Nothing is Hidden, the Problem is Apparent

We agree it’s good for an elected city official to ask questions regarding city expenditures on behalf of his or her constituents.  Unfortunately Councillor Rosemary Miller in her Letter to the Editor (Independent Forum, 02/08/12) only complains about events that have already happened and ducks the issues that need solutions.

She reminds us of the dairy farmer who remembered to shut the barn door after he saw all the cows had run away.

In spite of Herculean efforts by members of the School Department, the School Committee, and various city officials to explain the complexity of issues involved, Mrs. Miller prefers to ignore them and complains about why budgets are not being met and the need for full disclosure.

Full disclosure is the school budget in all its parts. The schools’ budget contains no secret funds, no secret expenditures – in fact – no secrets at all.

Mrs. Miller complains about this newspaper’s reporting, saying that it should bring her information and suggestions on how to make things better. We believe the newspaper’s role is to report the news and to comment editorially about it – and we have made recommendations about how this city needs to meet the schools underfunded budget/overpopulation challenge.

We have been dealing with hundreds of new students every year for the past 6 years. And we have been asking for more funding consistently to meet the challenge. This is not a new crisis.

Fueling the crisis is the fact that Everett is a rapidly changing community – a gateway city, so to speak – for larger families working hard to achieve the American Dream.

Perhaps 1000 new families and as many as 2000 school children have moved here in the past 4 years. Space must be provided for them. Their education here must be of a high standard. Educating 2000 new students costs more money than is appropriated because our public school population is growing by as much as 500 students in one year and funding is always based on the year before. That is the problem in a nutshell.

Everett can no longer fund its public schools at the minimum mandated level and still provide a quality education for the city’s 6,500 plus children. Mayor DeMaria and Senator DeDomenico have pledged to work with members of the School Committee, the Superintendent, and the School Department to secure more funding for Everett schools from state and federal sources.  We regret that Rep. Stat Smith has not risen to give a hand to the others in this effort and we frankly don’t understand why.

That being said, Everett’s public schools are going to be in chronic need of more money than what is appropriated as long as new students keep flowing into the system in large numbers.

There is no way around this new reality.

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