or as Monty Python said, "Not dead yet!" We have just begun to fight for our community, and I do mean all of our community: students, parents, grandparents, and seniors.
Last night's Council meeting certainly separated the wheat from the chaff; an ancient agricultural practice of winnowing, one form of which was to expose, say, wheat to the wind so that the chaff blew away and the grains remained. Thanks to Councilor Dennis Canario for providing the wind last night to expose those Council members who purported to support the schools.
In summary: The School Committee met as a Finance Sub-Committee at 6:00 and found close to $500,000 in proposed savings, which is an actual savings of $350,000 due to a structural deficit in the original budget submission. The Town Council had over $200,000 in savings. We looked as if we were headed for a deal. Due to the States cut in Local Aid and Education Aid, these cuts still were not enough to bring us under cap. We stood at $1,005,000 over the cap. David Faucher stated that would mean roughly $100 tax increase per average home - $8.33 per month. This assumes a car excise tax and an exemption of the first $3,000, which looked like the approach favored by the Council. $8.33 a month... $8.33 a month!
Rational argument was made by Councilor's Seveney and Canario, but then the true stripes came out. Going back to last week most people unfamiliar with some of the players actually believed Ms. Gleason, Mr. Plumb, and Mr. Hamilton actually supported the schools. After all, thats what they said. But, last night there was no support and the schools remain level funded. To put this into perspective, this is worse than the "Tent Meeting" and the subsequent legal action. Please read below for more regarding the futility of politics.
Where is the rage? These are our kids, this is our community; do we want to errode what makes Portsmouth great one teacher at a time. Who will want to live in our community? Who will want to buy our homes? All over $8.33!