Mr. N. Maybe if the town PICKED them up and took them to the polls they would be more likely to vote.( Sarcasim)...Sounds like the old it ain't my fault syndrome so prevelant on this website.IE town meeting attendance. When my old dude came out from voting he said the talk inside was more about the next selectmans race..Sorry if the spelling sucks. Haven't had my second cup of coffee yet .Does any one know the outcome??
I stopped buying newspapers when I became unemployed and couldn't afford it. (job classifieds were online).
Usually this forum is pretty good about mentioning things like local elections. But this election nobody mentioned it on this forum though I noticed one normal contributer had a letter to the editor in the recorder but did not post here.
May is a very busy time of year and I think our town should look for an opt in for email announcement with a two week notice (with sample ballot) and a notice the Friday before the election so people have time to research candidates and issues.
Robocalling is not a good idea because it doesn't give time for enough information.
Maybe the town could invest in some reusable signs to post before elections that have date of elections before hand so it is not a surprise to see the orange Vote Today signs.
The only reason I voted today was because I saw the signs on the way to work.
It's pretty arrogant to chastise people for not knowing about an election because they no longer "read the paper." Fewer and fewer people do. It's pretty much like complaining people don't hand-write letters anymore. Lost cause. Between candidates who don't bother to campaign and the evolution toward digital media, it's not surprising that people literally stumbled across this election.
If my kid's school can send me robo-calls about meetings that have absolutely nothing to do with her, then any town in MA can do the same about elections. Or they can create an email list for voters to opt in to and send out a reminder the day before an election. The cost would be negligible, and this conversation would become moot.
As for turnout, well, that's another story. You can lead a horse to the voting booth but you can't make him make an X. Because horses doesn't have fingers. And they would always vote neigh.
"if you're saying that you're not going to pay any attention unless and until you see a sign somewhere convenient to you on the day of the election, why would I want you to vote?"
Because I'd be sure to flip a coin ahead of time so I didn't go in unprepared ;-)
Seriously, because if I knew the election was this week / month I would have gotten informed. Town meeting is not an issue because there are seldom more people then seats. I know one of the selectboard candidates personally and would most likely support them, though I would be sure to find out about the others. I will admit to not knowing as much about the School Committee as I have in the past but, again, I would have tried to find information.
I'm not advocating that the town let people know there is an election the day it happens. I'm advocating that they let people know a week or two beforehand. Maybe I've been too busy for my own good, but other than being told by the selectboard candidate that they were running, I had not heard a single mention of the election until Mik posted about turnout this afternoon. Sorry to be remiss in my civic duty, either way.
I think those are good suggestions, and I agree that there are a lot of ways to get the word out.
But don't you think there's a role here, too, for personal responsibility? I mean, if there's a contested race, do you really want a lot of people showing up to vote only because they saw a sign while driving by their polling place, or they saw an announcement here or on Facebook that "there's an election today"?
If you're not going to read the newspapers, how do you expect to find out about the candidates? Don't expect "the town" to tell you, because "the town" can't do that -- that's the job of newspapers and other independent information sources.
Right now, I know there will be another election on June 25, to elect a US Senator to replace John Kerry, and to elect a selectman to replace Pat Allen. I also know who the candidates are, and I've already started thinking about which ones I prefer, and I've already started trying to pay attention to learning more about them before the election. No offense, but if you're saying that you're not going to pay any attention unless and until you see a sign somewhere convenient to you on the day of the election, why would I want you to vote?
Maybe the day and week are common knowledge but they aren't to me, and I almost never drive by my polling place. If the town had posted something on this corkboard, or if they had a Facebook page and they'd posted it there, great. If it's in the paper, either the Reporter or the Recorder, I'm probably not going to see it. It's pretty easy to inform people in the 21st century, but you have to use 21st century means to do it.
I didn't realize that the election was today until I got home and saw posts in this forum. I had to get my son to baseball in the opposite direction so I never found time to vote.
I saw no signs in Montague Center over the weekend. The fact that we know vote on what may be the least traveled road in the whole town doesn't help. I feel bad that I was unable to perform my civic duty, but I didn't know. Since when are elections on Monday, anyway?
Montague holds town elections every year in May -- for all I know, it's every year on the third Monday (which is what it was this year). There's always a selectboard seat open, there are always three school committee seats open (technically, it's GMRSD's election, but it's always combined with the town's), there are always 7 town meeting seats open in each precinct, and there are other boards that always have seats open and other positions that rotate through a multi-year cycle. Once you've lived here for a little while, if you care, you learn that there's going to be an election in May, and if if you read the papers it's usually not that hard to find out when it is.
In Millers, someone showed up to vote just after the polls closed - he'd noticed the signs earlier and made an effort to come back, but he had no idea what the election was about. I had mixed feelings as I saw him leave -- should I be sad that a potential voter hadn't had the chance, or should I be glad that someone who had no clue didn't get the opportunity to put an X randomly on a contested race?
Precinct 2 (which votes at the Highland Apartments in Millers Falls) had a total of 75 voters.
In this election, there were races for selectman, housing authority, and school committee (and in Precinct 1, I believe, town meeting). The Recorder has had features about the selectman race and the school committee race, on different days last week (I didn't see anything about the housing authority -- maybe I missed it). I actually think they did a reasonable job -- there's a lot going on all around the county, and only so much print space, and besides those two articles they've also covered Pat Allen's resignation and the upcoming election for her replacement on June 25.
The Montague Reporter had nothing in its last issue (other than three letters to the editor, two of which mentioned the date of the election), which I find disappointing, since its founding mission was to provide information on, um, Montague.
I don't know my precint number, I just know I have to go over towards Millers Falls to vote (which is out of my way) around 1:45, 60 ballots divided by 2 means 30 voters.
I assume most of the frequent posters on this board actually voted. The large percentage of voters I don't think know about this website and I didn't really see anything stand out in the recorder in the weekend edition to say there was voting today.
When I left Pct. 5 around 2:00 we were up to 28! Not even close to Pct. 1 and an embarrassment overall. Considering this had a contested BOS race and a lot of open Town Meeting seats -- in a year when people on this board have expressed impatience with town government -- a low turnout is a disappointment.
The head of the IRS was fired by Obama but Obama failed to mention that he was quitting in a couple of weeks. If Obama wanted to find out the truth he would call for a special prosecutor. So much for having an open administration.
