Letter: FinCom and the school budget

June 2, 2023

Regarding Ms. Suarez’s recent letter to the editor, my comments on the school budget quoted in the May 11 article were in response to questions sent to me by The Concord Bridge. They “represent the official stance of the Finance Committee” because I used the 2023 Finance Committee Report in formulating the responses.  I encourage all to read the report, at https://concordma.gov/DocumentCenter/View/41738/2023-Finance-Committee-Report. I was simply stating the Finance Committee’s “official stance”.

Suarez notes that many FinCom members supported the budget recommended by the School Committee. FinCom members can, should and do vote based on their own views about the issues under discussion, which may sometimes be different than the position ultimately taken by the FinCom as a whole.

The FinCom does, and will continue to, consider input from residents, town and school leadership, and others. For example, the preliminary guideline amount for Concord Public Schools was increased from $44,093,936 to $44,429,832 when the final guidelines were set, based on input from the School Committee and the Superintendent. Our recommended amount was not a sign of disrespect nor non-support of education.

The FinCom is tasked with advising the town on our common fiscal future.  We would be remiss if we did not highlight the concern we have about rising expenses that may cause future tax increases to exceed the levy limit. We seek to balance important town priorities such as public education with the overall financial health of the town. 

We encourage and welcome all residents to share their perspectives with the FinCom on education and other topics pertinent to our charge throughout the year.  Residents can send correspondence and attend meetings which are always open to the public and always include dedicated time for public comment.

Parashar Patel, Finance Committee Chair

Sudbury Road