Friday, March 28, 2008

Scaring Cheshire

We had the second public hearing on the budget last night. I appreciated the comments from residents, particularly this exchange between BOE member Peter Massey and resident Li Feng:

As mentioned in Luther Turmelle's piece in the NHR

Peter Massey, chairman of the school board’s Finance Committee, said cuts that deep would be “catastrophic” to the school system. “If you go to $1 million, there will be programs cuts and layoffs,” Massey said.
But while sitting at home, watching the meeting on TV... Mr. Feng felt compelled to respond to Peter's comments. In fact, he felt so strongly, you'll even see him literally running to the lecturn to speak... to say that "scaring" people is wrong.



FWIW... I agree with Mr. Feng.

Tim White

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mr. Feng should run for BOE.

Qualifications:

Common sense (BOE spending has to cut back just like our families have to cut back).

Thinks outside the box (Superint's wishes are not infallible).

Anonymous said...

AMEN Mr. Feng!!

Anonymous said...

The 11 minute speech on "facts" by Mr. Massey was an embarrassment for and the BOE. For years the education department has held this town hostage by using the fear factor. If we don't support education the world will end. Well the school system is not all that great, we have huge drug & alcohol problem the admin refuses recognize. We cannot continue to offer more and more each year.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Massey's "facts" are questionable and unsupported, and his expectation is that no one will challenge his "facts". With regards to his comment that teachers are younger and retirements being on the decline. If that were true, the average years of teaching experience for Cheshire teachers would be declining, as would the average step. It's not.
With regards to computers - this account has been properly funded for years. Every computer is replaced every 5 years. Anything older is merely kept around to bolster support for the Superintendents argument that his funding should be increased.
Mr. Feng is right - this is scare tactics. And if Mr. Massey and others on the BOE cut valuable - and relatively inexpensive programs such as talented and gifted, and music, it would be done purely in retaliation for reductions to their desired increases.

Anonymous said...

How about the additional 8 new teachers that were hired last year? Mr. Massey left that out of the facts. Give us a break.

Anonymous said...

Were are the 100's of "MR Fengs" out there that feel the same way but are scared to speak? Get going and follow his lead.

retired teacher said...

10:45 above hits their divide-and-conquer strategy right on the head --

Mr. Feng is right - this is scare tactics. And if Mr. Massey and others on the BOE cut valuable - and relatively inexpensive programs such as talented and gifted, and music, it would be done purely in retaliation for reductions to their desired increases.

BOE spending increases are out of control. Much of it is of dubious value to actual learning.

We need more people like Mr.Feng to get on the BOE and critically question their budget line by line.

Anonymous said...

Where is the BOE budget? It's not at the library. Only a line item shows up on the detailed town budget. Come on and show it to the public. Why should one have to ask? The BOE budget is almost 70% of the total budget and we can't see the details? Are they afraid?

Anonymous said...

Wait until the april 3rd TC meeting. All the people who have been in hibernation for the last three budget votes will come out. The last three years they got all that they asked for(without attending one meeting) and the taxes increased. Now there is a slim possibility that they might not get 100% of what they are asking and it's time to show up. Well it's too late. Nobody in their right mind will believe you. So go ahead and show up and give all the BS speeches. I hope that all the council members will see this for what it is pure BS and vote for what is right for the citizens. Really represent us all and not just the few who use scare tatics all the time. It's raining on us now so it's time to use the "rainy day fund".

tim white said...

1:36 you can find some details here:

http://timwhitelistens.blogspot.com/search?q=school+budget

Anonymous said...

I was one of the few who spoke at the last public hearing on the town budget and I wonder what kind of an impact I had on the council members. First, I was interrupted because I went beyond three minutes and then noticed, as I continued to speak, that Mr Ecke seemed bored out of his mind. Matt Hall had his back to me once doing something behind his chair and one other council member had a smile on his face that appeared to say,"hey you're not tellig me anything I havn't heard before. So I say, what's the use in going and expressing ones views? Of all the people who did speak, it appeared that only the Board of Education speaker was for the budget as is. So if that is the case, then the budget should be lowered based on who spoke for or against. Let's see if we were heard this time.

Anonymous said...

If they can't "hear' us they understand "vote". Vote them out next time. How can they represent all citizens by voting along party lines all the time? Please explain that to me.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Massey said that although enrollment is declining we cannot cut teachers because the decrease is spread out among the schools. OK maybe that is true but can he explain why with a decline in enrollment over the past three years of appox 130 students why are we adding teachers?

Anonymous said...

I guarantee that if enrollment were heading up, that Mr. Massey would have used an increase as an excuse to justify more teachers. But somehow it doesn't work the other way.

Like Florio's math, if you hire a teacher it costs $50K, but if you reduce staff you only save $40K.

Anonymous said...

This is just the same old fear tactics comign from the BOE and the Superintendent yet again. When we had the zero increase year, chicken little (the superintendent) said the sky was falling. It never did. How can the BOE and Mr. Florio continue to boast how great our schools are and than in the same breath declare a catastrophe if we reduce the BOE request by $1 million? This isnt a cut its simply a smaller increase in the budget.

I am so sick of having to hear this people cry and moan that the schools are going to falls apart. My wife is a teacher, she doesnt believe, becuase she knows its not true.

Mr. Feng was right, and he speak for many of us. He was simply stating that there are times when economically it is unwise and unfeasible to continue to spend. ya know why I cant attend these meeetings? Becuase due to the economy wy wife had to take a job working nights. So I work al day, she is at home taking care of the kids, than I come home and she goes to work. We have had to change our lifestyle, why cant the town?

Enough is enough......Tim, I hope you continue to stand up and speak out against this continued garbage. One last thing, I find Matt Hall to be an arrogant, sanctimonious, disrespectful jerk. His holier than thou attitude is disgraceful.

Give em hell Tim....

ADB

Anonymous said...

Go Mr. Feng. You are 100% on the money. You speak from your heart and told the truth. That's more than most of those council members do.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Hall should purchase a new stop watch. His watch seems to run faster for opponents than proponents. Good catch Mr. Rocci. Poor Mr. Feng had to run to the podium so he could get his 3 minutes in.

Anonymous said...

If Conn. had a "Proposition 3%" law as Gov. Rell proposes, any spending increases which cause taxes to increase by over 3% a year would trigger a referendum.

This would force the BOE and Super't to either trim the fat or make a more convincing case to taxpayers on the need to increase spending and taxes.

It's worked well in Mass. for 25 years and their schools have done fine. What Conn. really needs is Prop.3%

Anonymous said...

every computer is new every 5 years? and you know this how?

Anonymous said...

Why don't you just ask the SUPT to show us the line item for new computers or whatever they call it. It's a simple question.

Anonymous said...

Several years ago, the computer network was valued at approx. $1.5 million dollars (1500 computers @ $750/ea = $1.125MM). The balance was servers, routers, etc. The technology budget has been ample to replace the entire network every 5 years. So there's no excuse for having computers older than 5 years old.

Anonymous said...

maybe--assuming it all stays in there--