Last year I tuned into the SAD 51 budget cycle late in the process. Upon learning of proposed cuts, I feared that our community was choosing a path that would erode the quality of our programs and compromise the educational experience of our youth. Guided by that concern, I voted no on the proposed budget – hoping that my vote would send a signal to the School Board that we should inject more money into the budget and restore lost positions.
This year, as a parent of three young children, I decided it was a worthwhile investment of my time to follow the budget formation closely from the beginning. Throughout that process, I have witnessed the considerable effort and time that the School Board and administrators have committed toward developing a budget that strikes a fair balance between maintaining our excellent programs and keeping costs as low as possible. I have been impressed by the care and concern expressed for all stakeholders in our community, regardless of whether or not those stakeholders have children who attend our schools. While I mourn the loss of the many individuals who have shared their talents so generously with our children, it is painfully clear that rejecting the proposed budget will not restore their jobs. In retrospect I realize that my decision to vote “no” last year, well-intentioned as it was, undermined the good work that went into the development of the budget. On June 3 and June 8 I will vote yes the first time.