Letter to the Editor:
A recent letter from school committee member Stacey Jackson encourages us to "seek out the facts" on the WRSD budget and to find a benchmark to compare them to. OK let's look at some of the facts. Mr. Pandiscio’s proposed ‘Revenue Sharing’ experiment shows the district increasing their spending by an incredible $15.7 Million just over the next four years (see http://aim21.org/revenuesharing.pdf). The school committee has already given Mr. Pandiscio more than $100,000 in Raises and a July 1st salary of $198,603 (one of the highest salaries in the Commonwealth). Auburn high operates with one assistant principal and six custodians. The WRSD has five assistant principals and twenty custodians just at the high school (160 hour per day - 800 hours per week).
Auburn needs only three cell phones while the WRSD spends thousands of dollars per month just in usage fees on dozens of expensive iPhones and Android Smartphones with one employee racking up an incredible 22.7 hours of talk time just in one month. The WRSD is spending $542 per day for a part time curriculum consultant when they already have five full time curriculum consultants at a cost of more than half a million dollars per year.
Yes, Auburn is a smaller district but do we really need five assistant principals and twenty custodians just at the high school plus dozens of expensive cell phones costing us thousands of dollars per month (we don't know yet how much more their 240 iPads are costing us per month), plus an expensive outside consultant? The WRSD claims we have the lowest per pupil expenditure of any district in MA but the latest DOE web site shows at least eight other districts with lower per pupil expenditures. Someone is wrong. Ms. Jackson states that when we compare numbers ours are “extremely low” but a review of the MA DOE web site shows 78 other districts with lower average teacher salaries plus eleven more districts that did not report their numbers. These are just some of the facts.
We need to educate children and that costs money. We also need to be sure that our tax dollars are being spent wisely and that we do not bankrupt the towns. We need to ask questions before we blindly give Mr. Pandiscio $85 to $90 Million every year to spend. We tried that with ex-superintendent Al Tutela and we all remember how that ended.
Ask question first then if you agree with the WRSD numbers, pass their budget and the proposition 2-1/2 tax increases some towns will need to fund their budget.
Ed Meyer - Holden