On July 25, the Yarmouth Town Council followed up on the commitment it made during the budget process, and offered an opportunity to the School Committee to help create a bridge between the two sides of the school budget debate.
The proposal would take shape in the form of a citizen committee that would work with the School Committee, School Department and Town Council. The committee would be composed of citizens that might have disparate positions on the school budget, but would be vetted with regard to objectivity. As stated by Councilor Jim MacLeod, the council “sometimes lack(s) the mental shelf space to fully understand an issue. Citizen committees in the past have done the research and presented concise overviews on issues thus enabling the council to make appropriate and informed decisions.”
Although the concern expressed by many over the growth of the school budget appears to have been interpreted by the School Committee as a lack of appreciation for the good work they do, the people paying the bills have the right to ask questions regarding how their money is being spent.
I appreciate the effort put forth by the council to try and head off another divisive budget debate. MacLeod and Councilors Pat Thompson and Robert Waeldner deserve particular credit for their polite perseverance in a very contentious atmosphere.
It is imperative that the School Committee and Town Council work together in an effort to address the concerns of all Yarmouth citizens.