August 19, 2019

A matter of the right priorities

… As a Bucksport taxpayer, a parent, a teacher and school board member, I truly believe children are our greatest resource. I have listened to politicians tell us so….

I wouldn’t mind being told that children are important, if the politicians would back up their statement and fund the educational system adequately. Of course, we could stand the children at strategic places — in front of the Town Office, the State House, and the Congress — with collection cans to get the money we need to maintain schools and educate children.

In September parents entrust the most precious treasures they will ever have to the schools of our nation. The teachers who work with these children during the months between September and June are entrusted with their lives; they educate and protect them and spend countless hours beyond the day worrying about these children.

The Town Council feels the school budget needed to be cut. I wonder if one of their children will feel the impact. As an elected school board member, a taxpayer, and a parent, I can appreciate that times are tough, however, sacrificing the children’s welfare seems like an inappropriate way to solve financial problems.

Teachers have been cut, positions have been consolidated, much of the work which is done to keep up the buildings is done by people on staff. Teachers will have to do with much less this year; none of that was acknowledged by the council. I feel very strongly that the many hours which were put into the development of this budget by the administrators, the teachers, and the board were valuable and productive hours and the budget that was presented was the best budget that could be developed without hurting children.

The board strives to do what is in the best interest of the children, and yes, we try to listen to parents if it is possible and reasonable — that is what being an elected official is all about. It is difficult to teach children about a democracy and representative government without having an example in town to point out to them.

The statement at the council meeting that the board was “arrogant” when we resubmitted the budget was interesting. Is it safe to say that the council was “arrogant” when they first voted to cut a budget that hadn’t even been presented? Cutting educational programs to make a point does not seem lika a responsible decision made in the public interest.

If (all politicians) are going to keep telling us education is important and children are our greatest natural resource (then they should) back up that statement and fund programs that benefit children. If they’re not going to back up their statement, then admit to the parents and the public that their children aren’t important and education is a “frill” and, therefore, expendable.

It’s time to get our priorities straight and mean what we say. Elizabeth Y. Huggins Bucksport

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