Just in case anyone is interested in a little truth while the Republican attack machine and the lazy media go nuts over Benghazi and the IRS scandal, here is an interesting article about the tax-exempt status the Tea Party was applying for. It turns out they - or more likely Tea Party front organizations were applying for a tax exemption on the basis that they were "social welfare" organizations and primarily doing "educational" work on issues like... the Constitution, patriotism and so forth. What a joke.
Now if this article is correct the IRS has every reason to investigate the Tea Party phonies if they want a tax exemption and want to hide the names of their contributors under the guise that they are social welfare organizations. Of course the IRS should apply the same standards to "liberal" groups who do the same thing. If not, that would be the real scandal.
But it is interesting that in scanning the massive numbers of media reports on this over the past few days, I have not yet seen any mention of a rather important issue.... do these political groups in fact deserve to be tax exempt? And of course if you are going to investigate their political activities - which you should if they are applying for tax exempt status as primarily non-political organizations - you will be checking out their front groups which have words like "patriot," "tea party" and "constitution" in them
But of course ignoring fundamental details - whether liberals or conservatives do it - is all part of the lazy media scandal machine.
The school committee may not be"looking for help" with the GMRSD budget (I suspect if the issue is framed that way you will get a negative reaction). But let's just say a standard /consistent set of documents at the various meetings with an agreed upon way of analyzing them would improve the situation.
No I do not think the town boards should replace the school committee in terms of its oversight budget role. I have never said that and I absolutely do not think that. But I have never understood this rather arbitrary distinction you make between the role of the finance committee and the role of the school committee. It is not clear what the basis of this is or what its practical value is.
The reality is, whatever your philosophy or theory, the school committee has hearings and goes before town boards and town meetings. They present data and information to make their case for their budget. Board members and town meeting members ask questions about that data and all sorts of other issues. Doesn't it make sense to have the right data so we can have that discussion? Doesn't it make sense to solve what is obviously a problem rather than get into a philosophical discussion about the roles of committees?
Also as a practical matter, the fin coms tend to be better at budget analysis (it is what they do) so they can in fact help the school committee which has a tremendous amount on its plate and whose members tend not to specialize in budget analysis. I am not talking about replacing the SC oversight role but simply helping to improve the situation, which really is not good.
Sitting back and saying "that's not our role" may be somewhat true but does not solve the problem. And in fact is contradicted by what actually happens at these hearings/town meeting etc.
I should add that I personally do not think that the ideal situation is that the town boards get a lot of detailed information from the school district that they can spend time analyzing. I think that the ideal situation is that the school committee does the analyzing, and that the town boards simply confirm that they are doing it, along with having discussions about trends in the town assessments, educational health of the school system, etc.
I get the impression (maybe I'm wrong) that you've written the school committee off in this process, leaving the town boards as the only check on a district that is careering like a driverless bus. If that's the case, I think it's a problem that will not be solved by the town boards taking over the process -- it will be solved by the school committee stepping up to the plate and taking its proper role in the budget development, analysis, and presentation.
Yes, a meeting early in the process for FY15 sounds like a good idea.
Beyond that, I think you and I have a communication problem. You refer to "a budget hearing with no budget" -- what are you talking about? GMRSD had a budget hearing on 2/12 at which they presented a budget (not much detail -- or explanation -- but it was a budget; in fact, it was the only handout they'd prepared for the hearing). The hearing on 3/6 was technically about the _assessment_, not the budget, although we had asked for "T1-T2 like" information (i.e. somewhat detailed budget). We didn't get it, and so we asked again in the follow-up email -- how does that translate to "no one on the finance committee says, 'hey where's your budget?'"?
Maybe we could have been more aggressive during the meeting in asking for the information -- I think that's a judgment call, and I'm not going to say we clearly did the right thing. But there were a number of factors at play; one was our desire to get good information; another was the district's obvious reluctance share more than they felt they had to, based on their concern (for whatever reason) that town boards were trying to meddle in their budget process; and a third (and I think important) one was that their budget was changing rapidly -- on 3/6 it was over $200,000 lower than it was on 2/12, and by 3/29 it had dropped another $25,000, only to drop another $25,000 by 4/2 (the day of the fin comm's final vote). Joyce Phillips said during that period that providing updated budget information every time there was a change would be "confusing" -- arguably, she has a point, and how to provide useful information that isn't confusing should be one of the topics of the meeting mentioned above. I think it's pretty clear that the district did not feel up to the task this time around.
Finally, I think you are completely wrong in suggesting that I consider "even the mildest criticism of the finance committee" to be off-base. What I consider to be off-base are statements about the finance committee that are simply not true, especially when you accuse us of not knowing how to do things that we definitely do know how to do. Dealing with grants data isn't that hard -- they're just another revenue source, although one with (usually) some restrictions on what they can be spent on. We deal with these every year for the town budget, and GMRSD is the same idea. First, you separate out the grants for those things that exist because of the grant and will end if and when the grand ends. Those are interesting, but unless you have reason to believe the grants will go on forever you consider them to be add-ons to your basic mission. Then you have the grants that fund things that will need to be funded whether the grants are there or not. Those are much more interesting, in that the trends in grant funding may end up affecting trends in your overall budget (examples on the town side are the COPS grants in the past, and Chapter 90 monies). The information we got this year did not make a distinction between the two types of grants (yes, we did ask), so it wasn't useful for understanding how grants affect the core budget, but it was more than we've gotten in the past, and I hope we can do better next year.
So the bottom line is that rather than go back and forth over email for months next year the boards should meet early in the process and hopefully agree to a common set of documents for the various presentations, including a good list o budget assumptions. I would add that a) try to avoid different sets of docs with different formats every time there is a hearing. and b) maybe even have some discussion of how to analyze this material.
And yes I think it is a very serious communication problem when you have a budget hearing with no budget and no one on the finance committee says, "hey where's your budget?" The communication problem is caused by going back and forth over email rather than sitting down and trying to come to an agreement. Also as far as I can tell the members of the school committee were never involved in the discussion and I am not sure the finance board members were either.
I really do not think the various points about state law etc. are relevant if they were used as an excuse not to share information. State law does not specify what information regional school districts should share with member towns and yet all districts I have seen share a certain amount of information because of course they want support for budgets. The problem is the quality is very low. To use state law as an excuse for that, if that happened, is a smokescreen.
But I think the other bottom line here is that we can take pot shots at the school committee all the time but even the mildest criticism of the finance committee (as in my comment that members were not sure what to do with the grant data they asked for*) is a "slur" and you take this very personally. Just so I know what the rules are around here.
