Here's a more pressing consideration:
We the residents of Holden are now being told that it is absolutely imperative that we push forward at e speed of light and build a new middle school which will cost us how many tens of millions of dollars
How many years of having an armed security officer protecting each school in town would this pay for?
Lets think this out: The town need not even pay for a salaried, benefitted police officer for this. It could retain, for instance, a 35 hour per week contracted retired police officer, a part time police officer or cadet going through the academy, a retired military police officer etc. ideally the position would be from a fellow town resident. Or perhaps two part time positions to fill these hours.
At $20/ hr, this would thus cost roughly $700 per school per week. In other words, $35k a year.
How many schools are in town ? Is it five ?
Tis translates to the sum of about $175,000 per year.
But, let's say instead that like almost all governmental entities nowadays would demand, the Town maintains that it absolutely must be a salaried, benefitted town employee at each such position. The cost of benefits, pensions employment administration etc would likely raise this amount to some $350.000 a year.
Lets not even stop there. Let's say that with some more associated costs, it will be $500,000 a year, again assuming the likely scenario that the Town leaders will adamantly maintain that this "must be a full town employee position"
This means that if the new Mountview school is going to cost us "just" some $25 million (ie half the cost after state's contribution) (a rather unlikely scenario, as my guess is it will be closer to $30 million, possibly more), this same amount would pay for, even under the far more expensive full town salaried position scenario outlined above, fully FIFTY YEARS of school security at every school in town.
So choose wisely, people of Holden.
The safety of our children is at stake.
I suggest we do everything we humanly can to take every step we possibly can to see to it that what happened in Newtown CT never happens here.
And unless we start demanding a very real, very frank discussion of the above, instead of focusing only on things like "enhanced communication" (whenever they really means) we are doing little other than kidding ourselves....
And our children. View Comment
Yes, the irony : The Commonwealth seeking to "promote small businesses" ?
This while the Governor wishes to hire more and more state employees we do not need as part of the Beacon Hill political power game, all of whom are paid for by the same ever-increasing taxes on small business that drain away these businesses' ability to remain in this Commonwealth.
And this while a looming federal law imposing hideously-burdensome mandates and taxes onto small businesses called "The Affordable Care Act" is going to exact yet more disincentive for small businesses to continue operating. Each and every small business person with whom I have spoken about this has told me that like me, he or she will not be hiring, at best, and at worst will be either laying off employees or changing their status to part-time because of this law.
So, although I exclude Rep. Ferguson from these issues because I know for a fact she truly believes in the need to let small business grow unimpeded by the strong arm of government (other than via reasonable regulation aimed at ensuring safety and fair-dealing), sorry, but as a small business owner, I read articles like this and cannot help but see the twisted, contorted irony in this state's government calling for a "small business day"...or week, or month, or year, or decade, for that matter. View Comment
While I may not agree with his having left, I am hard pressed to disagree with Mr. Ferguson's message. They're going to charge the Town Selectboard over $2,000 for a copy of the budget ? And how about just burning it to a disc ?
This is the sort of arrogance that only serves to create even more lack of faith in this school system.
This Town needs to have a serious dialogue about dismantling the regional school district, as do all the member towns.
Last night one in two Americans chose unemployment at record levels for record duration. They opted for crippling debt and deficits that are nothing less than an immoral and devastating slap across the faces of our children, born and unborn. They voted for inflation, the likes of which this country has not seen in the lifetime of anyone alive today. They chose a bloated, inefficient government that cannot even preposition fuel in advance of a storm yet has largely now been entrusted to choose what health care the weakest among us shall receive. They loudly proclaimed that they are incapable of separating form from substance in their leaders, opting instead for those who most loudly proclaim that they will rob from those who produce to give it to those who will not.
Way to go, America.
When the final curtain falls on this once exceptional nation, and last night was the insurance policy for that inevitable act to come to complete fruition, as for me I shall have a clear conscience knowing that I fulfilled my role as a citizen to try to restore Columbia to her greatness.
As for everyone who voted for this horrendous vision of America last night, my only words for you are ask for forgiveness from the memories of those who gave so much in the past 237 years for the American vision of limited government and "We the People"
Oh.....and stock up on canned food.
And lots of it. View Comment
"it offers the residents of the town really the only accurate, thorough and definitive measurement of whether or not your police department is doing what they're supposed to be doing."
