Letter: Barrington schools finished with surplus last two years
To the editor:
When a $1.2 million spending increase is characterized as a “cut” something is wrong.
For the last two fiscal years the school administration has generated operating surpluses of $600,000 and $700,000. Allocating an additional $500,000 over last year's budget will give the administration $1.2 million more to invest than they used the prior year.
Yet such proposals are dismissed as draconian.
Quality education is the paramount priority of our community. It is the reason most of us chose to live here. Years of short term thinking have created a fiscal structure that seemingly does not allow for any new initiatives to benefit our students. Salaries and benefits make up $41 million of a $49 million budget. Finding efficiencies here are the only way to free up funds for students.
Regrettably, any discussion of fiscal issues is deflected to fringe expenditures and justified with simplistic analysis of “level services” and misleading comparisons of per pupil spending with incongruous communities.
Education funding must be addressed with generational perspective. We need a sustainable structure that provides better benefits to students, teachers and taxpayers alike. It can be done.
We spend $3,300,000 on a poorly designed Blue Cross contract. This can be fixed to the benefit of both teachers and taxpayers. Let’s put our kids and teachers first.
Our $31,500,000 of union contracts have similar design defects. Rational corrections would free up more pay for teachers and more taxpayer funds for new student focused initiatives. What are we afraid of?
We have great kids and great schools. Let’s give them what the need for the long term.
Mr. Mollica is a member of the Barrington Committee on Appropriations.