Opinion

Personal attacks do nothing to resolve school budget issues

To the editor:

The Madawaska School Department, the Madawaska Education Association, the school administrators, and Merilda Plourde should start following the Rule of Holes.  Personal attacks only dig you in deeper.  Ignoring the will of the voters will only dig you in deeper.  Facts, honest dialogue, and tempered debate dig you out.

Anyone who has read my letters and heard me speak at public meetings over the past 10 years will find that I have consistently called attention to the continuing erosion of the quantity and quality of education delivered to students and the continuing escalation of the costs related to wages, salaries, and benefits for employees.

The school department has painted itself into a corner during this time period by steadfastly refusing to deal with these issues and instead putting them off year after year after year.  The people have had enough and for the first time in the history of the town, the people have voted “no” on an education budget article at town meeting.

I want to thank all of the people who came to the last budget hearing and voted “no.”  I hope to see many more next time.  But the focus of the voters needs to be on Article 1 in the warrant.  That is the one that needs to be voted down off the git-go at town meeting.

Voting “no” on Article 12 at the last budget hearing was a good start, but we need to vote “no” on all of the Articles.  That will force the school department to take a serious look at everything: curriculum, student enrollment, facilities consolidation, escalating wages, salaries, and benefits, transportation, sick leave, et al.  And do it now.  Not next year.

The School Committee and the Madawaska Education Association can reopen negotiations at any time pursuant to Article III of the current contract.  The way I read Section A, if either party requests negotiations, the other party must sit down and negotiate in good faith.  Section B states: This agreement shall not be modified in whole or in part except by a negotiated amendment reduced to writing, executed and adopted by both parties.

It takes two to tango. Time to start dancing folks.

Paul A. Cyr
Madawaska

 

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