And here I thought that was what we had the Constitution and the courts for.... View Comment
Time for a change- Actually, your analysis of his pension is not accurate. Whatever he will make per year (I am not agreeing with you at present that it will be $200,000 because I do not know what percentage of his salary he will receive), on top of that must be added the cost of the benefits he will receive every year like health insurance, dental, etc, for the rest of his life.
And yes: the joke truly is on us all, isn't it ?
By the way, and this is nothing against our public servants, the vast majority of whom are good, hard working people, but this is but one example of just how utterly unsustainable the growth in public employment (both iterms of the numbers of them and the rise in benefits and salaries) has become.
Just look to Stockton, Califorina.
What happened there is going to spread like wildfire across the country.
People say we are headed for Greece in America. I suggest we are not.
We are headed for a fiscal collapse that far surpasses Greece in its magnitude, View Comment
Yes, let's not worry about that trifling little matter called costs.
Obviously, the $16 trillion and growing national debt is the result of the same "logic"
This truly is mortifying and proof positive that we, the people, the residents of this Town, quite simploy cannot afford this.
We are all standing on the brink of a fiscal precipice as it is. How anyone can suggest to "not worry about the cost" is a staggering reminder of exactly why America is in the horrendous fiscal predicament in which it now finds itself... View Comment
I commend the men and women who do historical "reenacting" and while not a big fan of it (I would rather see folks learn about history by taking the time to read and research it), the practice has its place with respect to bringing a sense of immediacy of a bygone era to contemporary Americans.
But assigning a specific reenactor to play a specific fallen veteran to then "receive" a commendation from the Town seems very wrong to me.
Captain Kelton was a courageous soldier of the Civil War, he was killed in battle, and he ought to be honored as such by all of Holden's residents, just as all veterans,in particular the fallen, ought to be honored by all Americans.
But this simply is not the proper way to go about it, in my opinion. View Comment
I would simply add this:
"As children head back to school, let’s prepare them to be successful both in the classroom and on the playground. How best to manage time; the importance of exercising; eating healthy foods and getting enough sleep; studying hard; and how to get along with others, are just a few of the conversations happening around the dinner table as summer rapidly comes to a close. However, there is one important topic that might be overlooked - how to engage in civic virtue by watching closely what is unfolding in the Wachusett School District and, hopefully, learn the most valuable civic lesson there is to be had in America, i.e., that in this nation, our elected and retained officials are supposed to be held accountable to the people." View Comment
As a student of Classical Rome, respectfully, this quote has little applicability to the issue here discussed. Moreover, it was made in a context where the concept of freedom of speech was virtually unknown, at least as we've known it for the past 230 years or so.
And, ironically enough, one of the principal phenomena that led to Rome's downfall was, in fact, public graft and corruption amongst its leaders that went unchecked by Rome's citizens. View Comment
Any sorry : I meant to place "Frankly nor do I care" after the sentence ending "...it seems to me these,'no's' haven't exactly reigned supreme."
And again, I thank Mr. White for his civility, regardless of how strongly I may disagree with him on this. View Comment
I find it extraordinary disconcerting that we no longer even seem to ask "But can the taxpayers Realiy afford this at this juncture?". It's as if this is not even so much as a factor in our public discourse anymore.
Our economy is horrendous right now. It is projected that unemployment may rise to 9% or more next year.
When future generations look back on our time with astonishment as to how we came to be a nation that thoughtlessly and shamefully passed on the burden of multiple trillions of dollars of crippling debt onto our children, they will undoubtedly point out that we fast became a people of "I want so therefore I am entitled..."
I only pray that those people still bear the name "Americans."
Though at is rate, I tend to think that what was once called America will long since have been no more.
I cannot speak to the residents from the past whom Mr. White (whose sincerity i do not doubt, though I think he is sincerely wrong on this) says "always said no" as I have not lived here long enough to have seen them. I do know that since I have been here we have a massive new high school that came in millions over-budget and a new multimillion dollar public safety complex that must be two to three times the size of what we really need (whichi I voted for much to my regret) so it seems to me these "no's" haven't exactly reigned supreme.
But what I do know is while the building may well need to be replaced in the future, the fact is we are entering extremely perilous times economically. The fact is families will have less and less money. The fact is this inevitable multimillion dollar rebuild means they will have even less.
The fact is when this is combined with an economy headed into another sinking recession, or worse, this shall invariably mean outright economic despair for Holden's families.
Frankly nor do I care.
Yes. Because, after all, every other such endeavor related,to this airport has been such a smashing success.
