Every tax is a pay cut.  Every tax cut is a pay raise.
Citizens for Limited Taxation

Town Meeting gives schools a pass Friday, August 27, 2004
Harold J. Wolfe The Framingham Tab
A tradition for some town meeting members (TMMs) before the spring Town Meeting in Framingham, during which the next year's budget is passed, is to lay down a wager as to how long it takes for TMMs to pass the single biggest expense in the town, the school budget ($100 million). The last winner's entry was 30 minutes.

No questions are asked as to:

  • why we have a student/teacher ratio of 12.3,
  • why 17 percent of our students are SPED and 70 percent of SPED students are male,
  • why we have one full or part time adult for every 4.3 students,
  • why SAT scores have declined over the last 40 years,
  • whether there is any progress with English immersion,
  • why we have so many bilingual teachers and classes,
  • why we are ranked 11th in the Boston metro area in cost per student but we are ranked 86th in 10th grade MCAS scores,
  • the future of Juniper Hill, and why we subsidize a parochial school there,
  • why teachers are never fired for incompetence,
  • why the curriculum is more removed from reading, writing, and arithmetic.
As a community, we spend sixty percent of our resources on thirteen percent of our population (our school age students).  In my humble opinion, the school committee has failed to balance the needs of the schools versus the capabilities of the taxpayers.  School expenses seem too complex and as such, TM refuses to deal with it, providing no oversight on our largest expense.

Town meeting is a chaotic cacophony of voices comprising of 200+ members broken up into some 40 committees that do not communicate well with each other and lack any coherency and leadership within its ranks.  If no TMM questions the school budget, can we expect the Framingham taxpayers to hold their TMMs in high regard?  I think not!

The Framingham Taxpayers Association should take the advice of Willie Sutton and examine the school financials because "that's where the money is".

I'm putting $5 on 26 minutes this spring. Who's playing bookie this year?

Send comments to: hjw2001@gmail.com