Letter: No FinCom ‘plan’ for School Budget

May 19, 2023

I am moved to write regarding the May 12 article, “FinCom Plan to Rein in School Budget Declined,” by Betsy Levinson. While the disproportionate school budget cuts proposed by the FinCom were indeed rejected by voters, and the reasonable budget approved by a margin of well-over 95 percent, there was no FinCom “plan”, as the article suggests.

Their “plan” was not a cooperative effort to understand the school’s needs and place appropriate value on education in Concord. In my opinion, it was a disproportionate line in the sand linked by implication, several times, at several meetings, by FinCom members, to the middle school building vote. Some have called it punitive, especially given the increases afforded other parts of the budget. In fact, according to their own slides, the 3.3 percent was linked to the “Consumer Price Index for Urban Workers”, versus any real needs the school system had.

The article begins, “Though the presentation didn’t sway enough Town Meeting voters to pass…” Right out of the gate, this is unrepresentative of what happened. One hundred percent of the public comment was against the FinCom and Select Board position – made by a wide and diverse cross section of citizens. Not a single speaker supported their position. Their amendment was defeated by at least 90%. The moderator reported an “overwhelming majority”. The video is public and can be watched by anyone.

The tone of this “after the fact” article seems to be a one-sided effort to repaint the FinCom in a better light after the town’s strong rebuke. Also, Article 17 was covered already by Jenn Paluzzi’s fair May 1 front page piece. I urge the Bridge to refrain from publishing slanted articles that seem steeped in a political objective, rather than facts.

Joel Gagne

Central Street