Ashburnham-Westminster school leaders may ask voters for overri...

There are 13 comments on the Apr 12, 2009, Sentinel & Enterprise story titled Ashburnham-Westminster school leaders may ask voters for overri.... In it, Sentinel & Enterprise reports that:

School leaders say that if they cannot close a $630,000 budget gap by the end of the fiscal year, asking voters for a Proposition 2 1/2 override will not be a choice, but an obligation.

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Get It Right

Wareham, MA

#42 Apr 14, 2009
If I read the article correctly and understand Prop 2-1/2, then I think there may be another reason so many of the surrounding school districts don't ask for overrides. That is that many of the districts mentioned in the article have more than two towns involved. As I understand it, this means if a majority of the towns involved agree on a spending figure, then the majority have no choice but to pay up. This is how the Monty Tech district works for Ashburnham. We get an assessment each year and have to pay up. I know folks in Ashby that feel that they've been forced to spend because Townsend and Pepperell agree on budgets leaving Ashby in the minority. Also, it appears that most of those other districts are getting more than 2.5% a year from their towns. Ash-West is a 2 town district and unless the 2 towns agree on higher funding figures, I guess an override is the only method available. Not saying it's right - just pointing out what I think the differences are.
Ben

Gardner, MA

#43 Apr 14, 2009
Well mabe the towns should lower thier sights because many cant afford this schools budget1
CLB

Springfield, MA

#44 Apr 14, 2009
"f you don't like it, home school or go private. If you can't afford that, you're the same as most people in Ashburnham and Westminster."

Homeschooling is only as expensive as you make it- depending on what programs or "extras" you want. The loss you might experience could be the loss of one parent working, but I have heard of single parent homeschoolers, so it can be done. Also, you do have to pay for many extra things when your children go to school- lunch money or more expensive travel meals, extra clothes, maybe an extra pair of shoes, after-school care, field trips, gas money if your drive your child, etc. These things don't always exist if you homeschool. Life is as busy as you make it, and you can juggle things in the way that works around the other things in your life- not just based on the school's schedule. It's a different life style- a different mindset.
huh

Marblehead, MA

#45 Apr 14, 2009
Say What wrote:
<quoted text>
Gagnon said the school budget has soared from about $20 million in 2001 to about $29 million in fiscal year 2010.
Need I say more? That is $1m/year increase and they still want more! Why should we share the pain when they are the ones causing it!!!
Yet Mr Gagnon did not state how much the Ashburnham Town budget has increased over that same time period.
huh

Marblehead, MA

#46 Apr 14, 2009
Frustrated wrote:
Do they do anything in an attempt to change the system? They continually ask for overrides and appear to welcome the mandates.
JMO
They have supported changes in state law so that unfunded mandates do not have to be complied with and bring in our state Legislators every year. What have you done to change the system so the schools can more appropriately use your tax dollars.
CLB

Springfield, MA

#47 Apr 14, 2009
Exactly! Education is NOT a Federal issue- it's a state issue. The reason there are even Federal mandates is because the states want to money from the Fed. government, so they chose to accept the conditions. Then, they complain about those agree-upon conditions. In NH- I think last year- the state chose to forgo the Federal funding, so that they wouldn't have to deal with the Federal standards (NCLB, I believe).

And, MA continues- even with our stuggling economy- to try to push through new bills- that (no surprise) will add more requirements, and add more cost as a result.

I am curious as to why the state schools "can't" run as any other competative business. Perhaps we should plan a meeting where the town- and Superintendant- explain this to us, clearly. If it's because they are state-run, then that- again- reinforces my point that we should NOT have the state involved in education- they are actually proving that point- that they can't effectively educate as a state agency. The state should only be involved in laws for the purpose of protection and to shape the society in a general sense- not to provide every single possible service to us, for every possible need we might have. Education, religion, and healthcare are parental rights and responsibilities- not state rights and responsibilities (or they shouldn't be, if they are). If there is a sort of "welfare" state schooling program for those who are truly unwilling or unable to supervise the education of their own children, then fine. But we should not be relying on the government to chose what education our children should have- and we shouldn't have to pay taxes for this, without any say in how those are used. We should really try to get compulory schooling removed from MA. Until that happens, THIS is what you are all going to have to deal with- state and Federal standards, which require money spent that (according to the local town government) cannot be scaled-back or used in a more efficient way, and no right to refuse to pay for those (often failing) state schools- you are taxed whether they waste your money or not- it's not based on their performance. As long as this state compells your children to school- and you are too afraid to opt-out of this- then you will need to face the fact that THIS is what you're going to get- a state program that dooesn't care what you think, because it doesn't need to- you have no recourse- you can't refuse to send your children (again, unless you opt-out), and you can't refuse to pay. In other words, the state schools cry to you that they can't change what they spent, how they spent it, due to the standards imposed on them, but they make no effort of release themselves- or you- from those chains. Again, they have NO motivation to change- NONE. They'd love to have the standards removed, if they could keep getting the money, but then they would still want you to HAVE to use state schools.
Frustrated wrote:
Do they do anything in an attempt to change the system? They continually ask for overrides and appear to welcome the mandates.
JMO
BS Patrol

Fitchburg, MA

#48 Apr 14, 2009
CLB, You win todays prize!!!!
CLB

Springfield, MA

#49 Apr 14, 2009
And, "BS Patrol", I feel sorry for you. Can't think of anything of value to offer?

By the way, the comments and opinions I share here are my own, and not neccesarily the same as the other homeschoolers in the district. I popped back in to just make that known, in case any of you assumed that all homeschoolers must think the same as me. Just as we are not all conservative Christians (based on reasearch, only about 1/2 of all homeschoolers are homeschooling for religious reasons, now), not all of us share the same views. My views have developed over years of homeschooling, over years of being a parent, after reading studies and reports, and after hearing the input from other homeschoolers, teachers, and actual educational specialists and counselors. You might also find it interesting to know that one of the most well-known homeschool supporters worked at the US Dept. of Education, and two more worked as teachers- one for about 25 years in public schools. One of these people actually goes around giving lectures on education, and openly states that public schooling- in most cases- is harmful for children- that it cannot be fixed with any amount of money or changing of laws- that the fact that it is what it is- state/government-based schooling- is one reason alone why it can't succeed.

So, there are many, many places that you can and will hear these same arguments. It's up to you what to take from that, and what actions to take.

By all means, pay more money. Then next year, pay more money. Then the next. But don't expect anything to change. Because, the schools have no motivation- they can do what they want, and they will still get your taxes, no matter how badly they continue to fail- UNLESS laws are changed, and they are not allowed to have the immunity and privilages that they have.
BS Patrol wrote:
CLB, You win todays prize!!!!
Ben

Gardner, MA

#50 Apr 14, 2009
It is true public schools are a WASTE OF MONEY.
BS Patrol

Fitchburg, MA

#51 Apr 14, 2009
CLB, you seem to enjoy ranting. Most of the homeschooled childen have not socialized well and end up sitting behind a computer all day winning my BS Awards. Your family may create a BS dynasty.
Jake

Gardner, MA

#52 Apr 14, 2009
CLB is so far ahead of the inferior Ashburnham system that its not funny!
Dark Comedy

Fitchburg, MA

#53 Apr 14, 2009
Jake, have you ever seen the people in Gardner?
Jake

Gardner, MA

#54 Apr 14, 2009
Gardner is also much better run than Ashburnham.

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