SOS. People who believe in whatever issue of the day for SOS are SOS for that day. In fact, I've found myself agreeing with SOS a few times like on not repealing the state tax and even got a sign from SOS for my front yard. Does that make me SOS? Don't think so.
    ...
    Have I answered your question?
    Sorry, but no, you haven't. Let me see if I can work through it with you.

    "The founders of SOS are SOS." That's clear. That would be four ladies, generally on the smallish side, who have a website and send out a newsletter and lobby in favor of town services that they value. (So they might be described as a group of four individuals who advocate in a democracy exercising free speech for causes they believe in.)

    Then you add "People who believe in whatever issue of the day for SOS are SOS for that day." Now it starts getting confusing. So anytime you agree with the position of those four, you are SOS, too?

    BUT wait, it gets a little more confusing, because then you add, "In fact, I've found myself agreeing with SOS a few times like on not repealing the state tax and even got a sign from SOS for my front yard." OK, now it gets interesting. So using your criteria above ("People who believe in whatever issue of the day for SOS are SOS for that day"), YOU, Alan have been SOS, too!

    So then you totally lose me when you say, "Does that make me SOS? Don't think so."

    It almost sounds like what you're really saying is that anytime people disagree with YOU, they are "SOS" and they are intimidating others with their peer pressure. But when they agree with you, they are not SOS, and instead they are part of a poor marginalized minority that is entitled to complain about how they have been coerced or intimidated or oppressed.

    I know that isn't what you meant, but I'm having trouble making any sense of it.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Reichelt View Post
    Sorry, but no, you haven't. Let me see if I can work through it with you.

    "The founders of SOS are SOS." That's clear. That would be four ladies, generally on the smallish side, who have a website and send out a newsletter and lobby in favor of town services that they value. (So they might be described as a group of four individuals who advocate in a democracy exercising free speech for causes they believe in.)

    Then you add "People who believe in whatever issue of the day for SOS are SOS for that day." Now it starts getting confusing. So anytime you agree with the position of those four, you are SOS, too?

    BUT wait, it gets a little more confusing, because then you add, "In fact, I've found myself agreeing with SOS a few times like on not repealing the state tax and even got a sign from SOS for my front yard." OK, now it gets interesting. So using your criteria above ("People who believe in whatever issue of the day for SOS are SOS for that day"), YOU, Alan have been SOS, too!

    So then you totally lose me when you say, "Does that make me SOS? Don't think so."

    It almost sounds like what you're really saying is that anytime people disagree with YOU, they are "SOS" and they are intimidating others with their peer pressure. But when they agree with you, they are not SOS, and instead they are part of a poor marginalized minority that is entitled to complain about how they have been coerced or intimidated or oppressed.

    I know that isn't what you meant, but I'm having trouble making any sense of it.
    I guess this is the problem with trying to describe things in a philosophical way.
    Forget all the above. And no... if you don't agree with me that doesn't make you SOS.

    Maybe I can't describe this in writing without getting very specific and that is what I didn't want to do.

    But I tried.

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