Is it possible that the preliminary budget presented by the school committee is not some nefarious and evil plot, but simply an exercise in showing what is truly needed to begin to restore the many positions and programs that have been cut in past year. No one truly thinks there is a magical wand that is going to make that money appear, but we as taxpayers need to understand that level funding of a budget full of mandates, requirements and contractual obligations is a CUT. It's tiring to hear the same message from Mr. Lukatch again and again. (I admire his time management skills that he has the time to attend all of these hearings and write so many letters.). Mr. Lukatch, please offer some solutions. The town needs solutions, not the endless circle of criticism we all seem to be stuck in. I hear you have a background in finance -- what do you think? Beyond accusations, what solutions can you propose? Folks would like to hear some ideas. View Comment
MsB - there is now full day kindergarten for all who want it. The only lottery is for location. Most of the students go to Beal, but there are some classes at Spring and Coolidge this year. We laid off 30 people last year - including one first grade and one fourth grade teacher at Spring and Paton each. There was no money to save those teachers (retirements kept a few jobs, but not classes). There are 30 children in every 4th grade class at Spring. First grades have nearly 30 as well. We probably won't get back the teachers we lost last year, but I just hope we don't lose any more. View Comment
You missed my point, Mr. Lowry, or maybe I didn't make it clear in trying to stay brief: ALL of our departments are in serious trouble. The fire chief has made that very clear and we need to find more funding to support that department as well. My point is that the school department shouldn't be the lighting rod nor the solution to every fiscal crisis. We can't cut fire any more than we have. We can't cut police any more -- but we can't find the money to help those departments "hidden" in the school department line items either. We don't have enough money to adequately fund any of these essential departments. Rather than pit on against another, I think folks are trying to show (at least I am!) that we need to find a way to bring in more revenue...and complaining that it's all Beacon Hill's fault doesn't get us closer to solutions, nor does mocking Dr. Sawyer. He knows they're not going to get the 4mil - but anything less than 2 mil is more cuts. The budget process is just beginning and each department head asks for what it would take to fully fund their department and to restore what has be already lost. They know they're not getting it all, but it's a place to start at. Lots of discussion yet to come, but it's not all the school's problem, and the schools certainly don't get "all" the money. View Comment
Enough with saying the school department is hiding things! That tired argument is completely untrue. All of our municipal departments have lean budgets. The schools are an easy target because they're the biggest. When insurance costs go up for 1,000 employees, it's a much larger bump than in a department with 10! Enough sarcasm and insinuation. It's time for our town to figure out how to pay for what we as a community value. It's really not a spending problem - it's a revenue problem. Where are your solutions for that "krobkoe." If you've got all the answers, please share some constructive ones rather than slamming newcomers to town. View Comment
Isn't Mr. Tartaglia's mantra to "live within your means?" If SELCO needs to cut costs, unfortunately, discounts are an appropriate place to close budget gaps. Cable tv is a nice-to have feature in many people's lives, but is by no means a necessity. We CAN choose to live without cable tv.
And the pay-as-you-throw issue has really proven to be a non-issue. I'm as cheap as they come, but do think it's fair that I pay for my trash. I make more than my elderly neighbor, therefore I should and do pay more.
We can't have it both ways, Mr. T. If you want town departments to live within what you think are their means, they have to cut costs. The school department isn't the only department where can can be made. View Comment
Um, Mr. Lowry...you might want to check this news source - a very good article on what is happening at our underfunded fire department. All of our departments are suffering and damaging any one of them further does not solve the problem, only exacerbates it. We need new revenue. We have already cut too far. View Comment
Did you attend the meeting jobel? If you weren't one of the 100+ people in the room, how can you possibly say that anything is "clear?" I was there to see what it was all about and found it to be just that, factual.
There is a great deal of misinformation out in the public about the state of our town's budget and the intent of the group to to give people who aren't as involved and don't visit the Town Hall daily access to clear and factual information. Look at the group's website. It's not an interpretation of facts, it's the links to the actual budget documents and studies. Where's the bias in that?