More of the same from the city leadership's unbending, and historically-belied, belief that "if you build it they will come...." View Comment
Is there any real suspense here ? Any real question that a full rebuild is not going to be chosen by this committee?
It is well worth noting, moreover, that as the school committee chairman recently noted, the state does not always come through with uts end of the bargain. A single legislative enactment done on a late Friday afternoon (yes, this is commonplace on Beacon Hill) and next thing you know Holden is on the hook for the whole $40+ million.
Not that we can actually afford half of that anyway.
The mantra is just around the corner: "Come on,....just one more cup of coffee a day folks".....
And anyone who opposes this rebuild right now (I am in favor of it when....if..... the economy is something better than the worst one since the depression) shall instantly be labeled a "hater of our children", "backwards", etc Hey, perhaps, throw in "Satan" for good measure.
All the while, our families are simply at their limit. Unemployment is ticking up even higher, the housing market is horrendous, employers are extremely weary of what's around the corner thus not hiring and family budgets will necessarily be constricting even more, and worse.
But come on folks, the tax increase (proponents of this will say "levy" because they know enough not to use the T- word) will cost you but one cup of coffee or so a day.
I am sorry but right now we simply cannot afford any more coffee. View Comment
What I never quite understood is : The difference between a $50k audit and a $300k audit is $250k. In reality, when one factors in the cost of salary, benefits, administrative and overhead costs and oer employee pension allocation, every $50k teacher costs the district in excess of $100k a year. And there's nothing wrong with that, it is simply part of the economics of employment.
But in the final analysis, it is hardly as if that $250k differential would have "saved" a great many of these teachers. 2 perhaps ? Maybe 2.5 ?
And, I find many of this gentleman's comments to be disturbingly Nixonian in nature. He actually references "Athenian Democracy' in one breath but then goes on to excoriate those participating in the public discourse with whom he disagrees and/or who happen to use language he deems to be unworthy of this "democracy"
This is the hallmark of one who espouses "democracy" but in truth desires anything but the democratic process.
Anyone who proclaim that anyone who questions his or her authority, or anyone who dares disagree with them, are "haters" have precious little in the way of credibility.
It's really grown old fast....
We're clearly far better off without this man in this position.
Having said that, let's not fall into the trap of thinking that all this was caused by "personalities" and thus can be changed by "personalities"
It is far more complex and challenging than that.
So let's all begin anew, get to the bottom of what happened, and learn from all of this.
Most of all, as residents, as citizens let's all be a lot more vigilant and involved than we have been.
Question: Are pensions accounted for in the WRSD budgets?
There is now a federal accounting atsndard for public budgeting which requires that all public budgets must include the pension costs associated with each agency.
I simply do not know one way or the other and am simply trying to ascertain this for my own education on all of this.
I have worked with people in the Statehouse and do know that typically, state agencies do not include this number.
The budget process on the state level is very different bacause it is largely a shell game with things like this. Things like public employee pensions are rarely delineated in the respective agency budgets but instead are in line items in totally separate parts of the budget, thereby making it almost impossible to ascertain what the actual cost-allocation-per-employee is.
It is obviously far more than just salary alone. That is inescapable, too, so I am not in the least trying to cast blame, etc.
Just trying to find these things out.
At least there seems to be some good civil discourse here. While I applaud Mr. White for his balanced comments, I would also point something out:
If the project was, as everyone must acknowledge, fully $15 million over-budget, what does this say of the likelihood that had an entirely new school built on the site, this might well have similarly been $15 million over-budget, if not $30 million ?
It is things like this that make so many of us cynical about these public projects.
And rightfully so.
A good deal of healthy cynicism coupled with citizen activism (what some locally refer to as "agitators") may well have saved the taxpayers of Massachusetts and America how many BILLIONS of dollars in the Big Dig? View Comment
I agree with you. But that's precisely the problem: "Reatoring" these teachers (query: can it even be called "restoring" since they were never actually lost to begin with?) will do precisely that: lessen substantially any public outcry about the budget scandal going forward.
And that's why this is all rather suspicious, isn't it?
Perhaps this was not done as cynical political mauevering. That is entirely possible, in fairness.
But it most certainly looks consistent with such a scenario.
After all, we have a $16 trillion national debt and fast headed for fiscal collapse in this country, and yet the public discourse centers on the olympics, Kim Kardashian and the latest silly names the candidates are calling each other.
So anyone with a shred of political savy knows full well, we Americans are not exactly known for our collective attention spans. View Comment