*BTW I am not sure what to do with the grant data either so I guess I am insulting myself. Just to make you feel better.
I don't think it's a communication problem -- I think the town boards were very clear about what we hoped to receive. I think the district (meaning the superintendent and the school committee chair, as well as others) didn't want to share any more information with the towns than they had to until they had everything buttoned up.
Would I have preferred that they share more than they did? Yes, I would have. Were they required to do more? I don't think they were. The chair made a point at more than one meeting of enumerating the district's responsibilities under state law, the district agreement, and their budget process, and I think they met their obligations.
As for being "defensive", I felt a need to respond to your claim (5/6) that "[t]he key oversight committees, particularly the school committee but also the finance committees do not seem to understand why [budget assumptions are] important for proper budget analysis" by pointing out that the finance committee did consider them important, and in fact asked for them several times.
You followed that up with the claim, on 5/9, that "did not seem that anyone was quite sure what to do with [grant information provided on 3/6], or how to analyze it." Jeff, I think you have to recognize that when you made that statement you were talking about me, among others, as I am on the finance committee and I received that information, and so I take that charge personally (just as I take the charge that we didn't understand why budget assumptions are important personally).
In my opinion, the information we were provided about grants was useful in that it was more than we have seen in the past, but it was insufficient to provide a real understanding of how grants figure in to the ongoing GMRSD budget. I think it would be useful to understand that, but right now I don't think we have enough information; if you disagree, perhaps you can explain to me why I'm wrong.
But I really find myself wondering why we're even having this conversation. You've noted that information flow and communication were not ideal during this past budget process, and I've agreeed. You've suggested some improvements for next year, and I've agreed they would be helpful. Is there a reason why we need to keep talking about this?
MJ, I watched some of the meeting last night down in the village. I also was quite surprised with the Montague School Apartment vote.( Any one that thinks the change was not made just for the anticipated deal should get their heads out of their butts). All the talk on here and at the committee meetings it is quite obvious folks that care about the village are not town meeting members. As I said the old dude I help was one of the 13 against. There was a case for an OPEN town meeting as I've ever seen. Any one have a count on attendance by preceinct (sp.)? Mainly #1 and #2.Folks in Millers lost Highland so more of them should have been more supportive. My dude says the gent in front of him didn't vote on it either way. Oh well. Happy Mothers Day to all the MOMS .....Ed
I don't have my notes right on hand, nor is the warrant readily available, so I am recalling from memory a $8200? approval to update Town Hall technology, right?
I know it's been said here before, but this town does have a shockingly behind-the-times and scarce means of updated information for the public. Every department has a limited website and seems to ignore the importance of broadband and it's capabilities. (How amazing would it be if Wendy at a Selectboard meeting or Deb at a Town Meeting had an open chat feature, available to those at home, watching MCTV? If all related documents to the agenda were posted in one easy section? )
I appreciate both Jeff and Mike's attention to detail in both posting here and when speaking at Town Meetings. I just wish there was more of an detailed blog/site for the Selectboard, the School Board, etc. Updated minutes, next to video of the meetings, etc. Surely there's intern opportunities to embrace the internet?
As for this meeting, to ask us to ignore all tag sales, weekend chores and beautiful weather was a lesson in Yankee politics for me. Months of online discussion and demanded meetings on several articles, then several 30+ minutes of debate, then a generally unanimous vote? Huh? Say WHHHHAAAAT?
Well maybe I should not have made the last comment. about rocket science but a simple list of documents should not really be all that hard to get. After months of back and forth over email between the fin com and school committee the school district presented a budget to the fin com with NO BUDGET and no budget assumptions. I mean really don't you think there is a communication problem here?
This is why people get frustrated with local government and say the hell with it.
You seem to be getting a bit defensive, especially as someone who has been a frequent sharp critic of the school committee on this corkboard.
I agree with you that the process can be improved, and that a meeting early in the budget cycle next year to clarify and establish expectations on all sides would be a good idea.
As you know, though, we don't always agree on the extent to which town boards should be involved in the district's budget process, and I don't see how your gratuitous slurs of those boards serve any useful purpose.
You've been on the school committee, and on the finance committee before that, and the GMRSD budget process has been an ongoing interest (obsession? ;-)) of yours. If all this "really is not rocket science", why didn't you just set it all straight when you had the chance?
Well the bottom line is that this crucial document was requested repeatedly. We got it at the beginning of the process but then it disappeared.
At the finance committee hearings on the GMRSD BUDGET in early March (the March 6 meeting Mike refers to) there were NO budget assumptions and in fact no line item budget of any kind. That is, a budget hearing with no budget. At that point someone should have realized there was a serious communication problem and encouraged the boards to resolve it.
After constant badgering by me we got something called "budget assumptions" at town meeting but it was in a completely different format from the original and did not contain the basic numbers, only percentages. It was essentially useless. At a certain point one wonders if the goal is to drive me nuts. Probably not but if so, this strategy is succeeding.
Meanwhile Finance Committee members had focused on the issue of grants and in fact did get a list of grants at the March 6 meeting. But it did not seem that anyone was quite sure what to do with this list, or how to analyze it.
I think the Finance Committees, Selectboards and School Committee should meet next December and decide what documents should be part of the budget process (and perhaps how to analyze them). This really is not rocket science.
Just to set the record straight on one point: budget assumptions were asked for (by Jeff) at the public hearing on the GMRSD budget on 2/12. I was present, and I would have asked for them if Jeff hadn't.
In preparation for the meeting on 3/6 between the selectboards and finance committees of both towns and GMRSD to discuss their budget, I emailed the interim superintendent and school committee reminding them of the questions that had been asked so far, so that they could be prepared to answer them at that meeting. Budget assumptions were on the list.
At the 3/6 meeting, some questions were answered ,but others weren't, and new questions arose, and as a follow-up to that meeting I sent another email to the district listing the what we were still looking for. Budget assumptions were on that list.
Three weeks later, and four days before Montague's absolutely final deadline for making any more budget decisions, the district provided some of the items we had asked for. Budget assumptions were not among them, and in any case there was not much time to consider them, and no time to seek clarifications or further information. The only budget assumptions we actually received were those provided to us along with town meeting members last Saturday.
I don't think it's accurate to say that the town boards did not understand the importance of this information: we thought it was important, we asked for it, and we didn't get it. There were also other things we thought were important; we got some of them, we didn't get others.
