UPDATED: Two Tiverton-Related Notes

UPDATE: I was able to restore the lost post

1. The post to which I linked on the Tiverton Citizens for Change blog was accidentally deleted, this morning. My time is way too limited to reconstruct it, and I apologize for any confusion.
2. The Tiverton Budget Committee voted last night to put a level-funded budget for the school district on the docket for the financial town meeting. Inasmuch as my visibility seems have positioned me to be among the most viscerally disliked people in town, I thought I should note — in my personal capacity — that I do not agree with that result. I don’t agree with it strategically, as a means of reallocating resources from pay and benefits for adults back toward programs for students, and I don’t agree with it as a final outcome, at least not yet, when the staff just voted to re open its contract and the school committee and teachers haven’t played their cards, yet.

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11 years ago

Justin, with what do you disagree?
Tiverton’s enrollment numbers (as you well know) have been dropping as the school budget has risen every year and academic performance has not kept pace with the latter. Should the Budget Committee have left the door open for that to continue?

Justin Katz
11 years ago

I’ll leave aside strategic matters having to do with deep analysis of local politics and the financial town meeting.
My underlying disagreement is this: There are students currently engaged in the only elementary and secondary education they will ever be able to receive. There is a long history of union abuse of the system and misguided leadership from local elected officials. But this isn’t a battle over the production of widgets. It is the only experience of youth and of “my home town” that hundreds of children will ever have.
Against that background, we are attempting to change leadership and union behavior. We are attempting to refashion the way in which people understand the functioning of their towns and their school districts. It has to be done on the fly, while not harming those who, like it or not, are under our care to some degree.
In the context of Tiverton, especially with the timing of this week, this month, in this year, a proposal for level funding from the Budget Committee is a declaration of us-versus-them war. It is an echo of the statement that I’ve heard several times behind the scenes from people on my side: “Well, they should have thought of that when…”
Who are “they”? Certainly not the kids.

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