Dear Active Friends,
As you have probably heard, the proposed school budget was overwhelmingly rejected yesterday as expected (Yes: 496, No: 3,584). The all-important advisory question results were:
Budget too high…1,838
Budget too low…2,047
The purpose of the advisory question was to help the Town Council decide where to set the next budget to be voted on in Referendum #3. So what do those numbers show? Pretty much a dead heat, especially if you combine the too highs and the acceptables (2,005). In any event, there are enough folks on both sides of the current budget proposal to suggest that it’s in the ballpark, and any fiddling with it should be fairly minimal.
We faced some heavy odds in yesterday’s vote:
* a well-funded opposition that wasn’t afraid to spend significant amounts,
* a school administration/School Board that blatantly used private student/parent information for their own purposes, and
* some of the most cynical scare tactics we have seen in a long time.
Despite those challenges, we fought them to nearly a dead heat. Thanks to everyone who pitched in!
Rather than be gracious winners, however, the blank-check-for-the-schools crowd has already launched an email campaign to the Town Council pleading to restore school funding due to a supposedly clear mandate from yesterday’s vote. Huh? The only mandate from the vote was that we’re currently in the right ballpark with the budget. The blank-checkers seem to have adopted an aggressive, all-or-nothing strategy… they seem unwilling to concede that all taxpayers need to get some consideration when the school budget gets set. And that the school budget needs to be affordable for all Scarborough residents.
It’s been a long few weeks, so I hesitate to ask yet another favor… but I will. Please take 4-5 minutes and send off an email now to the Town Council members reminding them that the closeness of the vote indicates that the proposed budget was pretty darned close to being where it should be. Please urge them not to make substantial changes to the $500,000 reduction that was included in yesterday’s school budget. That email address to get to all Council members is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks again for supporting reasonable taxes for all Scarborough residents, as well as a strong (cynicism-free) school system! We remain hopeful that Referendum #3 will be accompanied by some real changes in the way we create and approve the school budget in the future.