Although GMRSD's final assessment request was one that I felt comfortable supporting, I have a much poorer understanding of the process by which it was developed than I have in past years. I hope this can change next year, and I think a meeting early in the process to confirm what information will be provided, and when, is a good first step.
Congratulations to Jhanold and SusanSanSoucie for being the closest in the "When Will it End?" poll. They chose 3:30 from the list and Town Meeting actually ended at 3:18.
Next up, MikeNaughton and Clegg chose 4:00; Newbie and JohnTobey chose 4:30; Lithium, GGarrison and I chose 5:00; AbtFace chose 1:30; three other poll takers chose 6:00, 6:30 and 7:00.
The question of whether Article 7 (Town budget) will take more than an hour was chosen by me, MikeNaughton, MichaelNelson, Newbie, clegg, JohnTobey, Dominique and SusanSanSoucie, and we were WRONG. I don't have my notes in front of me, but I believe that only took about 35 minutes.
The question of whether Article 27 (the Zoning by-law change) would take more than two hours was chosen by me, MichaelNelson, Newbie, SusanSanSoucie, Rob and AbtFace, and we were also WRONG, as it took exactly one hour.
Fun stuff. Thanks for participating. We should do this more often.
Well I think there is a very serious problem with transparency and oversight re the school budget. The bottom line was very good and the budget passed unanimously for the third year in a row. Hopefully this will help us get out or level 4 (which in my opinion we should never have been in in the first place!). But there is a real question as to whether the budget was propped up by one time revenues.
A crucial document called "budget assumptions" handed out at the beginning of the process showed that the budget in fact increased by over $900,000, which is around twice available revenue increases for the district. The budget was brought into balance by reducing a line item by $379,000 apparently using grants and revolving fund surpluses. Also assessments were reduced by what appears to be a one-time $130,000 increase in medicaid reimbursements. The total of these revenues, which may not last, reduces the budget and assessments by over $500,000 and makes them affordable.
But will this last? Maybe, maybe not but no one but me seems to be asking the question. Part of the problem is that the school district leadership despite repeated requests has been unwilling to hand out an updated version of "budget assumptions" similar to the one we got in January.. After numerous requests prior to town meeting we got a very inadequate, stripped down version with no numbers that really does not tell you much.
The key oversight committees, particularly the school committee but also the finance committees do not seem to understand why this information is important for proper budget analysis. So it has now become a weird obsession that Jeff Singleton brings up at every meeting. This really is not fair. We have frequently gotten budget assumptions in the past for a reason but it seems to come and go for no apparent reason.
Mike Naughton also raised the issue of an "all funds" line item budget
(which shows specific uses of grants etc) that is consistent with the budget on the assessment sheet. I have some technical questions about this (his proposal might not leave room on the spreadsheet for previous years) but it is a fair point - we essentially now have documents handed out that show two different ways of calculating the budget. Mike's legitimate request was simply ignored by the school committee.
The school committee and finance committee should meet at the beginning of next year's budget process and commit to a consistent set of budget documents that tell the whole story. This really should not be so hard.
Being a Town Meeting Member from Prec. 2, I understand the discouragement, many others from other precincts left as well. Very disheartening when there are many complaints on what is going on in town. Maybe town elections should be before the Annual Town Meeting so that the ones that are opting out on re-election don't pass on the meeting.
Down in the village taking my old dude to Food City. He wasn't too happy with the prec. 2 folks that split before town meeting was over. Also a few no shows. Also VERY upset over the zoning change vote. He and a dozen others were the only ones against it. Very weird with all the folks that went to the hearings. I feel bad for the folks by the school if the plans for all those apts. come to pass. Sure as heck wouldn't want it next to me. Oh well. Happy May 5th all. Ed
I know information for other town meetings has been posted ahead of time in the Town Meetings section. Once I called when I didn't see it, and it was up the same day. I think if people were to start checking, and calling the town clerk if they don't see it within a reasonable time after the warrant has been finalized, it would start being posted regularly. My guess is that it's just a new habit that needs to be developed ....
If anyone is watching this at home and also has access to a computer, could you post here when we're on Article 22? There are people who want to speak to Article 27 but can't spend the whole day at the meeting. Thanks.
Btw, I would do it but I don't get cell service in the building.
Kind of late for comment. I lived in a Montague Center duplex (there are a bunch of the same vintage around town) for about 5 years. The area was just over 600 sq. ft. I had 2 regular size bedrooms and a small one that was perfect for a home office, an open plan living room kitchen and 2 bathrooms. It was quite comfortable except for a poorly constructed floor which was very cold due to no vapor barrier. I now own my own home, a small farm house with 3 bedrooms, 1 bath all in about 900 sq.ft. It is plenty of room for 2-3 people to live in comfortably. Somewhat energy efficient.
What is the square footage of your home? If I could build a home from scratch I would want to down size and build green. I would rather not build a home just to accommodate a lot of stuff, especially now that I am getting older.
Wage info is available on the Town website, however entire contracts should be available for information regarding the current fringe benefit package and also future liabilities which may be incurred as a result of the contracts.
This article on the annual town meeting warrant would change the current zoning bylaw which establishes a minimum of 700 square feet for dwelling units. The proposal would change this to a minimum of 500 square feet for multifamily units, with size below this threshold allowed by special permit.
This change is obviously a response to the Montague School Building controversy, where a variance was given to the developer to allow for potentially ten units below the current 700 square foot minimum.
I happen to think the proposed Montague Center School project is a good one, although perhaps too big. I also think the 700 square foot minimum needs to be changed for some of the reasons the planning board has cited. We should allow smaller apartments and few towns have zoning laws like this. For example I talked to the Franklin County COG building inspector today who said none of the towns they serve (at least a dozen) have any minimum at all. They handle potential problems via building codes, not the zoning laws. Greenfield, for example, has no minimum.
But I have extreme problems with the proposed bylaw change and will probably vote against it. It is not at all clear why the 500 square foot minimum was chosen and what the criteria will be for special permits below that amount.
The explanation for the bylaw change being handed to town meeting members admits that the town has treated variances relating to this issue as special permits. Not only does this essentially throw in the towel in the court case against the town, but it is an admission that the town has violated 75 years of regulations and case law. I am honestly not attacking anyone but I think it is a huge mistake in this context to give the town the right to issue special permits below 500 square feet. If they can not get the criteria right on variances, what on earth will be the criteria for special permits below 500 feet?
The 700 foot bylaw needs to be changed but this proposal does not appear to have a strong rationale. This is planning on the fly.
