The Hermon School Committee’s decision not to revisit the 1997-98 school budget despite legitimate, proactive, financially responsible suggestions by community and faculty on ways to retain two full-time principals for the elementary and middle schools reflects an ineptitude on the part of board members to utilize basic community-building skills: those where elected official listen to the needs of the community and respond with them. A lack of effective communication about school budget hearings (nonplacement in slchool newsletters, etc.) had a direct impact on the community’s minimal awareness of a budget crisis until very recently.
Nonetheless, it is irrelevant when the community speaks but that they speak at all. The key point is that community members and a majority of faculty came forth in solidarity over the extreme importance of retaining full-time leadership in both school buildings to provide professional support and consistency to both faculty and students, expecially at the middle school level where disciplinary standards need to be reflected with the cinsistent presence of an administrator.
This strong representation cannot — and should not — be ignored. The people of Hermon have spoken in a democratic society whose founding principles support citizen representation by elected officials. The actions by the school committee to sit silent when asked by the chair if they would like to motion to have the budget revisited is in direct violaiton of theur call to service in this community. The lack of courage to readdress an issue so vital to the welfare of the children of Hermon and the faculty who instruct and mentor them was appalling at best. Rebecca Bell Hermon