To the Editor:
As I write this, the BOE is trying to decide how to move forward with a new budget. I am one of the people who campaigned against the budget last month. It was with no joy that I did so, but now I, and others who fought hard for “no,” would like to offer a solution, one we believe to be equitable.
The sad fact is that the BOE has never done any long term financial planning. It’s astounding, really. Over the weekend I went through some financial model projections some community members put together and I’m sorry to report that almost all the scenarios are ugly. It’s a future of more neighbor-against-neighbor fighting and massive deficits as far as the eye can see. Unless…
Unless we do two things simultaneously, and right now. The first that the BTA must sign a binding letter of intent to keep total compensation and medical growth under the tax cap going forward. The basic cause of all our problems is that state law, which is union-friendly, allows them to sit on 4% raises forever, contract or no contract, while the tax cap is set at 2%. The BTA, for the community’s sake and, ultimately, their own, must walk away from this.
Then, we propose is that the BOE to put forward the exact same budget that we rejected – up 3.8% – which we, those of us who fought hard against it, will then endorse. These two things, and these two things alone, will put us on excellent footing for many years. We’ve looked hard at the numbers. No more big staffing or program cuts, and no more community brawls over budgets, because we could stay under the cap going forward. We’re quite certain we could get the cap override passed – once – under the stated conditions.
We are making this offer because no one else seems to be coming up with any solutions. A number of us have submitted this proposal to the BOE for consideration. We hope the BTA will stand with all of us and offer a sustainable path.
We believe this to be a fair and equitable proposal, and one that spreads the sacrifice. The other path, one we don’t want to contemplate but will pursue if there are no BTA concessions, is to fight every single budget, including the “do-overs” – until the BTA wakes up to reality.