My take is that the school committee should analyze (and understand) the budget; the selectboards and fin comms should ask questions to make sure things are on the right track; and town meeting should follow up with the school committee on any further questions.
I think it's important to remember that GMRSD is a separate entity, much like FRCOG and FCTS. In Montague, the fin comm does not analyze their budgets in any great detail -- instead, we look at what we're being assessed and ask, "does this seem reasonable?". In the case of FCTS, they come before us every year with their superintendent, their business manager, and one of Montague's representatives on the school committee, and the Montague rep answers as many questions as the others. I'm talking about Rich Kuklewicz here -- he clearly knows the school and the budget and he can hold his own in any discussion. That's the sort of thing that inspires confidence (at least in me) that a district is well-managed.
Your descriptions of the difficulties of overseeing the GMRSD budget sound like process problems within GMRSD. (It's ironic to me that, in my experience, GMRSD school committee meetings spend more time talking about "process" than all other boards and committees combined, and yet they one of the most ineffective committees [IMHO] for actually getting things done [time spend/actions taken]. Is there a connection here? ;-)).
I do agree with you that a standard set of documents would be helpful, but the trick is a) getting everyone to agree on what that set of documents should be, and b) developing the habit of providing them on a regular basis. We're still working on that.
Well i would agree that the school committee should be doing a better job monitoring and explaining changes in their own budget. They are the main oversight board for the school budget. But that does not mean that the finance committees should not also be on top of what is going on, for example whether the budget is viable in the long run. I do think that is what town meeting is looking for. To do that you need a standard set of documents and an agreed-upon way to analyze them. I really do not see why this should be so hard to achieve.
I also think the reality is that school committees in general tend not to be the best organizations in terms of budget analysis. They have a great deal on their plate, get these huge packets in the mail before each meeting with an enormous variety of policy stuff in them. The school budget is often buried within Superintendent evaluations, MCAS scores, policies for specific schools, collective bargaining issues and on and on. School committee members are generally on the committee for reasons other than finance.
Having served on both the finance committee and the school committee I can tell you they are very different organizations. Fin Coms have a much more focused mission and agenda... the budget! They tend to be composed of people who are interested in analyzing budgets and are good at it. It is what they do. That is the reality of the situation.
So when the school budge goes down by $200,000, and town assessments drop by $150,000 (your example), the tendency on the SC is to smile and say "great that will make the towns happy" and move on to other stuff. There is also great pressure on the committee for "good publicity" so raising picky questions about a budget that seems to be affordable or constantly demanding "budget assumptions" is not considered good form. I do not think this is a good situation but for it to change the town committees need to encourage better documentation and better analysis.
But again I think the problem is solvable with a standard set of documents and a standard method of evaluating them. That is not happening now and it should.
I share your concerns. As a finance committe member, I am disappointed that we do not have more information going in to town meeting. But I'd like to be clear -- I wasn't looking for that information so that I could analyze the district budget; I was looking for it in order to be convinced that the school committee had analyzed the budget. I'm afraid that up to now I have not been convinced.
You mentioned budget assumptions -- I agree that they're important, and the only ones I know about were given to the school committee back in January, in support of a budget that is now long out of date. Yes, it would be nice if the selectboards and fin comms had been given updated versions, but even nicer would have been for the school committee to have been given updated versions and to have discussed them in public meetings.
One simple example: between the school committee meeting on 2/26 and their meeting with the selectboards and fin comms of Gill and Montague on 3/6, the so-called "all funds budget" went from $19,329,290 to $19,122,495, causing a reduction in the assessments of roughly $150,000. The reduced assessments were welcome news, but I'm not aware that the school committee ever discussed the greater that $200,000 drop in the overall budget (they certainly didn't do so between those two dates -- they didn't meet).
As a finance committee member, I am very aware that the GMRSD budget assessment is the biggest item we consider, but there are a lot of other items that are very important to maintaining an adequate, appropriate, and affordable budget that I have to think about. Since the school committee is charged with overseeing the school district, I'd like to be able to trust them to do that, so that I can focus on things that I have more control over. Right now, I'm afraid I haven't seen much evidence that that has happened during the current budget cycle.
I'd love to be proven wrong, though. I know some school committee members monitor this site -- have I missed something?
The school district assessment is, of course, one of the biggest dollar items on the town meeting agenda and one of the biggest expenditures in the budget. This year's assessment appears to be affordable for the town. This is at least the third year in a row of affordable assessments after approximately a decade of sharp debates and divisions over assessments that were generally not affordable. Thus progress is being made and hopefully it will continue. Hopefully the district should get out of "level 4" (which IMHO it should never have been in the first place).
That does not, however, mean that there are no issues to be resolved. There are legitimate questions as to whether this budget is viable. I am not saying it is not viable but there are legitimate questions that need to be asked. The current budget has an increase of approximately $900,000 (again my analysis and that can perhaps be debated). That is clearly not affordable if you look at the basic revenue increases. The budget and assessments are lowered to affordability by lowering the out of district sped line item by approx. $375,000 and by what appears to be a one time medicaid reimbursement increase of approx $130,000 which totals a $500,000 reduction. Is that viable in the long term? Someone needs to ask and of course I plan to.
One of the reason this question as not been asked is that we have not gotten a consistent set of documents on the budget. The key is a document called "budget assumptions" sometimes called "budget drivers". IMHO you can not analyze the budget without it. You can not get the numbers I just cited without it. We have gotten this document in the past but it has been very inconsistent. It is not been consistently provided to either the school committee, the fin come or town meeting. Not malicious, just not well organized with good communication between the boards.
It sounds picky but it is not. You can not evaluate the budget without the right docs. Town meeting was very critical of both the school district leadership and the finance committee last year year for not providing proper documentation. There has been some rather ragged communication between the finance committee and the school district leadership on this but I am not convinced we are there yet in terms of what you need to understand this budget.
Again this is one of the biggest expenditures and perennially one of the biggest issues on town meeting. I see similar assessment cost and documentation problems in other towns and districts as well. Sorry for the long post.
- Article 5 of the STM should cause debate since they just asked for $24.5k back in Feb.
- but they've requested that stipends be increased by $500/year. That I'd wager a dollar that will have at least one amendment offered. Also, #29 should cause a stir given how much debate there was over the no-cost-to-the-town stipend increase for the retirement board.
- And, lest we not forget, there will be the obligatory discussion / rant on the Colle.
Not sure what the purpose of this town meeting poll is, but I have been on TM for about 13 years and nearly all of the ATMs have ended somewhere between 3:30 and 5:00. Could be wrong but that is my recollection. Not to ruin anyone's fun.
