Sunday, March 7, 2010

2010 Town Hall Meeting

For the first time in years, Croydon has more than one school board candidate on the ballot. Gayle Hedrington has been a regular at board meetings as both contributor and reporter. As a board member, I know where Gayle stands.

Like many in Croydon I know little about Meshial Wittasek, so I am grateful that she chose to define her position in a mailing. What I read disturbed me.

Meshial's mailer could best be summarized as "Vote for me, vote with me, so we can get back to spending your money". The attitude seems to be a call for all residents to put the financial whims of the school district ahead of all else, including one's family. Time will tell, but I believe her outlook is seriously out of touch with the concerns of Croydon residents.

Amid dry statistics, Meshial seeks to convince voters that public ed in Croydon is a bargain, that Newport district gives Croydon a good deal, and that last year's modest reduction of the school budget INCREASE was a catastrophe. None of these claims holds water.

At $9,724 per student, there is nothing "only" about Croydon's tuition. Check private schools in the area if you're unsure. There is nothing "only" about a 5% increase in the Croydon budget, 7-8% annual education spending increases, or 10% teacher raises in Newport. How many of us received 10% raises last year?

What Meshial fails to mention is that much of our budget woes stem from Newport's inability to control spending. Newport's high school tuition increased approximately 25% this year for no apparent reason. We're supposed to believe that $14,586 per year is some sort of bargain. For this reason, it is vital that Croydon pass Article 5 to form a committee to modify or scrap our AREA agreement with Newport.

Also conveniently omitted is the reason that "Newport was required to raise student test scores". Newport has failed to make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for SIX YEARS IN A ROW! Is that a bargain for our $14k+?

Not surprisingly, last year's budget (which was an increase, not a cut as Meshial claimed) did not bring the catastrophe that some high spending proponents promised. What industry besides public education demands 7-8% annual spending increases during the worst economic downturn since the 1930s?

Once again, we're told that the sky will fall if we don't pass the board's budget as is. I voted against this budget and urge residents to do the same. Homeowners sacrifice too much already; a 25% tax increase cannot be justified.

Jim Peschke
Croydon School Board Member

1 comment:

Gayle Hedrington said...

I would like to add that according to Meshial's mailing, Cornish has the lowest annual growth rate at 5 percent.

That is because Cornish does not have an area agreement and sends their students to Windsor, Hanover, and Claremont.

We are facing a decline in students believe it or not in 1995 we had 130 students. Our budget was $427,676.00.

In the upcoming year we have a mere 76 students and the budget is $1,303,771.

If my math is correct that approximately 4 times more per student.

Which is way above the inflation rate of 42%