I think the Shrewsbury Advocates group is necessary and helpful. Your negative comments are not. View Comment
However, the expenses of the town continue to increase. Unless we find additional sources of revenue, the only means to pay for the services Shrewsbury expects and demands is taxation. Historically our voters have rejected projects that might have brought additional (non residential tax) revenue to town. We vote as if we wish to be a bedroom community, therefore we need to live with the consequences or start voting with a broader view of the world. View Comment
If the reporter was paying attention, Article 14 was NOT monies for renovations, rather, it was funds to pay for studies and architectural drawings to reflect the community's desire for library plans 10% smaller than before. I know the reporter is new to town, but the content of the article was printed in the handouts. At least read them before reporting on Town Meeting. In addition, the out-of-context "quotes" of comments are also misleading. This article is a disservice to anyone who might rely on this site for actual news. View Comment
And it makes sense to cancel the scarecrows, why?? People enjoy those during the day, and I'm pretty sure that our creations on the common can't catch EEE. Hyteria wins over common sense. Again. View Comment
I think the 16 teachers that got laid off (not to mention all those "reassigned") might think that the school budget HAS come to bear the same economic realities as the general population. Same for the fifth graders in study halls rather than classes (we call it "curriculum extensions" so it doesn't sound so bad...), for the fourth grade teachers tripping over 29 kids in one small classroom, and for the working parent who really wants their kid to be able to join a club or pay a sport, but after $250 for the bus, the $295 for the sport and $100 for the club are really hard to come by. No reality there?? View Comment
I do find it ironic that the new Scott Brown ads feature a mother saying she has daughters and wants them to find good jobs for equal pay....Scott Brown voted AGAINST that bill!! Yet he has the audacity to campaign as if he voted for it. View Comment
Mr. Lowry -
I have a fourth grader in a class with 29 children. The classroom was built for about 20 or 22. While "only" seven more children doesn't sound like a lot, please stop by one of our public elementary schools and take a look at how physically crowded (not to mention stifling hot) our classrooms are. At Spring Street School, the fourth grade classrooms have 28 and 29 children in them.
I pay $250 for the privilege of that same child riding a bus to school, which is necessary so that I can get to work on time. I pay $165 for the technology fee for my middle school child can use an iPad at school and home. That bus ride is free, but only until my child enters 7th grade, so $500 per year for the bus is coming. At middle school, it's $50 just to have the opportunity to sign up for clubs and after school activities - and then the activities still have fees and fundraising on top of that. In high school, that will be $100. And $290 if they wish to play a sport. All of those fees come before the supply list which is easily $50 worth of required supplies (and I'm a huge bargain hunter).
PTOs and events like the Garden Party and Road Scholars race raise money to help support our schools, and it's great, but it only covers equipment and materials. It's still not enough.
I'm sure any member of the school committee or principal would be happy to show you the impact budget cuts have had on our classrooms. Please be patient waiting for them to return your call as they are also doing lunchroom duty, covering the nurse's office and on the phone trying to raise money to pay for things not covered in the budget again.
Perhaps a correction to the photo tag would be in order as well?? Mr. Morgado is the Town Manger of SHREWSBURY and was discussing damage to SHREWSBURY High School. You're not in Westborough. View Comment
While we're repaving it, can we do something about the absolutely unneccessary 50mph speed limit for literally a half mile that makes it extrememly hazzardous to get onto 140 from Wachusett Circle, Barnard St. and Colonial Drive, not to mention entering or exiting 290? Drivers floor it as they pass Hill Street and the sightlines from Barnard make it awful to safely pull out onto 140 south. Let's hope that gets addressed while we're making the road pretty and well paved. I'd rather have bumpy but not take my life in my hands everytime I pull out! View Comment
Unlike the other muncipal department budgets, the school department has an extremely high number of mandated expenses, beyond salary. We can't do anything about those rising costs. We can complain, blame Beacon Hill and point fingers, but the fact is that the increase in school department budget are made up of factors over which we have no control. Yes, there is an annual increase, but it is not the kind of increase that gets us ahead by any stretch of the imagination. It costs more money every year to provide a lesser level of education for Shrewsbury children.
The argument made by an extremely vocal group in town that the schools are hiding fat in the budget and not making enough cuts is yet another example of not letting the facts get in the way of a political point. View Comment
It's admirable to think of ways to reuse existing space in a creative manner, but the costs to reuse the current Sherwood Middle School would be prohibitive. There are many environmental hazzards within the structure; the roof needs replacing; it is inefficient to heat; and due to the cinder block construction, walls cannot be moved to reconfigure the space. Also, there is a significant need for athletic field space in this town - not just for school children, but for the many athletic leagues that pay fees to the town to use such fields. Good idea. Bad building to consider. View Comment
Hate to be critical, but the Shrewsbury High School teams are the COLONIALS, not the Pioneers (that's St. John's, which, being an all male high school surely would NOT have a team playing in the GIRLS soccer tournament!) Had to go to three different websites to figure out where the girls' soccer game would be played. Sports reporting is tough, but could we at least try to get the team names right? This is the Daily SHREWSBURY, isn't it?? View Comment