So just to remind everyone, there will be a Precinct 1 pre-town meeting tomorrow night (Thursday, 4-25) at 7:00 at the fire station on Old Sunderland Road. The zoning bylaw change which will impact the Montague Center School project, among other things, will be on the agenda.
Montague Center School: 22+ downtown apartments plan meeting, Tues 3/12
On Tuesday, March 12 at 6:30 pm, there is a Planning Board meeting at Town Hall to consider removing a long standing zoning bylaw that requires any new apartments in town be at least 700 sq. ft. Without the bylaw, newly defined apartments could be as small as 350 sq ft for a 2 bedroom unit.
Most immediately, and admittedly the motivation behind the proposed change, the removal of the bylaw would allow the proposed developer of The Montague Center School to carve the building into at least 22 apartments, with many of them being below that minimum size. Currently, he has proposed 8 of the 22 apartments below legal size. If the Planning Board recommends getting rid of the bylaw and it passes Town Meeting, he could potentially add even more/ even smaller apartments to the school project.
And similarly, across all 5 villages, developers could reduce apartment size to maximize profits by increasing the human density of the neighborhoods.
If you care about the size, scope & implications of the new apartment complex proposed for Montague Center or if you care about the density of your neighborhood anywhere in town, please come to this meeting.
The plan to convert the Montague Center school to a 33 bedroom (or more) apartment building is rushing quickly through the town approval process. There are few opportunities left to weigh in on this.This is a rare chance to share your concerns.
Tuesday, March 12 at 6:30 pm: Planning Board meeting at Town Hall
I watched some of that side show today. These cities are "gun free" zones are the same cities with all the gang, drug shootings etc. these weapons were never obtained legally and never will be they are criminals. So the logic is lets prevent good honest people from owning them so that all the inner city crime will stop. How many of the past shootings were done by a licensed gun owner. The kid in CT stole his mothers gun and killed her with it. Weapons should all be stored in a locked gun cabinet, gun case, vault etc. I'm for background checks to help prevent those people who should not have agin from getting one. But once you obtain your license to carry permit, that should be it. And let's not keep confusing semi auto with automatic weapons. The liberal media has their heads up their asses with facts. One so called liberal anti gun nut did not the know the difference between a magazine or a clip. Because a rifle has a pistol grip its evil. BS. Focus more on Hollywood when they produce movies like "bullet to the head" and these violent video games that kids play for hours on end. And doctors and drug companies that have kids and adults all hopped up on drugs that cause people to commit suiced and acts of violence.
Well it is a snowy, snuggley day. A great time to kick back with a nice Irish coffee and consider the "public option" again. It turns out the public option, which was eliminated from Obamacare early in the debate, is back on the table, at least in the sense that some liberal Democrats in the House have figured out a smart and nifty way to raise it again. Take a look at this..
It turns out the concept will save the government billions of dollars over the next decade. Of course most Republicans and some Democrats hate it because it looks like European style national health care. Scary, even though essentially it is the same as Medicare.
Not familiar with the public option? Well it is/was essentially a proposal to offer all Americans a publicly financed health care option like Medicare to compete with the insurance-based plans in the new universal health care law. It is a smart idea politically and fiscally. It would save billions compared to most current insurance-based systems because it would eliminate or reduce the wasteful insurance industry. Cost controls would be much easier, as they are now in traditional Medicare. It would compete with private plans so those who claim to support market competition should not oppose it. (Of course they do but it puts conservatives in a rather awkward position which is fun).
There are problems. The biggest one is that it might actually work in terms of providing health care for millions at a lower cost. As a result many businesses who now have insurance-based plans would "dump" employees into the system, leading to something that looked like Canadian single payer. How terrible! The second problem is that it has no support among Republicans, most of whom are in an ideological box, and many Democrats who shake in their boots when anyone mentions "government controlled health care." Third, there is the very real issue that it takes the biggest fiscal problem the government has now - how to finance health care - and makes it much much bigger. But the subsidies in Obamacare have a similar problem and, quite frankly, so will Paul Ryan's voucher (errr "premium support*) plan for Medicare. The estimates seem to suggest that the public option will be cheaper for the federal government, depending of course on your assumptions re how big the program will get.
It is going nowhere but raising it now in the context of deficit reduction is smart. So relax, put a log on the fire and consider the public option.
*It is my impression that Ryan's proposal, which would give elderly Americans who retire in 2022 a fixed amount to buy health insurance or traditional Medicare so it is claimed, was originally called a "voucher." But Republican political consultants pointed out that surveys show that for some reason Americans don't like the word "voucher." Not clear why. Maybe because it reminds us of those ugly green bags small businesses sometimes use to make deposits. Anyway, Ryan and his consultants came up with the phrase "income support," not exactly a household name but more innocuous. Liberals of course continue to insist it is really a terrible "voucher."
Oooh, MikeNaughton! You have earned my respect. (Disclaimer: I do not use any drug other than occasionally caffeine, but my cynicism about public drug policy knows no bound.) Ever watch Run from the Cure?
It's great that people are thinking, communicating and trying to figure out how to adjust our actions to better suit our needs. At the same time, I'm not sure legalizing and taxing heroin is a good idea in the long-term. And I'm pretty sure that allowing government representatives or LEOs to enter our dwellings for spot weapons inspections isn't going to make anyone feel safer or less vulnerable.
"Make all states as tough as Massachusetts and enforce the laws you already have now."
I agree -- good idea. Too bad the NRA doesn't support that, but maybe with pressure they will.
"And also, don't give these weapons to the Mexican drug lords."
Kind of off topic, but if we legalized drugs, and taxed and regulated them as we do alcohol and tobacco, there would not be any Mexican drug lords (or, for that matter, drug lords of any other nationality).
As long as we continue our stupid and misguided "war on drugs", there will be drug lords who feed the habits, and they will get the weapons they think they need from somewhere.
I use my flat top AR for coyote and varmint hunting. It's every bit as accurate as my bolt action rifles. There is no bayonet lug, or folding stock, or flash suppressor , or silencer on it. It shoots one bullet every time you pull the trigger. It does not have a select fire option if your not sure what this is look it up. Everyone who is willing to jump on the "Ban" band wagon should at the very least know what they are talking about. 5 round magazines are all that is allowed for hunting in is state. People fear what they don't understand or know about. The last 10 year assault weapons ban did nothing to lower crimes committed with them. Therefore the ban was lifted. Make all states as tough as Massachusetts and enforce the laws you already have now.
