Think beyond the end of your driveway
When our kids were young, we moved to be back in the Concord school district because of what it had to offer our kids. Now as my youngest is set to graduate this spring, the easy thing would be to say that school problems are no longer my problem. Except that I have always been taught not to be self-centered, but to think “past the end of my driveway” and to do what is best for my community, both now for the long run.
At Concord, the amount spent per student has been reduced each of the past five years. To achieve these savings, without comprising programs, the Concord administration has done the standard belt-tightening we would expect. They have delayed capital expenditures (including the replacement of older buses), kept labor costs down (minimal raises, not replaced teaching staff as they retire) and eliminated many nice things to have (including field trips, smaller class sizes and replacing out-of-date computers).
Then, after all of these cuts, Concord Schools was told it would get $4.2 million less then what had been budgeted and approved by the state, not for some distant future date, but for calendar year 2014.
So here we are. The shortfall is too big to be solved by additional belt-tightening and the time too short for major structural change. Simply put, if we don’t pass the referendum on May 6, starting this fall many additional teachers will be laid off and many more important programs will be stopped, damaging both the quality and types of education available for the kids who attend Concord. This is not what is best for the school or the community. It is time to think past the end of your driveway and vote Yes.