Taken Out of Context, Again

A recent letter [“Can No Longer Defend Budget Surpluses,” Feb. 26, Kirk Carr] references a comment I made at a Board of Education meeting that the board should “spend down” the surplus. This comment was, as is popular with those who like to spin the truth, taken out of context. As part of a much longer conversation during a Board of Education meeting, I was suggesting that the board use surplus funds to offset future capital expenditures. Meeting capital needs with surplus dollars benefits both students and taxpayers: students get needed technology and textbooks sooner, while taxpayers benefit from a reduction in future capital expenditures.

A common refrain from those opposed to any spending on education is “we can disagree without being disagreeable.” However, these same people repeatedly call for the resignation of our superintendent and demand that local town committees not reappoint people with whom they disagree. The individuals maligned in the aforementioned letter-Jack Cross, Phil Williams, Debra Hauser, and Peter Gianotti-are community members and taxpayers who spend many hours working to find the most cost-effective ways to meet our students’ needs. All embody the virtues the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education outline as “consistently present” in “successful” board members. The first of these virtues? “Keep children first.”

A wise person once said, “You are entitled to your own opinion. You are not entitled to your own facts.” I encourage your readers to take the time to get the facts as budget season approaches, to come to a meeting, ask questions, and make their own, informed decisions. And please know that those of us who volunteer to serve on the Board of Education do so because we care deeply about education, children, and our community; that is a fact.

Kim Buckley

Published March 11, 2015 – Zip06

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