And also, don't give these weapons to the Mexican drug lords. Oh wait never mind.
The president needs to lead by example. He should take away all the assault weapons from the secret service and let them protect he and his family with kinder and less mean looking weapons. After all assault weapons kill people.
Lots of hot air being blown around on this board lately. The guns used in Newtown last week were all legally owned. There are state laws and federal laws which need to be followed when purchasing a firearm. I as a gun dealer and strong supporter of the NRA believe the laws we have now should be enforced, but they are not.
Why is the man who looks like Ronald McDonald the man who shot up people at the movie theater being kept alive? He shot people. He should be taken to the town common and shot by firing squad. Maybe then an idiot without a conscience would think twice before pulling the trigger again.
Sick. Yeah. The poor trigger man was mentally challenged. Poor kid shot his mother while she slept and then went loose on young innocent children and school facilty.
More gun control. Sure i'm all for it. All the gun owners I know are "in control" so why tighten the noose.
Enforce the laws we have. Its a waste of time and money to make more laws.
The jackasses on Capitol Hill are driving sales of guns and ammo through the roof. They need to take a break and think about what they need to do. Thats not very proactive. Sometime next month. Yes I said month. Maybe there will be more laws on the books dictating what I can and can't have.
Mickjen you are advocating for a police state where they are allowed to randomly go into homes looking for evidence to use against you with no reason.
Parenting and pet ownership do not require any training or a license. Yes there are laws regulating child and pet care but there are also laws about gun ownership already on the books. It is more difficult to get a gun than a kid (but getting the kid has a longer waiting period of nine months)
The issue of assualt weapons does need addressing, namely defining what makes an assualt weapon an assualt weapon. Currently many weapons most people would think were assualt weapons are not because the do not meet one or more of the criteria.
. I agree the second admendment does need to be reread since it did not grant the individual the right to bear arms but members of a well regulated militia meaning not every one but only specially trained individuals. The courts have ruled in the past to interpret it to mean an individuals right.
Banning all guns is not going to happen and the concept of arming more people isn't the answer. The first step in my opinion is to set national standards instead of the misnash of current state laws.
The list of the top ten crime stories is probably determined by a news agency and making it all about guns is part of their agenda to make the news what they want, sensationalism. Where did the crime of HSBC laundrying drug money rank? What the banks and wall street have done to people isn't crime because no one was ever charged with a crime.
By assualt rifle do you mean an assault weapon, defined as any Semi-automatic rifles able to accept detachable magazines and two or more of the following:
-Folding or telescoping stock
-Flash suppressor, or threaded barrel designed to accommodate one
-Grenade launcher (more precisely, a muzzle device that enables launching or firing rifle grenades, though this applies only to muzzle mounted grenade launchers and not those mounted externally).
-Semi-automatic pistols with detachable magazines and two or more of the following:
-Magazine that attaches outside the pistol grip
-Threaded barrel to attach barrel extender, flash suppressor, handgrip, or suppressor
-Barrel shroud that can be used as a hand-hold
-Unloaded weight of 50 oz (1.4 kg) or more
-A semi-automatic version of a fully automatic firearm.
Semi-automatic shotguns with two or more of the following:
-Folding or telescoping stock
-Fixed capacity of more than 5 rounds
Sure ban them because it is so hard to Modify a weapon. It may not be a bad idea to get military looking weapons out of sporting goods stores where kids and less weapon oriented people may see and desire them. But at that rate ban toy guns as well, especially air-soft. I believe cigarettes should definitely be kept under the counter at convenience stores as well, no need to cover a whole wall with death for everyone to see and interpret as normal. These devices need not be advertised in this manner, those who want them and need them badly enough will find them. Maybe just ban open display at stores of anything other than black powder rifles and cigars, those are boring enough...
And Do you own Any firearms? Are you experienced with using them? What about a bow? A knife to be used outside of the kitchen? Have you ever competed in sports? Body building? Do you trust the local police and their commitment to our community? Count on them to protect you? Do you think they could ever be compromised by outside influences? Do you know where the money came from for the "Public Safety Complex"? How bout the tinted out short bus parked behind it? Ill keep my trust in the heavily armed neighbors who live around me. I don't have an FID, I'm not very good at paperwork. But I know if I ever needed help, my neighbors would help me. I prefer to have them armed and ready.
I'm all for responsible gun ownership, but I think there's no reason any civilian should OWN assault rifles. Wanna play w them at the range? Sure, rent the gun there. But sell it to these paranoid doomsday preppers? No. They're not a security gun. They're just mass murder weapons.
But CNN just showed the Top Crime Stories of 2012 and ALL of them involved guns! I think guns should be regulated like cars or even parenting or pet ownership. You have to present it for inspection, your home would be open to random safety compliance checks. You have to have a license to carry and could lose it for operating under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
We can't prevent random murder-suicide incidents from occurring. But we can track weapons and ammo (and monitor mental health issues) and PREVENT the ever-increasing body counts. Enough is enough!
I'm sick of the "right to bear arms" argument. The price of liberty is responsibility. If you have nothing to hide, you can't complain about some inconvenience, when it's for the general safety of your community. Our kids shouldn't be practicing "lockdown" drills. Security guards are scarier to me, in terms of government reach, than asking gun owners to file paperwork.
No more death sprees. No more ruined holidays. There's much to be said about treating mental health, the media, the legal system. But gun SAFETY regulation should have been addressed in the 60s. We shouldn't be at war with ourselves. You shouldn't fear any trip outside your home might be your last.
there was a time when there was one working outside of the home parent and one parent that would stay home and take care of the household. This provided a usually stable home to learn from ones parents. The simplified reason of greed (whole long other discusion) caused most households to become a two income household and the kids see less of their parents in this situation and then the blame game starts about who is responsible for the outcome of the youth of America.
Remember how cute and funny "Home Alone" was when it came out? That seems to be the type of role model kids get now adyas because of this tried and true humor.
Video games, movies, TV... these aren't the factors that should be held accountable for our decline. It isn't the Constitution. And it certainly isn't because two parent homes are often dual income now. People need to stop waving their fingers at everyone and everything, and start pointing them at themselves. Parents and guardians are the problem. People's values and priorities are out of whack. As members of the same society, we all have an obligation to our children and each other. Start providing our youth with positive role models and start being knowledgable, skillful and caring parents. Our society is eroding from the inside out. We need to restore its foundation and begin rebuilding a more productive, safer and informed society...from the inside out. It starts at home and begins with each and every one of us.
