Marlboro warned of tax hikes
The group Marlboro Community Concerns continues to meet to plan and prepare for the fiscal difficulties that lie ahead concerning the school district.
Last week’s PowerPoint presentation touched upon their Facebook and website attention, their ad campaign using billboards, lawn signs and advertising and the attention the group has received in the press. They are also seeking to lower the $20,000 plus cost per pupil by focusing on teacher salaries and benefits, and have members of their group who are considering a run for the school board. The full presentation can be found on Facebook at Marlboro Community Concerns.
When it came time for public input, Mark Rizzi presented the group with a challenge.
“You have here in Marlborough a once in a lifetime opportunity and you’re not taking it,” he said.
Rizzi said teachers’ contracts contain contractual, step and longevity parts and “you don’t even have to have step and longevity in the contract.” He said much of the discussion on these matters is done in secrecy, a practice that should not be allowed. He said when people vote they do not know but should know what is contained within the contracts “so you’re partly at fault.”
Rizzi said public input is critically important.
“Your lives are at stake. Your assets are going to go down the drain if you don’t get control of this,” he warned.
He said many school districts use the children as pawns in the process of building and passing a budget. “I am sure you have heard year after year that your children won’t get the best education” if increases do not go through. He said when dealing with the school district “you’re dealing with very highly charged emotions – your children.”
He said there is “tons of money that can be saved” noting by way of example that each stop of the bus costs approximately $65. He said the public should be the ones who control the budget process.
Rizzi said he does not favor layoffs or cutbacks in student programs “but what I am in favor of is basic business principles 101. You don’t get increases that are 2, 3 or 4 times the cost of living inflation.” He said when this happens in the private sector, bankruptcy is the result.
Rizzi said the best way to resolve the fiscal problems is to dissolve the school district and to start all over. He said the driving force with the administration and the teachers is one singular issue.
“I’m gonna say it and I’m gonna say it loud and you can put it in the paper; it is greed because they live in a bubble and they don’t understand what it is like to live in the real world.”
Rizzi warned that continual tax increases in Marlboro will be devastating on the residents and to local businesses.
“You had 40 percent and add another 20 percent and that’s not the end of it,” he said. “If you see double digit increases over the next 5 years, your homes aren’t going to be worth anything.”
By Mark Reynolds