And this... http://www.guardian....drone-attack-america
Everyone knows about the patriot act, that was the only one anyone thought about, now loosing our rights is the norm, it's the fad, no one else cares why should you. You are mad? Really? You must be a domestic terrorist or something any American thats worth a dime knows they must sacrifice some things in the name of the common good...
You can't ban guns all at once, people would rise up in opposition. You must take them away piece by piece, like you would do with any other liberty the people have. This way the people never feel like it is bad enough to rise up. They never have a sufficient enough cause to rally around. People forget quickly. Look at how much has changed since 911... Does America feel like a safer more secure place to live now that we have traded our liberty? Or is there a steady fear and paranoia present amongst the masses?
lets ban violent movies like "Saving Private Ryan" and "The Wizard of Oz" the Tin Man carries a gun so we should ban that one too.
Maybe it is not the movies but the parents' attitudes about allowing their kids to watch movies without ever discussing what they are watching creating an air of indifference.
The issue of gun control is not a black and white issue of no guns vs everyone has guns. The second admendment about bearing arms is not an individual's right but the right of a well regulated militia. Regulated in this case meaning trained. So then the question becomes what kind of training should a person have before owning a gun? Safe storage of a gun would be a good start.
I thought I once read about fingerprint controled triggers. That may be a way to go in the future to ensure guns are registered and the guns would only work for its owner.
Children die everyday, yes this is more visible and shocking, but Get a grip man. What about children being placed on amphetamines at the age of 5 years old? What about childhood diabetes? What about teen suicide? Do you know how often these suicides are connected to pharmaceutical drugs? You probably have no idea. What drugs does your doctor have you on? Making the strong weaker is not the answer. My mother is a cancer survivor. She survived because she didn't listen to the doctors. They told her she would die without chemotherapy and radiation. When she refused they tried to turn my father against her. They told him that if she didn't get "treatment" she would die and he would be raising 2 children on his own. She followed her heart and turned to a natural low stress life. I can't begin to imagine the strength this took. She did everything within her power to live a healthier lifestyle. She is alive and well today. If she had listened to the doctors I don't believe she would be here today. Cancer is highly profitable. Usually it costs the family in excess of $100k to watch a loved one die a slow agonizing death. You live your way ill live mine. I am an open minded individual who enjoys a free exchange of information. If you try to force my submission rather than learn from my experiences I will fight till the end to resist you. I would much rather die on my feet than live on my knees. I will carve my heart out and eat it before I submit to the falsity you represent. Some of us can see the truth behind the curtain of lies. Don't hate us for it. It is hard enough already. That being said I will gladly engage in a productive exchange of ideas. I would love to here your experiences that have shaped your opinions and what facts you use to back them up. Im sure you have plenty of knowledge that I could benefit from learning. I love learning and sharing but there are some things I can't compromise on. An armed America is a strong America. The instability prevalent in our society can lead to bad things happening, sometimes these bad things involve guns. This is a symptom of a much larger problem. Guns kill far less people than lies. Does anyone remember Erik Zieba? Was it a baseball bat that killed Erik? Or was it Lee Lester's attempt to make Erik and Steve turn on each other? They were being investigated for some youthful indiscretions. He told them both that the other one snitched. This is a standard practice in our society. He did this to try and get them to turn on each other. He lied to a 14yo and a 16yo. He was only doing his job. This sort thing happens everyday in america. People are just doing their job right? I ask you this would Erik be dead had it not been for the lies of another man? This is the state of our nation. No one is held responsible for their actions. I believe in freedom and I believe in truth. I will die to protect either. To those who oppose us in this battle...good luck :)
For one thing I have not heard how the shooter obtained her weapons. We're they locked up and then he broke into the gun cabinet, or were they just laying around unlocked. Today it's banning 30 round mags, tomorrow all semi automatics, then pump action, then bolt action, then all ammo. And then we are screwed.
Now what? We have a problem, that's what. We're never going to stop a foolish parent from allowing their video-game obsessed, mentally unstable kid access to a gun if that's what they want to do, and that's what led to this incident. We're not going to stop guns from being in the wrong hands overnight, obviously., but it's got to start somewhere. If the NRA would at least acknowledge that there's an easy access problem and come to the table willing to actually have a discussion, that would make a huge difference. Also, it would be helpful if the gun advocates would stop the ridiculous accusations that Obama wants to take everyone's guns away. I saw a graphic that had the Founding Fathers on one side and Obama on the other next to the likes of Stalin, Hitler and Idi Amin. Seriously?!? As usual, the finger-pointing extremists (on both sides) are the cause of the problem and aren't offering any meaningful solutions.
So basically make all the states be as strict as Massachusetts with regards to gun owner ship. Fine. Now you still have all the guns out there that are under the radar prior to changing the laws. Now what. We should have all criminals kindly hand over their illegally owned weapons, then things would be better.
Here is one thing that the gun lobby can't get around: there are other "prosperous" countries where guns are legal and plentiful (some, like Switzerland, actually require gun ownership), yet gun crime is a fraction of what it is in the US. The difference? Uniform gun laws throughout the entire country, and a national registry of all guns. If your gun is registered to you and can't be transferred without transferring the registration, you're going to make sure it doesn't get used to commit a crime or it's your ass. If gun owners in the US were held responsible for crimes committed when their weapons are sold unscrupulously, I bet gun violence would plummet.
"as safe as when you fly in a plane"
No, I do not want me kids treated as possible terrorists until proven innocent by full body scanners every day(how much radiation is safe? I was told there is no known safe level but an acceptable risk amount), or pat downs by people we really know nothing about. The play ground would have to be double fenced to make sure nobody could pass something through the fence with tower guards having to stand watch. Sounds almost like a prison to me.
Times are a changing but we had a principal and viceprincipal who kept us in line when I was growing up. Do we really need a police officer who is trained for so much more to babby sit every school?
Back when i was a teenager , every Thursday was archery class. And every Thursday I would bring my bow on the school bus with a quiver full of arrows. What has happens to our society? Can't blame it on guns folks, it's a break down of morals and values, video games, media, Hollywood that's creating this epidemic of violence and hate.
You would not feel safer knowin there was a police officer at your kids schools all day everyday. Times are a changing folks, and not for the better. Pull your heads out of the sand a see what the world is turning into. It sucks for sure. Don't our kids deserve to be as safe as when you fly in a plane, or the presidents dog